Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board

Voicelessness and Emotional Survival => Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board => Topic started by: Twoapenny on January 08, 2019, 08:41:11 AM

Title: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on January 08, 2019, 08:41:11 AM
Hi everyone,

A belated Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.  I have been popping in to see what everyone's been up to and I'm glad to see you all.

I've been thinking a lot, largely spurred on by Dr G's book.  It got me thinking about, not only other people not hearing us or recognising what we think or feel, but also how - for me, anyway - I don't listen to myself or how I feel.

Or to put it another way, what I've realised is that I don't allow myself to see or hear my dark side.  Negative emotions don't feel nice (we all know that) and I feel that there is a societal attitude towards certain feelings or emotions not being nice or okay.

I also feel that there's a big emphasis within the self help/therapy/getting better market on things like positive thinking, gratitude, mindfulness and so on - taking control, other people only spoil our day if we let them, it's up to us to create our destiny and so on.

That has got me thinking about why we don't engage with our dark side more and why it isn't considered a favourable way to deal with problems (or perhaps it is and I just haven't discovered that yet).  But it led me to pondering an experiment, as quite honestly, the approach I've been taking for the last twenty years clearly isn't working.  My life feels like it gets worse and worse, I feel worse and worse, and then on top of that I feel guilt for not feeling/coping the way I feel I ought to.  So I've decided to plunge in to the negatives and just accept them.  I'm trying not to label them or attribute them as good or bad.  I'm trying just to sit with the feelings and not keep trying to make them feel better.  I wonder if I ought to think about them as people, or little angry children who aren't being heard or seen or noticed.  But I feel like I need to focus on them being there, rather than trying to banish them constantly.

So I'm going to start a thread of negativity :)  Just something where I can write down things I feel angry about, sad about, frustrated with, resentful of and so on, without context or trying to see the bright side, or looking for a way to change it.  Somewhere that I can let those emotions and thoughts be heard and just be themselves.  If anyone wants to join me in a festival of grumpiness than you are very welcome :)

So - my resentments so far today (there have been a lot!).

Having to do everything for my son.  It's his first day back to college so we are back to micromanaging the mornings.  I get him to do as much as possible for himself, but almost everything has to be supervised, prompted, reminded, supported and so on.  So it's a lot of work and I find it stressful, especially first thing in the morning when I really don't want to be doing it at all.

Getting ready for the evening before going out in the morning.  One of the things I wanted to try and do this term was go for lots of long walks.  There are lots of beautiful places around here, but they aren't walks my son can manage.  I thought I would try to spend the time he is at college outdoors, exploring beautiful places that he can't get to.  If I'm out of the house all day, I need to get the washing out before I go, get the dinner ready (or I will just eat crap when we get home later because I won't want to start peeling veggies).

Realising that, having rushed around this morning because I wasn't going to come home during the day, I wasn't going to have time to go for a walk because I had jobs to do in town (that I can't do with son in tow) and then I had to come home to wait for the shopping to be delivered.  By the time that was done there wasn't time to go off trekking before I have to go and pick him up.

Parking up in town, looking at the beautiful sky, the gulls on the river, the church spire in the background and feeling sad, angry and resentful that I can't spend the day photographing it, or writing, or just being out walking in it with nothing else to do.

Having a nice chat with the guy in the health food shop and coming out wishing I had someone to love and have nice chats with, every day.

Getting home and just wanting to scream, "I hate this house!".  I do hate it.  I've cleaned and bleached, I burnt scented candles and sage, I've rearranged the furniture a dozen times, I've put bright posters and wall hangings up, hung drapes of fabric across doors and it is still hideous.  It feels like a grotty student multi let that I'm being forced to put up with and I hate it.

Still having a never ending stream of paperwork to deal with, all of it tedious, unpleasant and upsetting, all of it necessary because other people don't do what they're supposed to.  I am apocalyptically angry at the public sector workers who keep creating more work for me and the lengths I'm having to do to to counteract it.

I feel both angry and sad that I felt my only comfort earlier today was to eat.  I didn't feel there was anyone I could see or speak to who would just hold me and tell me everything's going to be alright (even if it isn't).

I felt huge anger, resentment and disgust at the number of homeless people I saw in town today.  One is one too many, particularly in this area where most of the housing is holiday homes and much of it stands empty for many months of the year.  I feel sick that the popular view seems to be that stuff matters more than people and that some people should have more than one home while others don't even have a room in a hostel.

I feel enraged at my mum for choosing her husband over her kids and it makes me all the more angry because he is such an unpleasant little man.  She didn't even pass us over for someone incredible and charming - just whoever was happy to move in and pay her bills.

I think that is all for now :)  I have to say I do feel better for just writing it up and not trying to cure it, rub it out or justify it - or needing to have someone say it's okay?  So maybe embracing the negativity will help.

If anyone else wants to jump on the grumpy train then do, and I will start catching up on all the other threads (Skep has probably built another house over Christmas :) ).  Best wishes to all of you for 2019 and thank you for still being here xx xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on January 08, 2019, 03:07:17 PM
The negative belongs too, Tupp.  It's part of us, and should have a place.... not be banished, IME.

Noticing it, without judgement as you say, and attending to it... just listening, and letting it know it's a part that belongs, has helped me when facing debilitating anxiety.

I don't notice it helping so much, in daily life, though I'm sure it's got to be helpful at some level.  I'm just not there yet.

I have Dr. G's book, and have read the first pages only.  I'm looking forward to sitting down with it, giving myself time, and really seeing it.  I've been pretty overwhelmed lately, and am grateful you started this thread, ((Tupp)).

Welcome back,
Lighter




Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 08, 2019, 03:53:44 PM
Tupp, I'm also in favor of this plan. Despite what people will say, what we've been taught - those uncomfortable feelings are still a part of us. And trying to avoid or deny them, usually makes me more miserable.
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Hopalong on January 09, 2019, 01:43:13 AM
I really missed you, Tupp. I'm so glad you're back.

I doubt I'll be the best help with this, because I fear my own darkness.
It can take me under.

So even though I can deeply empathize with all of that pent-up, legitimate, righteous anger...knowing your story as we do how could we not? I don't know that I ever could intentionally welcome my own, sit with it and befriend it.

So what I'll do is be a loving witness, and never judge you for your reality. I have a lot of faith in you, and hope for you. And great frustration that your life is more challenging than I can sometimes comprehend.

I do know there is relief ahead, excruciatingly ahead...but I am holding tight to hope that you'll reach that relief before you reach the end of the rope.

Vent on, sister.

With love,
Hops
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on January 09, 2019, 07:55:56 PM
Hops:

I sometimes believe our fear of our dark side takes up the energy we need to make peace with it.

Sometimes. 

Lighter 

Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Hopalong on January 10, 2019, 01:31:20 PM
That's probably true, Lighter.

Tupp, I especially like the utter honesty of what you wrote. Type away.... I'd rather read it all than be missing you. Your full humanity is welcome on this side of the screen. Who said humanity is always perky and pleasant and martyred? Half of humanity is in a righteous rage half the time. Periods without anger and grief (look at the U.S. for a macro example) are fortunate. But it takes a lot of guts to look at the dark side. How could it ever change if it's never faced truthfully, especially when external conditions are beyond control? You awe me still.

I like the clarity you've made key here--a thread for facing darkness, not whipping out cleaning rags to polish it away before it's even greeted, acknowledged, accepted as one of our bones.

love
Hops

Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on January 14, 2019, 06:03:07 AM
That's probably true, Lighter.

Tupp, I especially like the utter honesty of what you wrote. Type away.... I'd rather read it all than be missing you. Your full humanity is welcome on this side of the screen. Who said humanity is always perky and pleasant and martyred? Half of humanity is in a righteous rage half the time. Periods without anger and grief (look at the U.S. for a macro example) are fortunate. But it takes a lot of guts to look at the dark side. How could it ever change if it's never faced truthfully, especially when external conditions are beyond control? You awe me still.

I like the clarity you've made key here--a thread for facing darkness, not whipping out cleaning rags to polish it away before it's even greeted, acknowledged, accepted as one of our bones.

love
Hops

Thanks, Hops, I have missed you too :)

I understand what you say about being frightened of the dark side; I always have been as well.  I think possibly it's partly societal - as children we aren't generally allowed to express ourselves fully when feeling unhappy or angry (possibly more so for women).  Partly it's always been the fear of what happens once you take the lid off that particular box.  I always remember a therapist saying to me that once you get the lid off you can't always get it back on and that can be hard.  So there's that issue, because dealing with pent up, unpleasant emotions - the angry kind that make you want to lash out and swear and be unreasonable and punch people - is really hard when you've also got to be around people and not be unpleasant and angry at them because it isn't their fault that x happened to you and you feel bad because of it.  Plus there's just coping with the day to day work, kids, money and so on and so we do push it aside.  And of course there is the family element; we were supposed to be happy and make everyone else think we were happy - no negative emotions allowed.  So there have just been years of swallowing things up.

But I think where I've reached my tipping point just lately is that I feel I have spent my whole life clearing up other people's mess.  An actual event is a good analogy here.  When I was four, my mum and dad had a row and she threw his dinner at him.  It hit the wall, the plate smashed and everything fell on the floor.  He went to the pub and my mum went to her room and cried.  I, apparently ( I don't remember this; my mum told me the story) cleared up the food and the broken plate and then went to comfort my mum.

I kind of feel like that is a loop that has been played throughout my life.  Both parents focused on themselves and not me.  They should have been looking out for me and thinking about me, but they weren't.  My best interests were not at the forefront of their minds.  They both, literally, created a mess and then left me to cope with both the practical and emotional fall out from that.  And I feel that that has happened to me in many different forms and many different ways ever since.  All the therapy, self help books, endless amounts of soul searching and self improvement over the last twenty years has helped to deal with my co-dependency and my boundaries are better, but it hasn't stopped these 'someone else made the mess, you clean it up' situations.  Sometimes it's practical - every house I move in to is filthy and has an overgrown garden.  Every house I leave is spotless and in good working order.  Whoever moves in to my last home gets a lovely clean house to unpack in and a garden that they don't need to think about for a least a couple of weeks.  And every place I move in to takes days of cleaning, bleaching and tidying, not to mention endless trips to the dump to get rid of other people's rubbish (because of course, I took my own rubbish to the dump because I wouldn't dream of leaving it for someone else to deal with).

And it's made me wonder if the only thing I haven't tried yet - accepting the dark thoughts and the feelings of hate, resentment, anger and so on - is the one thing I need to do?  It does feel scary.  I feel guilty for moaning about things because I do appreciate that there are always other people in a far worse situation.  And I do still appreciate the day to day things I do have - a home, a car, enough money to pay my bills and so on.  But I feel like I need to give the other stuff free rein for a while.  My genuine mind set is that I hate social workers and doctors.  I have resisted allowing myself to feel that for many years, because the logical part of me knows it isn't sensible to hate thousands of people because of the job they do.  The sensible part of me knows that individual people have behaved very badly within those professions.  But I'm also aware that they can do it because those sorts of professions allow that sort of abusive behaviour to take place.  The professional is always believed over the parent.  Professionals are aware that a parent whose child is seriously ill or disabled will not have the time or energy for endless complaints and battles so they know that piling on the pressure can make a parent back down or give up.  They also know that, a lot of the time, parents don't see what's being written about them (you have to make a specific request for copies of your own notes) so they can write up all sorts of bullshit and pass it on to others and make them see you in a different light.  Usually I make myself focus on the 'well they're not all bad' approach but at the minute I'm allowing 'they are all arseholes and I hate them all' to take precedence.  What's interesting to me is that my thoughts won't change the way I behave around them - I'm still polite, provide information, turn up on time and so on.  And that made me wonder why I've resisted those thoughts for so long, because I do feel better for thinking "F**k you" to just about everyone, even though I don't say it and they have no idea I think it :)

Lol, I'm rambling, I'm not even sure that made sense.  But essentially what I'm trying to say is that I was always very scared of letting any dark thoughts out but now that I have it actually feels quite nice?
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on January 14, 2019, 06:06:25 AM
The negative belongs too, Tupp.  It's part of us, and should have a place.... not be banished, IME.

Noticing it, without judgement as you say, and attending to it... just listening, and letting it know it's a part that belongs, has helped me when facing debilitating anxiety.

I don't notice it helping so much, in daily life, though I'm sure it's got to be helpful at some level.  I'm just not there yet.

I have Dr. G's book, and have read the first pages only.  I'm looking forward to sitting down with it, giving myself time, and really seeing it.  I've been pretty overwhelmed lately, and am grateful you started this thread, ((Tupp)).

Welcome back,
Lighter

That's what I'm trying to do, Lighter, is just notice it and accept it without labeling it good or bad.  I do know - from many years of past experience - that I can control myself, however I feel.  So I don't feel scared of losing control and hurting myself or someone else, even thought I feel that some people deserve a slap :)  But I think that's what I'm finding interesting at the minute; how I can be in a dark place mentally but still be able to be a normal human being.  I wonder how much of my positive thinking has been an act to try to distract me from myself.  Probably a rabbit hole too far there :)  But yes, it doesn't feel bad to be doing it and just thinking yep - that was crap.  He's an arsehole.  And not trying to pick in to it too much xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on January 14, 2019, 06:08:34 AM
Tupp, I'm also in favor of this plan. Despite what people will say, what we've been taught - those uncomfortable feelings are still a part of us. And trying to avoid or deny them, usually makes me more miserable.

Thanks, Skep, I think that's it - we are taught to keep those sorts of unpleasant things in.  And it isn't pleasant to listen to people who moan all the time; we all know what that's like!  But I think there's a difference, isn't there, between the general moaners and complainers and genuinely having horrible feelings that have been cause by horrible people or events and needing some way of letting them out and dispersing them so that they don't keep bothering us.
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on January 17, 2019, 11:42:56 AM
Well bizarrely Embracing The Dark Side seems to be going well for me!  Perhaps I should really go for it and start dressing as Darth Vadar or something?

I had an appointment with social services yesterday.  You all know my previous interactions with them have been horrendous and it brings up so much stuff for me.  I realised that my anxiety tends to present more as an all over feeling of paralysis and I get a lot of joint and nerve pain when I'm anxious.  I was sick several times the day before because I was dreading it and I made no attempt to make myself feel better or to deal with it in a healthy way or to change the way I thought or felt.  I just got on with my day, feeling dreadful, and feeling resentful that other people's past actions were still having such a negative and debilitating effect on me.

I got to the office yesterday and memories of taking my son into a social care centre when he was four and we were homeless started flooding back, and I let them.  The rude, obnoxious social worker who told me I should go back to where I came from if I didn't like it there and who, after I explained tearfully that my mother and I had fallen out because when I told her my step-father abused me she took his side, told me that if I asked for help from them they would take my son and place him WITH MY MOTHER AND HER CHILD ABUSING HUSBAND.   And then when I walked out, two other social workers chased us down the street and persuaded me to go back inside, saying they would help us.  And then they handed us back over to that vile woman who fabricated an entire case against me (all thrown out; I proved every word she said was a lie).  I took my lovely, sweet, brain damaged boy back in to that revolting lair because I was still so concerned with being 'nice' and doing what I was supposed to that I ignored every bit of me that was screaming 'Run!' and I let that woman destroy my career, my confidence, my sense of self and my relationship with every member of my family.  She set the stage for every single problem that we've had since.  Eleven years on and her actions still cause problems for us now.  So I let it all wash over me as I sat waiting to be seen and when the (new) social worker came in to fetch me I didn't smile at her or shake her hand and say nice to meet you.  I made no effort to be polite, friendly or 'nice' and I didn't try to hide my anxiety either.  I explained my son's disabilities to her, told her I was not prepared to care for him once he turns 18 and generally kept everything business like - and it was fine.

I think in my mind I have this thing that I need to have a Pollyanna type approach to everything in life, making life easier for other people, more agreeable for them, and that somehow I have to keep my mind clean and shiny, too.  But this week has showed me that, actually, just being polite and punctual is enough; I don't need to worry about other people and what they think or need and I don't need to put myself under pressure to be or feel a certain way.  As long as I'm polite then really that's all anyone else has a right to expect of me.

Bizarrely I've also had several emails from people from my past; I only saw them today because I don't use Facebook much anymore.  A couple of them have been there for a few weeks.  One's okay to reply to; he's an ex boyfriend and we catch up every now and again so he's 'safe'.  But I looked at the other two and thought - do I want to get into any sort of contact with them again?  And the answer is no, not really, so I've just ignored them.  And it doesn't feel bad xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on January 17, 2019, 12:59:07 PM
Hi Tupp!

Your post is timely.... I'm working on not feeling responsible for other people's feelings too.... how I appear... helpful.... earnest, bleck.... pleasing.  Bleck. 

I can see how we present ourselves for inspection.... give people the idea we're interviewing for approval.... judgement, and that's why we get so much of it.  Particularly, for me, when I'm not in control... when I need help,  which I've never been comfortable asking for or accepting in my life.

.

I don't think most people are thinking about it, most of the time.  I think our behavior, manner, and words PUT that in their heads.  Example, that doesn't hold a lot of trauma or emotion for me, is the woman responsible for setting up delivery on the kitchen I purchased from the Re Store when I was purchasing this house.  THE RE STORE! 

My sister was all... "Why is she being SO MEAN to you... you're so nice to her!"  I was too nice, too helpful, too willing to let her treat me poorly.  WTH?  This situation helps me understand why I've experienced bullying in school, the workplace, from attorneys and the contractor....  and I'm not always in that mode, and it's important for me to notice that 

It's typically when I NEED someone's help... mostly.  When I'm not in control, and many times at the mercy of.  BTW, this woman charged me for delivery of the kitchen, made the date, then cancelled it, without warning, bc I didn't pay another 15.00 or so dollars for adding small items to the already scheduled $300.00 delivery. 

She claimed I didn't pay ANY fee, then went about charging me hundreds of dollars for "storage" after we'd made the first available delivery date, and the delay had nothing to do with me.  She brought in the manager and set him on me... this very nice, hippy man, who I'd always got along with was threatening me with more storage fees, and being very mean, while charging me $300.00 above what I'd paid!  And I paid it!  Under threat of flaking out, failing to make another delivery date, and being charged more!  The hippy man was MEAN TO ME!  And the bitch smirked, while looking on.  Her handywork.  SMIRKING. 

Turned out this woman had put my delivery fee at the bottom of my 4K invoice.... and we all 3 missed it, so sure was she that I'd just refused to pay the $300.00 bc I'm, what?  A very bad person... someone who refused to take care of business, when in fact I'd gone out of my way to set up delivery ahead of schedule, unlike most people who purchase, then go back and set up delivery days later.   Being accused of actions that are opposite what I actually DID, being punished, and humiliated for the opposite of what I DID..... while many people I worked with at the Re Store looked on with wide eyes... some with pity..... while allowing that bitch to treat me that way.  I ALLOWED her to treat me that way.

My sister finally went in FOR ME, and on my behalf,(learned helplessness much?) pointed out the invoice payment on delivery fee, and cleverly, without emotion, worked a deal where the bitch didn't have to admit to her boss what SHE DID, and I ended up getting delivery for free PLUS came out another $300,00 ahead, which I was conflicted about,  frankly.  It didn't come out of the bitche's pocket, and the hippy manager still thought I was a flakey person trying to take advantage of The Habitat For Humanity people.... him.  Them.  I was there all the time, and didn't feel better till the owners son, who I got along with very well, said the bitch was always a bitch, and it was like a pat on the soul to receive. 

And why did I allow this.... invite this treatment?  Whatever in the world would create that frame of mind IN ME, to allow it... I asked myself this.  I was purchasing a house, we had a tiny new puppy in our rental, I had a 12yo child traveling to MAIN for a summer camp, on a plane all by herself... so far away!  And I was dealing with a crazy making contractor, and another contractor dealing with cancer AND trying to pack up, and move, while DOING a lot of work on the house myself... my head was spinning.  I was overwhelmed, and unable to stop, and re center myself. 

I'm not always scattered.  I KNOW when I'm feeling confident, and carrying myself with authority.  I know when I'm not, but it's recent, and your thread helps me cement it in place. What it IS, and what it's not... what I fear.... what the shame whispers it IS. 

Realizing we're not centered is important.
::nodding::
 Stopping.
 Learning to re center ourselves....
then proceeding is a thing

::nodding::.

You did this when you decided how you'd deal with that lady, and recent appointment.  For yourself.  You showed up on time.  You were polite.  You were centered, and focused.  That's a skill we need to cultivate... getting ourselves calm.

 It's happening at a mid brain level.  Our access to logical problem solving frontal lobes isn't available. Our amygdalas kick in, hijack, and we're not even aware most of the time.  We have to be aware.  We have to calm down our brains, gain access to the logical frontal lobe, THEN proceed knowing stress, and old crisis can knock us off center again, and we CAN deal with it. 

Judging ourselves, is not helpful, IME.

I'm glad you changed up how you felt about that appointment. 

You rock, ((Tupp))

Lighter
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: sKePTiKal on January 18, 2019, 07:17:27 AM
Lighter, that a great example and explanation of what/why we do such things. To go a bit further:

Because of our childhood situations, I think we learned to do this to keep ourselves SAFE. To "manage" those adults who were dangerous to us, as best we could. It's dysfunctional for US.

I have a variety of that reflex, too. But in business, wearing that "hat", I have skills that deal way more effectively with that kind of thing, without working at it too hard. It's when it's interpersonal relationships, that I allow myself to be treated that way.
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on January 27, 2019, 11:41:15 AM
Lighter, I think that need to be nice and please everyone is hard wired in to some of us from an early stage.  I don't remember a time in my life when I didn't feel responsible for everyone else's feelings.  And Skep, you're right, it's about trying to keep safe and in a way, manipulate other people, so that they behave in a way that we can manage.

I bit the bullet this week and dumped caffeine and sugar.  Not completely, but I've cut right down.  I dropped son off at college each day, came home and went straight back to bed.  For three days straight I slept four hours straight through before getting up to go back and collect him.  I feel very devoid of energy but am sticking to it.  I do feel clearer headed and calmer.  I think I will feel better as time goes on.

I am focusing on doing what I want to and trying not to let myself think about what other people think, or concern myself with how I'm thinking or feeling.  I think I've always had this thing that if I'm cheerful and friendly and always look on the bright side it will effect the way people are to me or around me.  But it doesn't; it just drains me and it means I attract people who want to pour out their tales of sorrow and I'm just not interested.  So I've paid no attention to trying to change the way I feel; I've just got on with it.  I stuck my fingers up at the rude man who honked his horn at me because I wasn't barging my way through the traffic quickly enough for him and when my son's college teacher asked if the social worker could sit in on our meeting next month I said no.  I'm not prepared to keep working through the horrifying emotions these people elicit in me, nor am I prepared to keep explaining the reasons to people.  So I just said no and it was fine.

I'm realising how much ridiculous pressure I've put myself under trying to keep everyone happy and not be rude or unpleasant to people.  And to be fair, I'm still not being rude or unpleasant to people, I'm just not jumping through hoops or tying myself in knots to make life easier for everyone else at my own expense.  It does make life easier.

And I have a friend at the moment who I'm struggling with and Hops, it kind of ties in with your realising the writer guy didn't need to be wrong, he just wasn't right for you.  She's a good friend and I don't want to lose her or fall out with her but the hour long sessions where I don't get to speak as she relays the latest drama that she's unnecessarily involved herself in are just too much.  Not right or wrong, just not for me.  So I'm just laying low for a few weeks and it may be that I need to say something at some point if it continues - and if I do need to, it will be fine.  I just realised that I don't have to support people through their peaks and troughs - I can pick and chose who I help and when.  Doesn't make me bad, or them - it just is that.

I will catch up on the board soon, I've been busy napping and generally getting myself together into something resembling a functioning human again xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on January 28, 2019, 12:41:09 PM
I'm glad you're sleeping when you feel like sleeping, and feeling OK about it, Tupp.

It's OK to feel tired.  It's OK to BE tired, esp after all you've been through.  Sometimes the lulls are more difficult, in a way, than the days of siege, IME.  The sudden relief, from all that pressure, leads to unexpected reactions in the body, nervous system, and brain, IME.

You're still decompressing.  The trauma is still inside you, in your skin, in your cells.  Just bc you're experiencing different kinds of stress, less maybe, doesn't mean all that's been recorded in your body suddenly and magically disappeared, for surely it did not.  It's still there, impacting your life, and you're learning how to deal with it, manage it, and finally make peace with it.   THat's a process that's going to take time.  Noticing WHAT, WHY and HOW in our histories is important, and we can't do that when we're running around, DOING doing DOING.  It requires stillness, observing, releasing expectations, and emotional detachment.... not good or bad, just different than what we've always done.  Lived by adrenal dumps, action, and the opinions of those we care about, but who haven't cared for us.  Acceptance that they didn't deserve that care.  Acceptance that it's OK to shift our alliances, at a cellular level, and find comfort in something else. Whatever it is we decide to build, if we can unhook the wiring, and build new connections.  It's not easy.  I think I understand, but I might be wrong. 

I think we attract more of what we've had, and can no longer desire, or abide.

I think it new kinds of relationship feel odd, and confusion,  but if we can just sit still, and pay attention, we can tease out what's worthwhile, and what's not.  So confusing, IME.   

So rest when your body and mind say rest.  Don't assume it means anything, good or bad.  Just assume it's rest, and you're going to honor yourself by taking what is asked for. 

Assume you're intentions, and intestinal fortitude will lead you through the process, and into the light.  Assume all will be well. 

Even if it's not OK... it's OK.

Like Hops says... radical acceptance. 
Lighter



Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Hopalong on February 06, 2019, 12:13:49 PM
Tupp, it's amazing and hopeful to read this account of you treating yourself like a person who is present and who has priority.

About that friend...I relate to that a lot. A few months back, I took that same risk. I have a friend of 30+ years who habitually free-associates about her woes for very long stretches, into my ears. I have always known that deep down she truly does love me. This is just her only way of feeling connected. But she has always interrupted me, switched the topic back to herself, and just luxuriated in my sincere, empathic listening. She is very isolated and doesn't have many friends, because most locals are interested in her because she's connected to a famous Hollywood family.

MOST of the time it's been okay with me, because I have other places to vent. But recently when I had some heavy stress and anxiety attacks, I couldn't feel good about hearing from her. She just could not listen. I came to realize that I used to do the same thing and drained some friends. I really did and one friendship didn't survive it. I was in the grip of overwhelming anxiety and talked like a fountain. I was desperate to talk and did the same thing she does with me. For that reason I can't judge her about it, but it was becoming a new source of anxiety whenever she'd call.

Anyway, I did finally tell her. I started with genuine underlying positives. How precious our friendship is to me, how much her continued presence and loyalty has meant to me for so long. But that I had one thing I needed to say that was difficult. I just told her what I was experiencing in brief--emotionally and behaviorally. That when I really need support myself and try to talk about it I feel rushed and frantic, because I know she is going to suddenly interrupt me and switch the subject back to herself, so I shut down. And that it makes me sad, that we don't "take turns."

I tried to make it mostly "I statements" rather than "you statements." She grew pretty quiet but she heard me. I reassured her--I am not abandoning you or our friendship but just needed to say that reciprocity, and the ability to take turns listening, is really important to me, so we can stay connected and keep enjoying our friendship for many years.

She took about a week to think about, and sent me a non-snarky email in the interim saying she was reflecting (I responded with more reassurance that we are solid--and we are, at a heart level).

And to my surprise, she's been waaaaaaay better about doing that. We just had a terrific evening and she took turns! She sometimes slips into the old "And then I..." right in the middle of my turn. But she's way better. And for me, she's worth it.

Hope it will go that way with those of your one-way-sharing friends whom you know are worth keeping in your life. Those that can't respond to a loving confrontation, I think, might slip away. But hopefully, someone who wants to stay connected will be able to hear you describe how you feel on the other end of the phone. It's not abusive or mean, it's just honest, and it can be said gently.

love
Hops
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on February 15, 2019, 05:02:33 AM
Tupp, it's amazing and hopeful to read this account of you treating yourself like a person who is present and who has priority.

About that friend...I relate to that a lot. A few months back, I took that same risk. I have a friend of 30+ years who habitually free-associates about her woes for very long stretches, into my ears. I have always known that deep down she truly does love me. This is just her only way of feeling connected. But she has always interrupted me, switched the topic back to herself, and just luxuriated in my sincere, empathic listening. She is very isolated and doesn't have many friends, because most locals are interested in her because she's connected to a famous Hollywood family.

MOST of the time it's been okay with me, because I have other places to vent. But recently when I had some heavy stress and anxiety attacks, I couldn't feel good about hearing from her. She just could not listen. I came to realize that I used to do the same thing and drained some friends. I really did and one friendship didn't survive it. I was in the grip of overwhelming anxiety and talked like a fountain. I was desperate to talk and did the same thing she does with me. For that reason I can't judge her about it, but it was becoming a new source of anxiety whenever she'd call.

Anyway, I did finally tell her. I started with genuine underlying positives. How precious our friendship is to me, how much her continued presence and loyalty has meant to me for so long. But that I had one thing I needed to say that was difficult. I just told her what I was experiencing in brief--emotionally and behaviorally. That when I really need support myself and try to talk about it I feel rushed and frantic, because I know she is going to suddenly interrupt me and switch the subject back to herself, so I shut down. And that it makes me sad, that we don't "take turns."

I tried to make it mostly "I statements" rather than "you statements." She grew pretty quiet but she heard me. I reassured her--I am not abandoning you or our friendship but just needed to say that reciprocity, and the ability to take turns listening, is really important to me, so we can stay connected and keep enjoying our friendship for many years.

She took about a week to think about, and sent me a non-snarky email in the interim saying she was reflecting (I responded with more reassurance that we are solid--and we are, at a heart level).

And to my surprise, she's been waaaaaaay better about doing that. We just had a terrific evening and she took turns! She sometimes slips into the old "And then I..." right in the middle of my turn. But she's way better. And for me, she's worth it.

Hope it will go that way with those of your one-way-sharing friends whom you know are worth keeping in your life. Those that can't respond to a loving confrontation, I think, might slip away. But hopefully, someone who wants to stay connected will be able to hear you describe how you feel on the other end of the phone. It's not abusive or mean, it's just honest, and it can be said gently.

love
Hops

Thanks, Hops - I am scared of losing another friend.  Most of my friends and family have ducked out when I've made a request about how they spend time with me.  My older sister, in particular, more or less never came near me again after I asked her to come to arrange visiting rather than just turning up, and to meet up sometimes for a nice reason, rather than just because she was having a crap time and needed someone to talk to.  I pretty much never saw her again after that, and that hurt a lot.  The same goes for many other people in my life so I do dread having to say anything that might be negative to someone I care about.  It did strike me, though, that my friend is generally talking about the problems of other people, who I don't know.  So I may be able to phrase it in such a way that I can make it clear that I'm more than happy to listen and/or talk through problems of her own, but not to listen to the problems of people that I've never met.  I was thinking this morning that it would probably be good for me to explain how triggering it is for me to listen to her talking about her friends who are in abusive relationships.  Having lived through an abusive step-father and a mother who did nothing to stop him I find it very difficult to listen to accounts of abusive men and women defending them, so it might be worth me saying that - I think perhaps that would make it very clear I'm not rejecting her.  It's very difficult to know, it sort of ties in with something Skep said on one of the threads about how people 'hear' what she's saying differently to the way she intends it.  It does happen a lot and it can cause problems, so I'm anxious about doing anything.  But I will need to at some point so we'll see what happens.

I am still feeling very tired and run down.  I'm resting as often as I can but it's nowhere near enough so I'm still struggling.  I have managed to cut right down on caffeine and sugar so I do feel clearer headed and calmer - but I also feel more lonely, bored, depressed and hopeless without the artificial surges to distract me.  I'm not in a position where I can do much for myself just yet.  I'm still swamped with paperwork and still struggling to cope with son.  I do need to start getting out and meeting some new people but I dread it and just don't feel strong enough to cope yet.  So for the time being I'm staying at home and working through the to do lists.
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Hopalong on February 15, 2019, 09:10:28 PM
Dear ((((((Tupp))))),

The only thing I know that feels right without fail is the use of "I" statements. It is so very hard not to slip into "you this" and "you that" and I found it took me ages of practice. (Still have to practice.) But, when gently confronting a friend, it's probably the best way to say what you need to without triggering defensiveness. (SOME people will decide to be defensive anyway, but somehow you feel balanced anyway, regardless of their response, if you can keep a strong hold on the "formula"....). What it does is give you full ownership of your own feelings and reactions, and them theirs.

I love making up dialogues for people (that never relate very directly to how any individual would talk, but the fantasy helps me "see" it...) so DO take this with 2 cups of salt, just indulging myself:

"I wanted to share something with you that's hard to explain, but it's important to me to try. Because you matter to me and I want to let you know something pretty personal.

I've realized that I feel XX [sad, drained, worn out, whatever] when you YY [talk a lot about other people's awful troubles that remind me of some really painful stuff of my own, talk about you but forget to ask about me and Son..., etc. [whatever it is]. Sometimes I find I'm shutting myself down. I start to feel sad and want to give up being friends. But I've never really told you how I feel, so how would you know? I'm not blaming you--I realized it's my job to speak up and explain it. You're not a mind reader so that's not your fault.

I'm wanting to build more balanced kinds of friendship, where we really take turns listening to each other. I haven't been very good about hitting Pause in the middle of a call and saying, "Hey, I'd like to talk for a few minutes about something...so let me take a turn now." That's why I brought it up, to remind myself I need to be honest about what I need. Thanks for letting me get it out. Hope you'll work on it with me, since I need practice!"


There. Wrote a play for ya. Silly and nothing is a perfect fit for someone else.

All I'm getting at is, I'd love to see you find your voice in a natural way that doesn't say anything but--I'm sharing work I'm doing on myself, and here's what it is. No telling how many --or if any--of those friends will rise to the occasion, but the friend I was describing really surprised me. So maybe one of your more unhelpful friends will surprise you too. If anybody sulks or withdraws, well, that's how they show you whether they're able to meet you where you are. You don't have to close and lock a door...somebody might call you back months later, after that seed has sprouted. Takes time.

I hope so, because you deserve a lot of love and support in your life. It's just that we have to ask for what we want. Sometimes we'll get it and sometimes not. But we have to learn to ask, and let go of the outcome. If we don't get it the first time or with the first person, we can ask again of someone else.... And it's a good position ("I can speak comfortably about my own needs") to start in with new friends, too. They're out there for you, I know it.

I also wanted to ask when was the last time you had a complete physical? That fatigue is deep.

Big hugs,
Hops

Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on February 16, 2019, 01:23:44 AM
Hi Tupp:

If you do speak to this friend... maybe consider releasing expectations around it. 

Even if you wanted to, you don't have the capacity to take on the struggles of strangers. 

It's OK to gently state a boundary.  Maybe fear of losing that relationship creates too much stress around the conversation.  Maybe giving up expectation, and letting it be, would be helpful.

If your friend can't stop talking about other people's problems, maybe it's a distraction she's unable to put down.  As good a friend as you are, she can't expect you to help her carry pain that belongs to strangers. 

 I wonder if she's aware she's doing it.   

If you bring her attention to it, she might be grateful.  Just know your intentions are good, and you would never wish her any harm.   Trust yourself.  Even if it's not OK... it's OK.
 
Lighter

 
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on February 16, 2019, 10:33:07 PM
Hi Tupp:

I was listening to youngest dd practice with her "band" this morning, and thought about what makes a friend, or a friend group..... I was laughing bc dd is the only member who plays an instrument, and most "members" can't sing.  It's just her way of drawing together people she loves to be with, who love to be with her, and engaging them in things she enjoys.  Being together is the thing they mutually enjoy.  I thought about how many things have to come together to create a successful dynamic like that, and I will say this.... her group is fluid.  Different kids from her school participate, and step back, other step in, and out.  There's no expectation, or judgement.  It's just inclusion, and desire to be included, always honoring everyone's comfort level, and free will.

Today DD has 2 kids practicing for a performance this evening.  These kids are fearless.  They're going to stand up on a stage, and sing, bc my dd asked them to.  They're learning NEW songs this morning, which is... brave?  Bordering on unrecommended. 

Your friend isn't interacting with you, Tupp.  She's speaking AT you.  That's what she does, and I'm reminded that we're obligated to take time out to assess relationships, and re file people as life goes on.  It's not black or white typically, IME.  It's simply aligning our expectations with whatever reality surrounds that particular relationship.  It could change, and I guess most relationships always do.  The one constant is change, right?

You're allowed to come and go in your relationships, with fluidity also.  It doesn't mean you reject this friend.  It means you need to be with her the way you need to be with her, even if it's not the way she needs you to be, and that's OK too.

Oldest dd is visiting a college campus with 2 of best friends, who share a suite, but in different rooms at this college.  Those friends drifted apart at college, and have completely different friend groups.... and it's OK.   My dd is jumping back in, bringing the girls back together, but also interacting one on one, and with the different new friend groups.  It's fluid, and it's OK, and they don't question it or make a thing of it.  There's no learned anxiety around it.  No expectations for loyalty, and taking sides.  I'm in awe, and notice oldest dd often makes me wonder at her ability to rise above.  Just not take notice, much less feel compelled or responsible for anyone else, or their stuff.  She's not.  She KNOWS this in her bones.  Again... I'm in awe. 

And that makes me think about expectations again.  How some people feel guilty, and some don't. Some give only, and some take only.  Some of us have very low expectations for our friends, and very high expectations for ourselves.   We take what's there, and we expect whatever it is will meet our needs.  I think we forget to assess our expectations, and bring them into alignment with reality, bc that's our habit.  That's our default.  That's what we were taught, have always done, and just haven't learned anything else.  Take what's there, and on offer.  Don't look past it.  Don't feel worthy of what's beyond, bc beyond is scary, and unknown.  Is that lack of faith in ourselves, or the world, or both?  I'm not sure.  Neither?

Some of us get our energy from inside our own heads,  and I'm guessing we're not as affected by having fewer people and social interactions in our lives. 

For the people who get energy from other people, and interacting with them...... it's much harder, but I believe life, in general, is easier on the extroverts.

I can see where mindful exploration of our needs, interests, and ability to be fluid in relationship would be helpful.

One more thing... the campus where DD is visiting is doing away with their special interest housing... houses for groups of like minded people, bc of budget cuts.  What a wonderful way to bring people together!  Kids who don't know anyone find people with the same passions, and poof!  Something BIG to share, along with fluid boundaries, and interactions... it seems so good to me.  I'm sure some hit it off, and some come together over that one interest, but they come together. 

I've never had a large friend group.  I have a couple very good friends, and they're all far away, or passed away.  I've attempted to join groups to find new connections,  and they didn't work out.  I think that most of it was my odd situation, my inability to have fluid boundaries.... I just couldn't.  I spent yesterday with an Aunt and Uncle that know me, and we enjoy each other SO MUCH!  That wasn't always the case, bc my Uncle makes fun of my Aunt, who grew up not smiling much bc of her terrible family situation.  She's an easy target, and we've had fun at her expense for years....she's our straight man,  which makes her mad, but not too mad, but mad, and I started noticing that about 4 years ago.  How we poked gentle fun at her, in gentle ways, and bc of her background, she's always felt like an outsider, and makes it easy to treat her like an outsider.

I'm not going to make excuses, it was pretty mean.... not that she cried.... she just felt apart.  I love her, and I love my uncle.  At some point,  I decided I wouldn't DO that anymore, and the next visit changed... I paid more attention to my Aunt, didn't give my Uncle openings, and just refused to engage in the typical banter.  He's very laid back, btw, and he pokes gentle fun at her, never personal mean stuff, but THAT visit wasn't "fun."  At least not for my anyone,  but my Aunt, who was given voice, and space to use it.  The visit ended early.  They drove 3 hours for what wasn't the typical successful visit, but the next time we saw them it got a bit better.  Then better, and last night's visit was a satisfying interaction of taking turns, honoring what the other had to say, and engaging on a level we had to work up to.  We talked about what we always spoke about...  family, history, loved ones, and this time we got out the family bible, which I didn't realize existed.  My Aunt felt a bit defensive, and reminded me it was the E bible, and passed to the boy who had that last name... so not my mother..... I could tell she felt a bit bad it hadn't been shared, even about it's existence.  I was just glad it was THERE, surpirse!  I was glad I could take pictures of family trees, letters, photos.... once she got that I wasn't upset, the visit went on.  I can say, she can make fun of me, and tries to engage in it with my Uncle... not as gently, but WE TAUGHT HER THAT! 

I stay in observer mode, and wait for her to feel she's said what she needed to say.... in this case she's making fun of my trying to figure out a way to cover dog's bums, so they aren't all over our furniture and bedding.  I let her get her cracks in, my Uncle listens, does what I do now.... resists piling on, and then it's someone else's turn to speak. 

If my Uncle and I are talking about brain integration, or anatomy, my Aunt wonders off, and does something else.  She does this bc she thinks it's hoo doo AND it makes her feel dumb, bc she doesn't know anything about it.  She gets to SAY that, in her own way..... how it's hoo doo, she'll never let me work on her, and we're free to talk about it, but not with her.  Fine.  It's a fluid boundary, bc more and more she's listening, and commenting... just a tad.  No harm, no foul.  We're OK with that.

There are things my aunt and I discuss that uncle isn't interested in.  He wonders off too.  More and more, though, I want to spend more time with him, bc he's my mom's brother.  I worry a bit about spending less time with my aunt when I'm there, and if she'll feel it.... be hurt by it.  Now it's my turn to face my anxiety, and seek what I need, while releasing expectation for how aunt will handle it.

One of oldest dd's best friends explained how she and her group lost a friend recently.   That young woman was basically asking her group to caretake and parent her.  They spoke up, with compassion, and asked her to not call at 3am to request a 7am wake up call for class.... not to request they keep her from doing stupid drunken things, as if it was their job, and to not ask them to do all her school work for her,  bc it's her work, not theirs.   The friend completely snubbed them, and refused to talk about it.... she just left, and looks at them as though they affronted her.  They don't feel too bad about it.  They know they spoke with compassion, and honored themselves, which is amazing to see, from my POV, bc I don't think I knew how, much less what that WAS when I was 18yo.  Boundaries.  Who ever?

Tupp, your friend might leave.  She might thank you for bringing her attention to something that's not working in her life, and maybe thinking about it will bring positive change she didn't know she needed?  I guess I'm saying we shouldn't view everything like this as negative, and scary.  It COULD lead to something wonderful.  It could bring growth and wisdom, and depth to her life, and your relationship. 

You don't know, and that's OK.  You don't want to lose a friend, but maybe it's not losing her.  Maybe this will be a fluid boundary that isn't black or white.  Maybe she'll handle it poorly, them think about it, and come back, and talk.  I believe it would feel like chaotic failure IF she went away.  That makes me sad.  We deserve so much better than relationships that don't serve us,  but we allow to limp along, bc we fear being without. 

Relationships change whether we create that change or not.  We're entitled to ask for what we need.  Heck, we're entitled to have needs, even if it feels odd, or awkward, or selfish.... it's just normal, and we can get used to that.

It's odd.... as I was writing this post one of my 3D friends called, bc she found 2 wills of mine.  SHE'S the one who'll decide if I'm unplugged or not if something medical needs to be decided.  She's the executor of my will.... she wanted to know which one was to be honored.... neither of us remembered the first will written in 2010, apparently when we were both under terrible duress.... and we talked a bit about this too. 

How difficult it is to SEE that fine line between enabling, and helping.  You aren't helping your friend by enabling her to talk at other people.  Learning to engage in the normal back and forth, give and take cadence of a more balanced friendship isn't a bad thing, IME.  It would likely be a good thing for your friend.  Even if she chooses to step back, she'll have that in her mind, and she might think about it, and SEE it in a new way. She might decide she wants something else.  She might see that she's avoiding her own struggles when she thinks about other people's business all the time.  She might be grateful you helped her gain perspective.  Or not.  Hard to say, and that's OK too.  We don't have to know everything.  We can't, so we might as well make peace with being curious about how things will go.  Expectations aren't very useful, IME.

It's likely all her friendships are this way, IMO, Tupp.  She might wear one out, then go to another.... that's how it usually happens.  I've had a"friend" like that.  Trying to speak to her about it got me hung up on.  She won't hear anything other than what she wants to talk about... which is her own voice, and you better keep quiet, or just say what she wants to hear.... mm hmm.... or she just cuts off contact.   

She had to go, but my sister stayed in touch, and i had to hear about her through my sibling.  It was a point of contention, and I finally just had to say I didn't want to hear about her anymore... my sister was bringing up that friend's problems, over and over, and it was an exercise in wheel spinning.  I was done.  Sib finally GOT it, and ended the friendship.  She didn't have anyone who'd pretend that relationship was OK any longer. 

We have to decide what's good for us, and what's not.  We have to believe it when we figure it out.  We can choose to honor it, or not, but we strive to see it clearly, and make decisions based on reality, not wishing and hoping, and seeing things different than they truly are.

I'll end this huge long post with this....
the friend I spoke to today was my roomate for a time.  We worked together on a project.  I  invited her  into my martial arts class in the late 1990s.  We hung out together, played together, socialized around martial arts together, and shared other friends.  There were 3 incidents in martial arts class that peaved me off, and landed JUST the two of us in protective gear, where the rest of the class wasn't required... mostly bc my friend hit me in the face very hard, when we were supposed to be doing drills, and I THEN TOOK A SWING AT HER HEAD WITH EVERYTHING I HAD out of anger..... getting blindsided by a punch turns out to be something that makes me lose control... I didn't think,  I just reacted, and she did a shoulder slip (thanks F for teaching us well) and that instructor knocked us apart, and made us put headgear on.... it wasn't a good workout. 

If you're still reading, there was a phone conversation between my friend and I later that day. and my friend asked me about the work out "situation."  I said she had a couple of choices..... she could apologize for blindsiding me, stop doing it, and we'd continue our work outs as before OR she could not take responsibility, and I'd begin blindsiding her, at will, when we were doing drills, and she could see how that worked out for her.  I saw those choices very clearly, and I didn't see any gray areas.

She didn't have to think about it.  She apologized, said she didn't want to be blindsided, and could we go back to regular work outs.  I forgave her, agreed on the plan, and went to see what fresh hell was going on inside my father's hospital room.   

These aren't easy conversations.  They aren't supposed to feel good.  They're awkward, and if it's over anything I DO SEE GRAY around, then seems 100 times more difficult to have them,  IME.  This just happened to be a situation I FELT, saw stars over, and left no room for pretending.  I.  Was.  Harmed.  I also want to say I saw this friend do the same thing to a law enforcement recruit in a class we were teaching, and I called her out on it that time too.  My friend is as aggressive as society tends to see men.  She's fearless, and smart, and terribly responsible... so.... I'm sometimes shocked when I see this type of behavior FROM her.  it's not a deal breaker.  It's cause for speaking up, and talking to her honestly.  She was there for me during my trials.  She was there even when it felt dangerous, and she and her husband were frightened to have me in their home during a couple trials.  She's in for a penny, in for a pound as she says, and I am too.  I accept her as she is.  she accepts me as I am.  We are, neither of us, perfect.   

When she had an auto accident, I was there at the hospital, advocating for her, without any power, trying to talk to her family about second opinions, and researching options.... friend almost died with burst intestines... the broken arm wasn't on the list of priorities.... it was bad.  After that she put me down as the person making medical decisions for her, worst case scenario. 

We just put her down as the person who'll make that decision for me. 

I never assume things are over, or gone too far.  I see things as out of balance, or in balance.  I've laughed with her, like I seldom laugh with anyone, and there's something deeply validating about being known.... we can't be known unless we're free to speak our truth, without fear, and be seen.  Sometimes that truth means we have to take a break, but we speak it, I think, anyway.

Even though we've had years apart, we always get each other.  We don't ever ever ever accuse the other of something they didn't do, or something they simply are not.... for any reason.  Ever.  I can't even imagine it between us.  Maybe that's part of it.  She's not afraid I'm going to ask her for something she can't and should't give.  I know she'll never ask me.  We don't manipulate, ever.  We know we never have to watch our backs with each other.  We know we can get a frank, honest opinion, without judgement, and we never ever ever say stupid dumb things to each other....meaning we never assume things that people who don't know us assume... particulary with regard to family situations, holistic medicine (we found the same practitioner about the same time) and food.   

 think fear of being alone, fear of appearing like a broken outsider haunts everyone at some time.... esp those requiring more social interaction, which isn't me. 

Don't give anything you can't afford to give away, Tupp.  Friends don't have to tap dance around the truth, or walk on eggshells, IME.  I think you might re frame the situation, and try not to see it as a negative.  Try to remain curious, and without expectation. 

Or not.  You can just let it be what it is.  You can remain in observer mode, and see what comes up.

Lighter
ps  DD feels they blew their performance today, but has sort of at peace with it.  She understands they didn't practice enough.  She knows they could practice, and nail it, if they put in the work.  That EVERYONE showed up.... all but one of her very large friend group, is an amazing thing.  I think that's what the day was about.  Including everyone, joining, and contributing.  I think she's going to continue with it, and that's a good thing. 

AVOIDANCE is coming up for me right now.  Avoiding things we can't avoid.... like being honest with people we depend on, speaking our truth, or being assertive, or asking for our needs to be met..... holds us back.  If we can build up a tolerance, shift, and reframe..... we get stronger, and grow.  First we have to recognize that we're avoiding.  Then we learn to deal with it.  We feel we get something out of it.... and truthfully we are getting something out of it. Feeling better short term, in the moment.   If we can shift, and see what it's costing us, maybe things shift more intuitively.


Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on February 21, 2019, 06:39:57 AM
Hi all,

Thank you so much for the posts and advice and support.  I do appreciate it, and read it, think about it, work it in to my own life and so on.

I've been thinking a lot over the last few days about my current situation, where I am in my life, what I want and so on.  Something I realised is that I think a part of me thought I'd just drop back in to my old life when we moved back here - and of course, I can't.  Things have changed so much.  My experiences have changed my outlook on life and son was a fit and healthy three year old when we lived here before - now he's a young adult who requires constant support.  Very different kettle of fish and of course, my friends' kids aren't in the same situation.  They're off at college, Uni, work and so on, which means my friends aren't stay at home mums anymore - so we don't have the same situations in life that we did when they were all three years old and we were all stay at home mums.  I don't know why I didn't think of that before but for some reason it only became apparent in the last few days.

So - what this means is, I need to build a new life.  And do you know what, I feel excited about that.  I feel like I don't need to keep fixing and changing myself so that I can keep adapting to other people's needs and demands, and the demands of the situation.  I can start to focus on what I want, and enjoy, and how I want life to be, and just build it gradually.

I'm going to leave the friend situation alone for the time being.  I want to focus on building my life, not coping with other people's, and I don't feel strong enough to risk losing her at the moment if she isn't able to change the things she focuses on when she's with me.  So I think I'm going to look around for some sort of exercise class I can invite her to, where we're spending time together but not in an environment where we'll be able to talk.  I think that will work for now and just give me a bit of breathing space where I can see her but not have to deal with the things that feel too hard right now.  It will do for the time being.  I need to start focusing on doing the things I want to do and inviting people to join me in those things, rather than sacrificing time and then resenting it because I'd rather be doing something else.  We'll see how it goes.

I'm entering in to a big 'getting through the paperwork' phase.  There's lots of bits and pieces I need to catch up on, so I'm making that the focus for now.  Get that out of the way and then when son is back to college I can go back to sleeping during the day.

Hops, to answer your question about getting a physical, the very thought of going anywhere near a doctor makes me feel ill.  I hate them so much right now; they've failed my son (and me) so badly so many times that I can't bear the thought of going near one.  Even dropping my son's prescription off each month makes me feel ill.  I am quite certain it is simply the years of overwork, stress and lack of sleep, simply because I feel absolutely fine when I get a chance to rest.  I have made an appointment with the osteopath and I'm going to book in with the acupuncturist as well, which will help.  I'm quite sure everything will resolve itself once son is living elsewhere and I can drop down to a forty hour week xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on February 21, 2019, 10:05:44 AM
Trust your instincts, Tupp.  Honor your feelings,  and choose YOU for a while. 

I have paperwork to do too.  Mostly it's time to sift through all my bills, get together some stuff for taxes, and continue wittling down expenses.  It's time. 

I don't dread it, but I'm definitely avoiding it.  I'm noticing this without any judgement.  Just curiosity.  I think this is a step closer to being OK with paperwork.... dropping the panic knee jerk default around it, kwim?

(((Tupp)))

I hope you find something good to share with this friend. 

Lighter
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on February 21, 2019, 11:28:08 AM
Trust your instincts, Tupp.  Honor your feelings,  and choose YOU for a while. 

I have paperwork to do too.  Mostly it's time to sift through all my bills, get together some stuff for taxes, and continue wittling down expenses.  It's time. 

I don't dread it, but I'm definitely avoiding it.  I'm noticing this without any judgement.  Just curiosity.  I think this is a step closer to being OK with paperwork.... dropping the panic knee jerk default around it, kwim?

(((Tupp)))

I hope you find something good to share with this friend. 

Lighter

Lighter, I made a list of the main paperwork things that needed to be done - thirteen jobs in total.  Some of those jobs are smaller jobs combined (file box that needs sorting through and organising, for example - some will need action, some will go in the shredder, some will be filed away).  I've put it up on the wall and given myself a target of two jobs a day - which will mean it's done by the time son goes back to college.  I've also made a list of things I like doing and I'm alternating - an hour on paperwork (which I break down into ten minute chunks - for some reason crossing off ten minutes at a time helps) then an hour doing something else.  I've got my two jobs for today done but I'm going to carry on working through and see how much else I can do because I am just so sick of always having this millstone around my neck.  If I can get these things crossed off the list it will help.  There will be more coming in - so many of these processes go on for months and go back and forth - but if I can get this backlog out the way, and get really well organised - then I hope to be able to deal with other stuff as it comes in and not have it pile up the way this lot has.  Sigh.  I've really had a gutfull of it all now.  But it needs to be done.  I've got music on in the background and I'm stopping for snacks and drinks as necessary.  I hope you can get through some of your pile as well xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: lighter on February 21, 2019, 02:53:44 PM
I hope I can jump in, and make some progress too, Tupp. 

Some of my stuff is dealing with incompetent people in positions of authority.... GRRRRRRR.... so angry about that, and they're refusing to help me solve it!  Lawyer involved, and still not getting resolution.

And like you I have sorting, and shredding..... so much sorting and shredding.
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 21, 2019, 06:46:51 PM
Tupps, do you have time yet to daydream a bit about how you would rebuild your life? What you want it to be?

I'm just asking, because I need to do a bit of that myself. Sure, I can stay busy on the farm... but as Hol continues to remind me: life can be so much more than that. I just don't know how much I WANT to juggle. Ya know?
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on February 22, 2019, 04:57:48 AM
I hope I can jump in, and make some progress too, Tupp. 

Some of my stuff is dealing with incompetent people in positions of authority.... GRRRRRRR.... so angry about that, and they're refusing to help me solve it!  Lawyer involved, and still not getting resolution.

And like you I have sorting, and shredding..... so much sorting and shredding.

Other people's incompetence creating work for me drives me insane, Lighter, it's the aspect of my situation that makes me feel so paralysed.  I don't have any way of making anyone do their job properly because I don't have any authority over them.  They can screw up and mess up as often as they like - they still get paid and I sink deeper into the sand.  It drives me nuts.  I can't even console myself with a cake because I'm on a healthy eating spree :)  Lol.  Shredding makes me feel so satisfied - especially shredding things that have annoyed me :)  I'm dreaming of a huge ceremonial bonfire one day when I can take every single one of the thousands of bits of paper that currently sit across the wall in my sitting room and set fire to the lot of them :)  I might make voodo dolls of people who've annoyed me and chuck them on as well :) Lol xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on February 22, 2019, 05:07:18 AM
Tupps, do you have time yet to daydream a bit about how you would rebuild your life? What you want it to be?

I'm just asking, because I need to do a bit of that myself. Sure, I can stay busy on the farm... but as Hol continues to remind me: life can be so much more than that. I just don't know how much I WANT to juggle. Ya know?

Skep, I am going to sound very grumpy, but I have given up on dreams :)  I do feel quite disheartened and disappointed with the way my life has turned out. I've worked very hard, I've always aimed high and really strived and gosh, I've been disappointed with the outcome over and over again.  So for the time being I've put dreams to one side and I'm trying to focus on action I can take without having an aim in mind.  My health, for example - I can take steps to improve it but I'm not aiming for a particular goal or end point, just trying to live better.  I want to start having some time to try different hobbies and activities out to see if I can find things I enjoy doing so that's something I hope to try to start doing this year.  Other than that I'm not letting my mind go any further at the minute.  Have you got any possibilities up your sleeve at the moment? xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 22, 2019, 08:44:24 AM
Not grumpy, Tupps. I can understand that approach. I asked to see where you were with this... 'coz I'm in a never-ending holding pattern about it.

I had contacted my tai chi school, over the mountain, about Hol & I starting classes with everyone else doing section I. That was in January. Well, we had "house guest" here... and I couldn't very well go anywhere and leave him unsupervised. Then, Holly sprained her ankle badly and I bunged up my knee... and well - I think they're close to starting section II, if they haven't already!!

I feel like such a flake; I haven't emailed my teacher yet to explain what happened. It's NOT all that formal at the school; people do just "drop in" as they have time... but I feel what I feel about it, and well, it's like I promised something I couldn't follow through on. I disappointed someone. Maybe. Maybe I'm reading minds, too.

There are lots of "reasons", or "limitations", or as Hol calls them - excuses - for why I don't just go participate in social or group activities, where I could meet some new friends. But I think the main one, is that they come to me -- enough people, that I don't feel isolated at all or have to make the effort to go to them. Yeah, that's too easy isn't it?

Well, I'm about to get ready for my monthly run into the city for my haircut and a little grocery shopping. That's about the extent of my "social life", except next week, when I run back into the city to do my banking and chat with the head teller. LOL.
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on February 22, 2019, 12:43:06 PM
Not grumpy, Tupps. I can understand that approach. I asked to see where you were with this... 'coz I'm in a never-ending holding pattern about it.

I had contacted my tai chi school, over the mountain, about Hol & I starting classes with everyone else doing section I. That was in January. Well, we had "house guest" here... and I couldn't very well go anywhere and leave him unsupervised. Then, Holly sprained her ankle badly and I bunged up my knee... and well - I think they're close to starting section II, if they haven't already!!

I feel like such a flake; I haven't emailed my teacher yet to explain what happened. It's NOT all that formal at the school; people do just "drop in" as they have time... but I feel what I feel about it, and well, it's like I promised something I couldn't follow through on. I disappointed someone. Maybe. Maybe I'm reading minds, too.

There are lots of "reasons", or "limitations", or as Hol calls them - excuses - for why I don't just go participate in social or group activities, where I could meet some new friends. But I think the main one, is that they come to me -- enough people, that I don't feel isolated at all or have to make the effort to go to them. Yeah, that's too easy isn't it?

Well, I'm about to get ready for my monthly run into the city for my haircut and a little grocery shopping. That's about the extent of my "social life", except next week, when I run back into the city to do my banking and chat with the head teller. LOL.

Yes, I can identify with all of that!  I find socialising tiring, although that depends more on who it's with.  What I don't like about groups is that for some reason I often seem to get stuck next to the person who wants to talk about themselves endlessly and I just find that exhausting.  I think now if I try to focus on doing some activities that involve other people but focus on doing something and perhaps a bit of chat during a coffee break - that might suit me better.  The other thing I thought of is that there is a good live music venue near us.  Son loves live music as well and it's a smallish venue (hundreds of people rather than thousands) so it's not too pricey.  That might be a good way of being out with people without actually having to talk to them :)  There is apparently a forest group that runs for unpaid carers and people with mental health problems - I think I come under both categories!  It's on when son is at college so that might be a good one for me to get involved in.  Voluntary work is another option - there's a homeless shelter nearby and lots of animal shelters (I saw an ad for a sheep sanctuary the other day!  I do love sheep :) ).  But yes, if I were in your situation and people came to me I probably wouldn't venture out to much - if it ain't broke don't fix it and all that :)

I have met people that I like but I don't feel confident enough to just ask people if they want to meet up.  I was thinking that perhaps I ought to try to get them chatting about their social lives and where they go and see if some sort of event comes up where it would be quite natural to go along together rather than trying to arrange it - perhaps car share or something like that.  I don't know, it's something I'll have to think about some more.  I would like more people in my real life but I do find the number of people I like spending time with is quite low so I feel like I have to sift through a lot.  I do still find it hard to cope with rejection as well so of course someone I like not wanting to spend time with me is still something I need to do more work on to feel comfortable with.  But there are some options out there.

We did find a really quirky cafe today.  It's in a boat on the river (permanently moored which is good as I get very sea sick).  Big log burner inside, loads of old 1950's records and posters all over the walls and ceilings, mannequins in weird outfits, lots of plants, pinball machines and so on.  I much prefer that sort of thing to the Starbucks type places so maybe that's what I need to look at as well; finding places that fit my personality and then I guess there's more chance of meeting like minded people.  Let me know if you do get along to Tai Chi!  Is your knee better now? xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: sKePTiKal on February 22, 2019, 06:43:36 PM
Thanks for asking; yes, it's better. Navigating in the snow doesn't help it - since everything is up or downhill here. So I keep applying heat to it, during the sit-downs and at night. And then, deliberately stretching, without needing to balance on it much.
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on March 01, 2019, 02:24:48 AM
Glad the knee is a bit better, Skep, and yes, I can see that navigating snow would be tricky!  It's often hard to get the balance between doing enough to keep things moving and avoiding seizing up but not overdoing it to the point that you make it worse.  I paid the price for going walking when my back was bad a little while ago.  I thought the exercise and fresh air would help but I ended up having to turn back, it was so painful I could hardly move by the time I got back to the car and was laid up for several days afterwards.  We live and learn!

I had attempted to be more positive earlier in the week but I have realised that dealing with 'paperwork' is enormously triggering for me.  I've had a response back to a complaint I made and, to be fair, it's not a bad response.  They have agreed that they failed to follow procedure and that son missed out on support as a result of that, which means we can probably get some compensation now - not a huge amount, but enough to pay for some additional support over the summer holidays.  I also realised that I had missed the deadline for responding.  It had taken my a month to get to a point where I felt I could deal with the letter, so it had sat there unopened all that time.  I opened it the day after I needed to respond back but I emailed them to ask for more time, which they've agreed to - very reasonable of them and again, should be seen as a positive for me.

But - there's always a but - I think my body responds regardless of the logic or reality of the situation.  I felt relieved, and quite positive, about the situation.  Taking it forward from here is relatively straight forward as it isn't a legal situation, it's more about goodwill gestures.  So I can ask them for compensation and if they say no, I can write to the Ombudsman and ask them to intervene.  They almost always find in favour of the child in cases like this (particularly as Local Authority have already admitted they failed him and that failure means he lost out) so really it shouldn't be a big deal.  But I was awake the next morning before 3am and couldn't get back to sleep.  I felt more and more unwell as the day went on.  Headache, stomach ache, steadily escalating anxiety, chest pains, irritability, brain fog and a crushing exhaustion that made everything feel like too much work.  I slept better last night but feel like I've climbed a mountain or something.  I'm very tired, everything aches, my head hurts and I'm struggling to get anything done.  I felt fine before I opened the letter - I'd even go so far as to say I felt good - and now I feel dreadful again.  So I think my new research project will have to be on finding ways to stop the body reacting to everything in such a negative way.  It doesn't feel like it's my mind that's the problem now.

In other news, the friends thing is bugging me and I'm finding I feel too tired to deal with it.  I do feel that I'm becoming more and more reclusive.  I don't want to be, but I'm finding people exhausting.  I haven't seen the friend who I've been struggling with - she seems to have been keeping her distance as well.  I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.  Another friend cancelled our plans at the last minute again - I think that's the fourth time now.  As soon as she cancels she starts arranging another get together.  I find it exhausting and had another friend where we lived before who was like this.  We are no longer friends :(  Son's birthday outing is on Sunday - have invited people but not had definite responses from most yet so feel a bit deflated about having to chase people up.  Just grumbling really - I think I do need to focus on getting out more doing things I enjoy and just hoping that some of the other people doing them are nice and I get on with them.  Anyway, that's my negative update for today lol xx
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Hopalong on March 02, 2019, 03:20:35 PM
I hear how drained and exhausted you are feeling (((((((((Tupp)))))))))))).

How could you not, from time to time?

Much comfort,

Hops
Title: Re: Embracing The Dark Side
Post by: Twoapenny on March 04, 2019, 04:24:31 AM
I hear how drained and exhausted you are feeling (((((((((Tupp)))))))))))).

How could you not, from time to time?

Much comfort,

Hops

Thanks, Hops, it is much appreciated.  Much love to you.

Tup xx xx