Author Topic: Embracing The Dark Side  (Read 736 times)

Twoapenny

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #15 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.

Hopalong

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #16 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

« Last Edit: February 15, 2019, 09:20:25 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #17 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

 

lighter

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #18 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.


« Last Edit: February 16, 2019, 11:13:58 PM by lighter »

Twoapenny

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #19 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

lighter

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #20 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

Twoapenny

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #21 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

lighter

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #22 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.

sKePTiKal

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #23 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?
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Twoapenny

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #24 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

Twoapenny

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #25 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

sKePTiKal

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #26 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.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Twoapenny

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #27 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

sKePTiKal

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #28 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.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Twoapenny

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Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #29 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