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Struggling with change


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Old 08-04-2017, 10:22 AM   #1
sweet224
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Struggling with change

So I have realised that I am co-dependant a few months ago since distancing myself from my mother who is an undiagnosed Narcissist.
I am having therapy, have done allot of research and trying to work on all my issues, such as low self worth, my need for validation, putting other peoples opinions and needs before mine, internalising negative messages, people pleasing, even manipulation to get what i want to can feel better about myself etc.. a long list.

But even though I am now aware of all of these traits its like I still feel helpless and hopeless, each day is different my thoughts vary from feeling really low to thinking i can be this new person. But in all im just really tired. I am seeing what this condition is doing to my partner of 15 years, I am worried about the effects it may have on my 3 year old son as he gets older. I need to change I know i have to,, but just cant see it happening, I just feel stuck in this emptiness of not knowing who I am, who i am suppose to be.. Its so lonely.

I dont even know why im posting here, i guess i just wanted to know if anyone else felt anything similar to that hole, that sadness that keeps being filled with other things like binge eating, drinking, other people but its never filled. How do i escape myself.

Last edited by Administrator; 08-04-2017 at 09:21 PM.

 
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:59 AM   #2
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Re: Struggling with change

Dear sweet,

I can really relate, and you need first to give yourself a break since you only have a few months of realizing how your mother's choices have affected you.

It's not easy to simply change our own mind set. But now you can begin that process. It will help if you can understand that there were those that affected your mother's mindset; she coming from generations that probably also didn't have the best mindset. Yes it is sad how your mother was affected and that she hasn't dealt with that, and how you are affected, and that you haven't yet dealt with it. It's good to face things, and to have a mourning period. Then we put those emotions in a figurative casket and move on to happier thoughts.

It's a process, but we have to make the decision to do just that. The brain cannot be occupied with two thoughts at once. We can dwell on what we never had, or lost or we can dwell on what we do have and can acquire.

I'm not going to describe my own mother right now, as I know her history and how it affected her and how that affected me, and it really doesn't matter. You have your own experiences.

What I want to share with you is that we all are just trying to survive, and sometimes how we choose to do that is through pushing others away or getting into ineffective or unrealistic relationships, out of packing things upon ourselves that never were our own problem to fix or endure. When we are children we don't have much choice, but when we leave home all those choices are our own to make.

We can keep looking back at what others did or didn't do, or we can look forward and assume responsibility for our own selves. Our parent/abuser/bad example/rapist/whoever is not making choices for us. We are.

Diagnosis, or labels are just a way to describe in order to submit bills to insurance and they truly have no other meaning. We don't know what makes anyone the way they are. Some of my 'story' and what I have endured is in some of my other posts. Out of that past I made some terrible choices and even have acted violently against my body, all from wanting what I felt to go away.

From all of my many years of experience and therapy, to me it all boils down to choice. Not 'theirs' (the abuser, molester, rapist, bad parents, etc), but our own as individuals. Only we can choose what we dwell upon. We cannot ever change the past or other people. We can change the present and the future by changing our own minds and what we dwell on.

I had a wonderful therapist many years ago that related to me as a straight forward caring human being. He agreed that specific things that happened or was done to me in my past were indeed horrific. When I shared what I had done or was doing to myself he showed that he was equally as horrified. He didn't at all have a 'poor you' attitude. He was not judgemental or mean, but he was equally shocked by my own actions toward myself as at the abusers' actions.

That transparent relationship helped me see I WAS doing to myself the same that abusers had been doing. I acted out against my own self, and no one was making me do it except me. I know how I feel (icky) after eating a bowl of ice cream after a big meal, yet I do it. No one makes me do it. There is no one I would allow to force that upon me, yet I choose to do it to myself. I even buy the ice cream knowing full well how it makes me feel.

I'm sharing that what we feel about ourselves comes from our own minds. Yes all those things happened to you, me, many, many of us. I rarely meet anyone whose parents and past were not screwed up, and even they live with many regrets.

In therapy I learned that it is my responsibility to self-correct. (DUH!)
It's so easy to numb out on excess carbs and junk food. It's easy to numb out on dwelling on what others said, did, or think.

However, we won't move on into healthy emotions and body until we choose to stop being the helpless little kid and parent our own selves in a disciplined and healthy manner. Whether we start practicing this is our own choice. We won't be perfect at it or even very good at it, most likely, till be work on it for some time.

It is so accessible and easy to watch other people live lives and critique them. But, what makes what I do any different, if I don't even take care of myself?

All I changed in order to leave depression behind is how I talk to myself. We can change our own lives and emotions by changing our own basic self-talk to something like this ~

I am responsible for making my own choices.

I choose not to dwell on what other people or my self are like or have done.

I will not be perfect at it, exactly as others also are not perfect at it, but I choose to practice letting go of bad feelings and judging my self or others.

I choose to let go of unforgiveness, anger, and all blame. I will forgive and accept others as they are, as I forgive and accept myself with all of my own flaws and weaknesses.

I will daily work on forgiving others and on forgiving myself.


For years I had those words printed out and I read them several times a day.

I hope this gives you hope that you can let what was done be done.
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Last edited by YaYagirl; 08-21-2017 at 11:21 AM.

 
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:24 AM   #3
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Re: Struggling with change

Hi Yayagirl,
Thank you so much for your reply, this literally had me in tears reading it, you are so right. This means so much. I know that only I can make the changes that need to be made to better myself, yet its so easy to get lost in it all and become that helpless little girl.
I guess what I am unsure about is how can we tell the difference between dwelling on the past and confronting it, facing it in order to move on.
Would this be maybe down to our perspective, so allowing ourselves to feel those feelings that come with our experiences but being objective enough to know, we are not in that situation anymore and these things don't have control over us.

There days I just sit here looking into space an recycle the past over and over in my head. And there other times I just can't stop crying, or I feel angry etc.. How do I know I am not dwelling and just accepting..

 
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Old 08-06-2017, 08:10 PM   #4
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Re: Struggling with change

Dear sweets,

I'm glad to share and hope that my experience helps you feel OK as you are in some way. Because how you are feeling is normal for you for what you experienced. You being you is not 'wrong'. BTW, your mother being herself is not 'wrong'. All this is, let me simplify it, is that you had not understood it or accepted it. The big plus is now you can begin to relax and accept that your mom has her own problems that you have no power to fix, and also now you can begin to accept your own self and allow yourself to relax and begin to make healthy choices.

Believe me, it is not healthy to dwell on how someone else is or was. As far as mourning goes, yes we need to do that. But each time the sadness comes up, we can limit how long we will dwell on it. Cry some tears, kick and thrash and say 'this was SO unfair!" but have a preset limit for how long we are going to go on about it. Like maybe give ourselves five or ten minutes (if we have those spaces of time to be alone with ourselves). Then make up our minds that we are going to concentrate on some other subject, like what we are thankful for. Even if it's just that the sun comes up.

It's good to understand where you are coming from so you can make your own choices how you want to be. But the more we dwell on someone else the more like them we act. I didn't have a clue back then and I wondered why I was so different than everyone else that seemed so together & confident while I was an anxiety wreck and no one knew but me. Many years later when I checked in on my old high school mates on one of those websites for various schools, I found out what others were going through and how uncertain they had been and what hellish situations they lived through.

The more I learned to understand my mother, the easier it was to leave her stuff with her. I was even able to stop hating her and relax and then be OK with the fact that I make many mistakes (ask my own children).

Maybe or maybe not, though at some point you may be able to, you might want to ask your mother what her family of origin was like and what her position in the family was like, and just listen without comment other than 'oh'. Eventually her own emotions may begin to pour out so you will begin to understand her, which IMO could help you understand yourself. Maybe instead of hurt, she had become angry and made up her mind not to be vulnerable to anyone again. There's no telling unless someday she can open up and share.

My own mother was in her 70's before she felt safe enough to admit some very serious abuse she suffered and witnessed from her father. She had never felt safe to admit those things before, and it happened that she admitted them to me while I was in therapy...thank God I was!
But at least that huge burden of stress and secrets was off of her, and for that I am grateful as I know how that feels. I hated her through my childhood, but after she passed away I mourned the loss of the mother she wanted to be but never was capable of in this life. Her life was tragically unfulfilled as kids were not tolerated in making a peep when she was growing up. She literally could have been beaten to death when a child, no kidding.

None of her life changed how her experiences affected my life. She's left this world now. The mother I mourn after is the mother I could have had if no one had ruined her life. I count it a privilege that I can know where she came from and where I came from, so I can see life for us was crazy. That doesn't make me crazy, though. Your past didn't make you crazy, either.

Take it from me, facing is not dwelling. Hanging onto the anger and letting it make you bitter would be 'dwelling'. You can learn to choose to say,' I don't know exactly what formed my mother, and, what she did was not right, but I choose to forgive' and let go of it. You can say this as many times as it takes until your heart relaxes and you realize that you have empathy and you mean it. That day can come but will come when your heart is ready. We don't need to try to force it.

Facing comes with the decision to tell yourself, 'I choose to stop blaming her for being who she is. I choose to forgive. I choose to let her be herself. I am a separate person. I am not her. She is not me.
I am going to dwell on the blessings in my life'. then name them. Write them down. Type them in an email and send it to your self. Keep it. Read it; add to the list.

Those are just a few ways you can affirm that you are a separate person, and that she doesn't control you or your emotions. And, factually, she does not and never did. You will grow in this realization and
it is OK and normal to have to grow into it.

Some children don't buy into stuff some parents dish out. You and I did, maybe being more vulnerable or afraid. I don't know why out of many siblings, only myself and one other sibling succumbed to internalizing our mother's craziness.

Right now you are understandably a bundle of emotions. It seems normal to me that you need to take your space and do things that help you relax and recognize that you are in fact, separate and are OK. Don't kick yourself about where you are at now, or try to analyze it so much, and YOU choose how much time to dwell on it. I'm sure you have responsibilities, hobbies, relationships to get back into.

You are getting through this, girl. I'm positive of it.
Sometimes what we feel at the time doesn't reveal all of the facts. I think this is one of those times. Do you agree?

One thing that still helps me to this day is to journal what I am feeling, details of what happened and my anger and frustration. I have notebooks of notes to self...always I exhaust the subject and get back to the reality that I am an adult now, not in that position any longer. I very seldom ever need to go to the past. The present has enough troubles of it's own.

You are normal. Remember that. These are issues you will work through mentally. The key is in facing them. And you are doing that work right now. That's really admirable. IMHO, what keeps people bound up is not facing the past.

Love,
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~ Ya Ya ~

Last edited by YaYagirl; 08-06-2017 at 09:15 PM.

 
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sweet224 (08-10-2017)
Old 08-09-2017, 11:04 PM   #5
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Re: Struggling with change

Hi YaYagirl,

Yes thank you this has helped so much and given me a better perspective on the situation. I really do like the idea of sitting with those feelings and allowing them to be there but for only a short period of time then afterwards, taking myself out of that space and coming back to the here and now and getting on with things. I sometimes get lost in it all and spirrell until i make myself so feel so awful,

 
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:05 PM   #6
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Re: Struggling with change

Yes thank you this has helped so much and given me a better perspective on the situation. I really do like the idea of sitting with those feelings and allowing them to be there but for only a short period of time then afterwards, taking myself out of that space and coming back to the here and now and getting on with things. I sometimes get lost in it all and spirrell until i make myself so feel so awful, that i dont even want to move. So I guess its about remembering that what happened to us is in the past and even though these thoughts come to us in the present, we arent stuck there, we can chose to move. I am not that little girl anymore, I have choice now and I have a voice, its just believing it. I do feel a little more hopeful today.

Thank you for sharing your experience with your mother I can really understand what you mean about how knowing this information would really give a better understanding. As I was growing up my mother was always quite open with me about her childhood, looking back now, probably to open. So i knew about her trauma, physical & sexual abuse that she experienced from when I was 7 years old. I remember her telling me. She had gone through this trauma from 8 year old up until her late teens when she left home. and even had to protect her siblings, with her mother not even believing her.
So even though I am angry at my mother and angry that I will never have the mother I wanted and even thought I had, I can understand that she was damaged herself, and still has many issues today, which ive accepted I cannot change. When I see her now, I just feel sorry, sorry that she is the way she is, but not responsible anymore, because she still has a choice, just like I do. It took me several months to get to this point, so I guess there is progress.. although there still many times, I sit alone crying my eyes out like a baby, wanting my 'mummy' and I know that's my inner child coming to terms with the loss. When I was a child i needed her, i needed that love and never felt it, but as an adult I need to learn to love myself. so hard, but i know i have to

Thank you for these affimations, I have also written some out myself and try to do them, regularly, sometimes being kind to yourself is the hardest thing to do.
Yes a journal is very helpful, i started this a few months ago, although have been slacking for a few weeks, should really get back to it.

Right! I think we expect something different with time, some sort of revelation, but nothing is revealed not really, its more about the internal and external changes we make over time. I remember a few months ago I was stuck in this place of trying to remember every horrible thing that happened to me in an attempt to figure out why i felt so damaged, because I blocked so many things out, its like i needed to know everything so i could justify not wanting to be around my mother, but i have moved past that stage now, although there is still a part of me that tries to trivialise it sometimes 'it wasn't that bad' 'it wasnt all the time' etc but i know now, that's not important, what matters is the effects its had on me, and that's what i need to work on.

Exactly there is enough worries in the present for sure.
Thank you so much for your kind words and support, this really means so much to me. And well done you, for how far you have come.. so very inspiring and gives me hope. <3

Last edited by sweet224; 08-09-2017 at 11:58 PM.

 
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Old 08-21-2017, 11:36 AM   #7
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Thumbs up Re: Struggling with change

Dear sweet,

In a nutshell why you feel so damaged is that you were damaged.
However, equally when those feelings come up you can choose to think on why you feel OK is because you can be thankful that it was not your fault.

Changing perspective and what we dwell on is what changes how we feel.
It is a process that takes time.

You're perfectly normal.
And, you're doing great!
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~ Ya Ya ~

 
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