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Feeling terrible after meeting with family

(6 Posts)
commentappele Tue 04-Aug-15 10:25:15

Hi, thanks in advance for reading. I'm currently unemployed (left an interim role I hated following graduation) and working freelance while I interview for other roles. Have no trouble getting interviews for the type of roles I'm looking for and have got to third interview stage for several roles but still no offer. Have been going it alone since beginning of the year and it is now starting to take its toll. Only realised this fully about a week ago after meeting with family because a sibling was visiting the UK and staying with extended family. Had a mentally abusive childhood and felt very stigmatised by wider family during this time. Wider family have at times been a very negative presence in my life and I've generally avoided them over the last ten years whilst I've (at times with difficulty) built my own life and positive self identity. Last few months due to my financial situation have been back at home and kept myself to myself while I work to get back into a place of strength both mentally and financially, following several interviews which ultimately did not result in an offer. Wanted to avoid meeting this older sibling in home town and had hoped to organise something on neutral territory in a different city (have lived all over and often stay with friends round the country). Ended up meeting in hometown and somehow found myself also meeting with other family members who I generally stay away from. Sounds very trivial but the whole thing was quite traumatic. Family were friendly but round them and this older sibling (who has also been, in their way, quite bullying and intimidating in past) I felt blank. I could not be my usual self - chatty, friendly and confident. It felt like a car crash, I felt completely humiliated and all these old feelings of worthlessness, incompetency and inadequacy returned. The effect has shocked and scared me. Since then I've felt horrified, sick, blank, like I'm not a real person. I got home and looked at myself in the mirror and felt myself to be reprehensible. It's like all my positive beliefs about myself just vanished and real hard cold life returned. Have felt suicidal since, although bit more like myself since staying with a friend and admitting I was feeling a bit down. Sorry for essay, think I just needed to let this out somehow! Can't tell anyone as I think it sounds mad.

notquitegrownup2 Tue 04-Aug-15 10:40:02

You don't sound mad, at all, to me. You knew that meeting in your home town, was a bad idea - your gut instinct was right. You then unfortunately had to override it and things spiralled out of your control. It's an awful feeling, losing control over your decisions, and is no doubt triggering for you too, taking you back to times when you felt intimidated, bullied, much more out of control.

However, you are not that person anymore. You have achieved your degree, and you are doing well in the interview stakes. Your usual self is chatty, friendly and confident, and you have friends around the country. On paper it looks really good - you just need to rediscover your confidence, and your ability to control life, to look after yourself, for yourself.

Your sibling/extended family have taken you back in one day, to a place where you had little control over things. Start again to build up your confidence in yourself to achieve things: do you run? Set yourself an achievable target and work towards it steadily. Do you read? Set yourself a target to read a certain number of books, or a certain type of book, and get stuck in to achieving your target. Could you sign up for an evening class, and do some preparatory work for September, so that you are working towards that. Or book up a trip to visit friends, friends who really like you for who you are, and who will enjoy being with you for a few days.

Best of luck

commentappele Tue 04-Aug-15 10:46:59

Thank you so much xxx I really appreciate your kind and thoughtful words. Thank you, really xxx

notquitegrownup2 Tue 04-Aug-15 11:32:20

No problem. Hope that you feel more positive soon. It seems unfair that you can lose confidence in one day but that it takes longer to build back up, but you will get there. One step at a time.

Good luck with the job hunting.

NotAJammyDodger Tue 04-Aug-15 21:55:06

Given what you have said, it sounds like meeting up was triggering for you. My therapist uses the analogy that it's like being an elastic band, suddenly it recoils, takes you right back to that place where you don't want to be, with all those horrible feelings, you feel helpless and like you have achieved nothing. But that was then not now. Your now self is chatty and confident.

I don't think you are reprehensible. Your positive beliefs haven't vanished they have just be pushed to one side by a very traumatic triggering event.

Hunting for a job is tough and so very draining. You put your all into each interview and are hopeful. I know how demoralising this can be. Be kind to yourself, you will get there in the end. Do try to see your friends and chat, it will help put things in perspective and it's always good to get things off your chest. The previous poster has some good suggestions too.

commentappele Wed 05-Aug-15 00:14:43

Thank you for responding. I had heard the term 'trigger' before but hadn't had this type of experience. I really thought I'd moved on and was emotionally safe and robust. It has made me realise that those feelings are still there and I hadn't realised. I think I now have to deal with them at some point but I don't think now is the time to explore it all. I feel I could fall down a rabbit hole. Just need to pull myself up and get interview head back on. Your suggestions and advice are really helpful, thank you so much xxx

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