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Realising too many damn things...(18 Posts)
Hello. Just looking to vent really I think.
I left my EA husband of 8 years 10 months ago. It took me some time to really accept who he was/is, that he won't ever change. Truth is he never was the person I thought he was which is quite a shit revelation but would be much more manageable if it was the only thing to realise.
This is the first time I have been properly single for more than a few months so I've also had some time to reflect on my life in general. I always knew that my family weren't great, but I never appreciated just how toxic and shitty they were, most specifically because the way they treated me has had a massive influence on how I have lived my life and who I've chosen to be in my life. I have spent all my life thinking I deserve very little, and always trying to please people into liking me and wanting to spend time with me, desperate for some positive input that was lacking from childhood.
This means that actually all my relationships have been unhealthy and with pretty messed up people. I have always tried to be the 'good friend', probably too hard, but my 'friends' have been inconsistent, sometimes supportive, sometimes completely shit. Also the people I have chosen to be around are in emotionally abusive relationships, either they are the victim or they are mutually abusive with their partner so not really helpful to be around when I want to live my life a different way.
I realise that all the relationships I have had are basically similar to the relationship I had with my parents. But I also think I have chosen friends/partners with problems because its given me a distraction from dealing with my own crap??
My own crap is that although I can portray someone who is 'OK' and even 'confident', inside I feel pretty shitty about myself and I've been looking to people to validate me, as I am unable to give myself that. I read that the way your parents treat you growing up is the way you will tend to treat yourself. So. not. good. And the inner critic is a bullying twat especially when I feel sad (unsurprisingly parents found sadness disgusting).
I feel very lonely. I do socialise occasionally with 'friends' but given that a) they are generally not positive to be around and b) my perspective is changing, they are not a 'support network'. I have limited contact with family, I have gone past expecting / hoping that they will provide any positive support for me. Meeting new people is not easy, most people my age have established social circles, plus I'm not especially trusting of myself or others.
I am seeing a counsellor once a week and I do things to take care of myself as best as I can, e.g. regular exercise, eating well. I feel very sad though. Also disappointed that I have lived my life in denial, told myself so many times that things were 'fine', even told myself I was being pessimistic/unappreciative to think otherwise. Sitting with the reality is pretty tough and quite lonely.
Anyway its helped to get things off my chest.
..and if anyone can reassure me that there is light at the end of the tunnel then that would help too
There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. I was in the middle of a mess around forty years ago. Very alone in a strange City and very lonely and sad.
I wasn't even as aware as you are and there was no Mums Net. I was in a controlling relationship with a man who was determined to reduce me to shreds.
Almost in an instance my life changed when I was forced to dump the Toad and I met my DH.
I now have a great deal to be thankful for and although I never have enough friends ( self esteem issues) I have a very full and generally happy life.
The very sad person that I was, has long gone.
I wish that I had been more philosophical and realised that the mess I was in would not last, but I was young and to be honest I wallowed in my misery instead of getting on with trying to change things.
You are doing all the right things. You could also volunteer, go on a Mindfullness course ( free through your GP) etc. You are already exercising and swimming is especially beneficial. ' Walking women ' does holidays for singles and Spice is an organisation where you can meet people. You could volunteer for ' Homestart' as well and befriend a family. Samaritans always need people. I couldn't be a Samaritan as I would get too depressed but my friend who does it has met loads of people who volunteer with her and she socialises with them.
I do feel for you as I have been there. xx
I'm not sure there is light at the end of the tunnel, coz I feel nearly exactly the same as you. In fact, I probably would have written your post word for word (though my friends aren't all screwed up, but have been in their past).
I'm stuck and think I'm having a breakdown or depressed. I just know I'll need to call in the professionals soon.
But I also know that feeling like I am now is temporary, though how long 'temporary' is is hard to define in my head right now.
Awaiting stories of hope.....
I could have written your post too. I'm sure there is light at the end of the tunnel but I'm still looking for it. My response has been to become very self sufficient. I don't know how to make genuine friends, I just never learned. Even though I so wanted validation and to be accepted and liked. I have been hurt badly by "friends" that I have "rescued" in the past. So I avoid people now where possible but I would like it to be different.
There is a quote I try to think of each day that gives me a kick "it's not how short life is that is the problem but how long it takes to begin to live it" can't remember who it is by. But I have let far too much time go by waiting to feel better. I have realised very late that i want to change my life for the better but I don't know how because I don't know what better looks like. So that is my goal.
As pp said you are very self aware and have set out on the right track already. I wish you luck and if you do find the secret let us know. You are not alone on this particular journey.
thanks holeinmyheart xx some good ideas there although i also have young dc so not easy to socialise/volunteer. there's no gingerbread group where i am, i did consider trying to set one up but don't feel i have the energy at the moment, plus don't want to face disappointment if its doesn't work out.
its good to hear you are happy now, is that mainly down to meeting DH?
and stopstalkingme, i'm really sorry to hear you feel so low, if you can find something to distract yourself it may help xx
thanks gibbsismine for sharing. are you having counselling at all? I know what you mean about not knowing how to make healthy friends. As i havent had any positive role models i have no idea and dont know how i am supposed to learn?? Its like learning a foreign language out of a book but never hearing it being spoken or having the opportunity to practice with anyone if that makes sense? i kinda understand why i was in denial so long!!
It makes complete sense.
I'm not having counselling at the moment as I'm having an issue with anxiety, I have started ADs so hopefully will be able to trust myself to turn up to sessions soon.
I'm concerned that 6 counselling sessions could be a very bad idea tho. I have all this mess from my toxic childhood but also all the resulting self destruction and bad judgement calls to work through. I feel I may open more wounds than I heal and be left with even more to deal with on my own. I guess that as I'm finding that it will all eventually find a way to surface anyway, I just need to bite the bullet and go for it.
Gosh I sound very needy and broken, that's how I feel but if you were aware of me in RL you would have no idea. I'm still managing to not let the mask slip.
Do you feel counselling is helping you?
yes gibbs I think for me the counselling is definitely helping although wish it was more than 1 hour a week.
I have read a lot of self help books too, some of it is useful, the parts which annoy me is where it says (in every book) 'talk to / spend time with trusted family or close friends'. Well yeah that would be great if I had any of those, but I haven't!
Yes 6 sessions are not going to be enough, to be honest I'm not sure for how many people 6 sessions are enough for. I had 6 sessions free too via my GP, I realised that I would need longer term counselling to address it all. I do believe that unless I address things then like you say the destruction will follow me around. At the moment though I feel like my choice is either to have unhealthy relationships or just be alone; its not a great choice.
I too am also getting better at being self-sufficient, I guess its a case of having to be! And yes, if you saw me in RL, you would have no idea either. It's a skill that many develop in crappy childhoods like ours.
Its nice to know that someone gets it though! x
I think there's something to be said about faking it until you make it.
The body responds so strongly to emotion, and our emotions are very strongly affected by what we hear.
So tell yourself every day, out loud, that you are special, that you deserve happiness, that you deserve to be cared for.
Also think about some positives about yourself, and big them up to yourself. By the sounds of it, you're a survivor, you have an inner strength, you are a good, loyal, friend to those who deserve one. What other things are you good at? Any hobbies? Because they take skill and patience, too. Which are more positives about you.
You need to hear the positives, daily. Even if at the moment they only come from yourself. Because over time the belief in yourself will become a part of you, you will truly believe it, and then others will see those positives in you as well, and will reinforce that belief because they too will see it, know it, and believe it.
Thanks YackityYack you are right and I am trying positive self talk. I feel really stupid saying stuff out loud, I do try saying stuff in my head, probably not as effective though. Also my inner critic is so flipping insidious, sometimes I wont notice for aged that I'm heaping crap on myself.
I'm thinking of writing the positive stuff on my notice board in spare room and making a point of reading it every day (silently at least, if I don't manage out loud!). In fact I'm writing it now
Actually, I think you're doing marvellously. The expression "it gets worse before it gets better" is absolutely bang on here. This process of self-realisation is a necessary part of your recovery and is a good thing provided you find positive ways to quiet that negative inner voice.
AS you've already said in your post, some people never get as far as you've done already because it's easier to accept the status quo and find coping strategies than it is to change your life. Don't give in to that negative voice telling you that you can't do this because of the DC or that you can't do that because it probably won't work out. To reap rewards you have to take risks (albeit calculated ones, not reckless ones).
There IS light at the end of the tunnel. I have completely changed my life. It is unrecognisable to what it was a decade ago. I won't say it was easy because it wasn't. I sacrificed a lot in terms of quality of life and for a long time I was operating so far out of my comfort zone I felt anxious and like a complete fraud almost permanently ('fake it til you make it' and all that). I was a single parent with no family support network and a very average job with a low income, so retraining and developing new social networks and making new friends took a long time.
I'd say I'm still a work in progress and still only starting down the road towards reaching my full potential, but I'm now in a professional role with some wonderful new friends who are friends because we simply enjoy each other rather than because we speak to some deep-seated need in the other. And quite unexpectedly after years of being single, I met a wonderful man who 2.5 years down the line has yet to disappoint me in any way whatsoever (and no I haven't put him on a pedestal, he's just a thoroughly decent chap).
Keep going. You're in the hardest part but the rewards will come if you persevere.
To answer your question Everything my emerging from the dreadful tunnel of depression was not entirely due to meeting my DH. It was also having lots of DCs and being very busy and getting older.
I also accidentally went on a counselling course. I though I would learn to be a counsellor. What happened was I had counselling on the course and realised my parents had been useless. Not only useless but vile and destructive. That realisation was amazing because all along I had thought it was me. I thought I was worthless and didn't deserve nice things to happen to me etc etc. When in fact my parents had had no capacity to love anyone.
I never became a counsellor . I had too many issues anyway.
Gradually, I stopped being a needy people pleaser and became more confident that I could be liked for being me.
I wouldn't say I have got lots of friends but I have a couple of good friends who I can talk too about everything.
I didn't realise that you had a child otherwise I would have suggested different things that you could do. I started a book club as I love reading. They could all come to your house. You could think about what you like doing and start your own club, such as patchwork or knitting or sewing.
When I had small kids I advertised in the PO for mums who would like to run. We put the kids in the middle of a field in their buggies with their toys and we began by running around the edge. Admittedly one of us took turns to run into the centre to see to the kids. Afterwards we went for tea in each other's houses.
We ended up running a mini marathon.
You could advertise for mums to swap toys. Every month you swop a box full of toys. ( paint yours with nail varnish to identify them) kids get bored so easily with the same old toys. Even if only one or two mums respond, they may become lifelong friends. It will not be a failure if one person turns up !
Just don't expect too much from them or be too needy and something nice will come. You only need one good friend anyway.
I really feel for you and if you feel nice and warm it is because I am sending out waves of positive kind thoughts to you! Xxx
Some lovely stories here....actually they are lovely heartwarming stories. I think none of us emerge from our childhood without some issues even if we had good parents and a good childhood like I did.
I did a counselling course and yes you do shine a light on yourself. In fact I did several counselling courses over many years and did become a counsellor for two charities. I also became a re- evaluation counsellor/ teacher as well. Over the years I feel I have turned myself inside out but I'm very comfortable in my skin.
They are very good ways to get to know yourself thoroughly, to come out liking yourself and to feel that steel backbone growing inside of you.
I even when my marriage went pear shaped took up physical challenges, skiing in a foreign country when I'd never even skied before, abseiling, sailing, canoeing, hiking...any of these kind of outdoor pursuits are great to test survival skills. It also meant that I wasn't sat about moping either.
I love the idea of the toy swap. The mums getting together while children play. My daughter home eds and she's made some lovely friends from pretty much doing what you suggested hole.
You can change things around. You can heal the past. You only need to step up to the plate and make a start by saying three nice things about yourself every day as you get up. I am a trained hypnotherapist. Watch what you negatively tell your body. Make sure you tell it positive things. I found myself saying I think I'm getting a cold. I changed that to my body is getting rid of a cold.
Keep a journal. Write something every morning or evening about yourself. It's very therapeutic to get those jumbled thoughts from your head onto paper. I had to do this on a course and it was astonishing where my thoughts went even on days when I thought I had nothing much to write about once I started it all came streaming out.
I believe in the laws of attraction. I kept putting it out there that I wanted to meet a nice loving man. I wrote a list one new years eve of all the qualities I wanted in a my new man ( there were 31 of them )and I got the one I wanted. I had to wait for him and while I waited I LIVED. My friend had done this after a failed marriage and some bad relationships and got her man. One of the qualities was you'll laugh at this, he had to play scrabble. Well he didn't, but he learnt and they been happily married for about 15 years now.
Must go now my lovely man has made my breakfast on thisgorgeous day!
have you thought about codependents anonymous? if you're fortunate enough to have one where you live these can be very helpful
in establishing boundaries and self respect and learn how to develop healthy relationships.
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