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Rope Ends Here ------>X
May 5, 2001
1:17 am
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Sharon39
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Hi to all!

Yes, "Damaged" and I did have a very wonderful day together, full of fun, intimacy, and meaningful conversation. I know that not every day can be this good, and I know in the long run that's a good thing, because having a few bad days now and again helps me to appreciate the good days!

Distracted, I hope you and your partner are continuing to have lots of times full of fun and loving, caring support for one another. It makes the hard times so worth it!!!

Sharon

May 5, 2001
10:16 am
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distracted
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CONGRATULATIONS DAMAGED!!!!!!!!!!!!
(((((damaged)))))

Sounds like you guys had a great day! I know how hard it is to get that first day of not drinking down. I found that each day that I stayed sober made me feel like I was finally doing something I could be proud of - and I tried to use that to keep going in that direction - I had very little in my life that I felt like I had done right and that helped motivate keeping that streak going. I hope you can keep going in the same direction as well Damaged - but don't give up if things don't go as planned. Just try to deal with everything one day at a time - and don't forget to keep Sharon involved - it's really easy to close everyone else off. I think talking and sharing and even crying together can only strengthen your relationship. And makes it easier to get through the hard times.

I know the feeling stuff is hard - I'm trying to believe it's a good thing. I guess it's just so different than I'm used to - and so intense sometimes. I can understand needing to release that pressure though. It all just gets so jumbled up - and most of the time I can't tell what I'm feeling or what is causing it either. Same for my partner sometimes with her stuff. I guess that's just how it works until we get used to identifying what is really going on - apparently we haven't done that in the past and have to learn to do it now...I think... Anyway, Sharon - sounds like you are really doing a lot to help Damaged out - sometimes I think all a person needs is someone to hold them and tell them that everything is going to be ok. I know that's hard when you don't know what's going on exactly. But I think you are right - I think it's the beginning of the whole process of coming alive and being alive. Unfortunately - there's a lot of bad stuff that has to be sorted through along the way. Hang in there guys! and congratulations again to damaged!

Mal -
I'm working on that reparenting thing...but there are huge trust issues right now. Dealing with this whole inner child thing leaves me feeling crazy sometimes though! I am having a hard time understanding why this sort of thing isn't part of a multiple personality thing. Maybe these feelings are part of the trust problem I'm having in working with my inner child...??
Thanks for your posts!

talk to you guys later!

May 5, 2001
12:20 pm
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malaikau
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Dear Distracted,

You have lots of very interesting things to say! Are you feeling like you might have multiple personalities? Are you finding that your inner child has a hard time trusting you to provide the nurturing she needs?

I know some of this might feel pretty scary. But we all have "multiple personalities" in a lot of ways. For example, when you answer the phone, your partner can probably tell if it's one of your family members, a friend, or a sales person based solely on your tone of voice. This is because we all have different personas we present to different people or groups of people in our lives. This is very different from a mulitple personality disorder in that we are usually aware we are doing this when we take the time to think about it.

When someone has a multiple personality disorder, (s)he will have missing blocks of time. For example, the person might suddenly realize they are in the grocery store and have no idea how they got there, or may realize it's now 5pm and the last time they remember checking it was 7am and they have no idea what they did during those missing hours. A person with multiple personalities can integrate all of the personalities into one persona with lots of therapy and work. I hope this helps you understand the difference.

Keep on staying in touch with us!!!

Your friend,

Mal

May 5, 2001
9:49 pm
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distracted
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Hi Mal!

I don't think I have multiple personalities - this stuff is just hard to understand - the lines and such. I don't have any missing blocks of time (at least not since I quit drinking! =0). I do sometimes wish I did though so I could get away from myself! Right now I'm just trying to not feel crazy when I need to work with my inner child. You hit it right on the nose - my inner child is having a REALLY hard time trusting me. I know I have a lot of work to do - I've only just begun to see how critical my parents were and how much that affected me. So I've got some reparenting to do I guess. On the other hand, I'm very in touch with the playful side...which I always thought was immaturity in the past. Who woulda thought it was a good thing!?! I've got a long way to go though - I'm too easily overwhelmed by the rush of stuff. If only it wasn't such a destructive feeling. I've been doing some workbook type of book Recovering Your Inner Child - or something like that...but I have kinda gotten stuck at the vulnerable child, and am really hoping that I've learned enough in the last couple of years to be able to take care of myself when dealing with the angry child. I guess I'll find out.

Hope you are having a nice weekend!

distracted

damaged and sharon - hope you guys are doing ok!

May 5, 2001
10:43 pm
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damaged
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Thank you distracted
All that stuff you are saying about the inner child. Maybe thats what Iv'e been going through, not really for sure. distracted do you mind talking more about the inner child trusting you? Im not really for sure what you mean by that. You talk about the playful side could you give me an example, all this sounds like what maybe I might be going through.
distracted I also hope you have a nice weekend. Thanks for sharing.

May 7, 2001
11:25 am
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distracted
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Hiya Damaged -

I don't fully understand this inner child thing. My therapist says I need to reparent this part of me and tries to walk me through visualization types of things and non-dominant hand writing. The non-dominant hand thing is just weird - I am amazed at what I write sometimes, it really seems like there is someone else in there. That's where I have the confusion on how this is different than multiple personality disorders... Anyway, in this writing I've found out that my inner child is pissed off, very intelligent, independent, very guarded, and doesn't trust ANYONE - me included. Her favorite thing to do it to tell me that she doesn't need me and to leave her alone. My therapist calls her spunky - I'm pretty sure that's not how my mom would describe her! It's quite amusing sometimes. Lately though, she's been more receptive of me and even in one visualization thing, I could see her sitting in my lap. She wasn't comfortable with it exactly - and I could totally understand that - she looked exactly how I feel when someone gets in my personal space or touches me. But before she had stayed a good distance away from me - so I think that was good. I'm supposed to do the writing a lot and keep letting her know that I'm not going any where and I'm not going to let anything bad happen to her again. Sometimes it seems absurd - especially when I try to talk about it. My partner is much more concrete and factual than I am - she's the left brain person of the relationship and I'm the right brain person. Sometimes I can see all this and it all makes sense - but when I try to explain it to her, I start to second guess it and realize how silly it all sounds. It's been very interesting watching her start to deal with her inner child! Now the playful side, that's a different story! My therapist says that the sense of wonder and awe and ability to play are all due to this inner child - and if that's the case, my inner child is alive and well! It takes very little to amuse me and I can have as much fun going to a toy store as any 8 year old. As I walk through a store I touch everything - my partner teases me about it sometimes - but I think she secretly likes it. =o) She has commented on this side on me numersous times throughout our relationship and really likes this playful side. She just recently commented that it has helped her get back in touch with these things in her - the ability to look at anything and be utterly amazed, the need to know why and how, the ability to "un-complicate" things by seeing things in their simplicity as opposed to the complexity adults tend to build around everything...the ability to talk to kids on their level, to enjoy a water balloon fight with the neighborhood kids...etc... I used to think these were all bad things and meant that I was immature. Hoped they would all go away so I would know I was an adult. Now I can see how much more I get out of life sometimes due to these things - and how lucky I am that I didn't kill it off. I think most people ignore this side of themselves in the quest to be "RESPONSIBLE ADULTS" - and I think the world would be much better if we all didn't smother this little part. Just my opinion. Could be that I'm just trying to make myself feel better that I am so immature?!?
Other times though, I just feel small. I feel overwhelmed and out of control and helpless to change things. This is the hard part. I have to learn how to let the adult part of me take control of these situations and take care of the little part inside of me. I think. I don't know...this is all so confusing...
gotta go - hope you guys are doing ok!

distracted

May 8, 2001
3:27 am
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damaged
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HELLO Distracted
You have said alot to me here tonight. I really want to get to know more and understand this inner child thing. When I was drunk I had a different personality one that liked to play be mean and even hurt me. I couln't put anything past what she might do. Now that I have alittle time sober I can't tell if she is still hanging around...I think to a degree she must still be there somewhere because I feel If I go into another black out she is really going to [email protected] me up somehow. I get scared sometimes about the thought of it. Maybe the cutting is the inner pissed off child...today was a bad day for me and I put alot of thought into cutting. I ask my self why would you want to do that when your already so ashamed of the scares you already have. My answers to myself...you won't have to feel the pain in your heart because you will be thinking about the stupied dumm ass thing you just have done or maybe my punishment for not just having my [email protected] together,
or maybe it's my way of building up to something bigger. Who knows...anyway I did't cut I had the right person at the right time. I feel like I am doing some hard work in finding out whats made me so unhappy all my life. Distracted I feel we have alot of the same stuff going on here. I also feel your down the road alittle futher than I am at this point (much futher)and I would like to get to know more. I
I would like to hear more about the lleft brain right brain thing more. I have been told that Im a left brain person. Anyway Thanks for you reply.
Hope all is going ok for you and your partner. damaged

May 9, 2001
3:35 pm
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Sharon39
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Distracted,

It just amazes me to see the similarities between you & your partner and me & damaged. Even down to the left brain/right brain stuff. You were right when you said it was "eerie". Me and my partner have been together for nearly four years. We have been close friends for about 15 years, though. I was interested to know how long you and your partner have been together. Is your partner going to counseling also? I was wondering if she also is sober, and what is happening with regard to her cutting. I know these are lots of personal questions, don't feel like you have to answer if you don't feel comfortable. Damaged and I are continuing to talk to and support one another. Even though this part of our relationship is so hard, it also feels much more intimate and rewarding. I am enjoying my time with her like I never have before. I hope you and your partner are doing well. Hope to hear from you soon.

Sharon

May 9, 2001
4:09 pm
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malaikau
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Dear Distracted,

I am enjoying reading your posts and appreciate your willingness to share with other people who can benefit from your experiences, myself included. It seems as if a lot of the things you have to say are very helpful to others!

I can understand what it's like at times to want to get away from yourself. It's hard to see ourselves in a negative light, or to accept those things about ourselves that others sometimes see as negative. A few months ago, when I was having a similar experience, I decided I wanted to feel more love and acceptance for myself so I took a piece of construction paper and used colored pens to write down all the different "positive" traits I have. As I began this process I began to think, "Why do I have to only write down the so-called positive things? Why can't I write down EVERYTHING?" I decided to write down every trait I possessed because I wanted to be a whole person, not half a person. The fact is that we all a variety of personality traits. Some we see as good, and some we see as bad, but really they are all good! For example, there's nothing wrong with being selfish if we are using our selfishness to heal and take care of ourselves. However, selfish might not be so good if we steal from others so we can have what we want. A trait becomes defined as good or bad based on our actions around it. Does that make sense?

You were talking about having some destructive feelings attached to some of you inner child work. It seems to me like you have a good understanding for how your inner child is feeling. She is very angry, and probably has the desire to express this anger in a negative manner. Being angry is not a negative trait, but lashing out at others with the intent to do harm is not constructive. You can talk to your inner child and validate her anger. Then give her some positive outlets for it. She can draw angry pictures, write angry poetry or stories, she might want to split some wood with a wedge and sledge hammer, she might want to lay on the floor and kick and scream and yell about her anger. These are okay. But it is not okay for her to lash out at you and try to hurt you because she feels that she was not protected or cared for appropriately in the past.

(The same goes for your inner child, "Damaged"!!!)

I think it demonstrates an unbelievable amount of self-awareness on your part that you are able to foresee potential problems in dealing with your vulnerable child. If your inner child has issues with trust, she will not want to feel vulnerable in her relationship with you. It takes time to earn trust. You are on the right track by trying to just hang in there and be patient!

With regard to how this differs from multiple personality disorder, most people who have multiple personality disorder are not consciously aware that there are other personalities living inside their psyche. This is why they will experience missing time, because when an alternative personality takes over, they are not aware of what this personality does, or where it goes, etc.

It sounds to me like you are doing a wonderful job of learning to integrate the personality of your inner child with the personality of your adult self. Pretty soon you will begin to see yourself as being more whole and content. I love hearing about the things you love to do that relate to your inner child! You are right to continue to do these things and view them in a positive light. It doesn't mean you're immature! On the contrary! An immature person is one who lacks the self confidence to live in that sense of awe, wonder, freedom, and fun!!!

Thanks again for all your sharing. It has truly been a blessing to me!

Sincerely,

Mal

May 10, 2001
10:07 am
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distracted
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Hiya Damaged and Sharon -

How are you guys doing today? Congratulations on getting through the day on Tues(?) without cutting. I don't really know why you cut but I know one of the reasons my partner cuts to release the pressure. From my own experiences, I think there is also a sense of relief? not really the right word - but of being able to feel something - to see it and know what it is and feel it - when you feel so little at some times. And then all the sudden you are hit with all this crap from the past - and it doesn't seem to fit in...and it's easier to take the physical pain than it is the emotional pain. I've never cut, but I have done other things that may be considered along the same lines - definitely weren't healthy - and all done to try to release some of the stuff in my head that I didn't know how to handle - or how to deal with feeling it...I don't know if that makes sense...I still have a lot of destructive tendencies - and am sometimes freaked out by what seems to be a very violent side of me. Never directed at other people - always me and my stuff. But, I'm trying to learn new "coping skills" as my therapist calls them. So is my partner. One of the problems she has is, after cutting, the shame, fear, anger, confusion of doing it...feeling like she's crazy. Something that we were working on for her was leaving notes in different places. Stuff like call therapist, reminders that I love her and really care about her, play with the puppy, she's a good person, take care of yourself...you get the picture. I thought maybe if she could capture a bit of the anguish after she's cut that maybe that will help her not to cut...? She even made one that said "Please don't cut" and "you don't deserve this!". We put these on the mirrors and on the insides of the cabinet doors in the bathroom. I don't know if this was the "right" thing to do - we're just trying to find something that works. As for me, I'm not really any further along than you or her - I'm not sure you can really compare that sort of thing. Just be proud of yourself for doing what you have done so far - and the fact that you are still working at it. Now, if I could only apply this stuff to me... =o)

Sharon -
Was good to hear from you! I'll try to answer your questions - without making this too much longer! My partner and I have been together for a little over 8 years. We only knew each other for a month or two before we got together - but it was a very intense month. We were both trying to quit drinking and so we spent a LOT of time together - it was amazing how well we fit. We spent hours talking and hanging out. So, we knew each other pretty well when things went to the next level. Both of us have been sober now for 8 years. And we've been through a lot together over the last 8 years. We were having some problems a year ago and decided we should see a couples counselor. I think it was fate though - we started seeing this person but we ended up pretty much taking care of things ourselves - but it was this therapist that has become my partner's therapist - and she LOVES her. Anyway, after seeing us for a couple of times, this therapist commented on how strong our love must be to have gotten through so much together. Said she could think of very few couples who would have made it after all that stuff...kinda made us see our relationship in a different light. And we could see how each thing we went through made us stronger and more intimate. I guess what I'm trying to say, it wasn't easy - but it was worth it. If you can get through this stuff you will feel like you can handle anything. Something else we realized just recently, almost ALL of our problems in our relationship have been caused by our individual issues. It's really easy to shift the focus to the other person and what they are or aren't doing in order to keep from having to deal with your own crap. I'm rambling again...
I'm glad you guys are continuing to talk to each other - as hard as it is - it really does help. I hope you are both having a good week.

distracted

May 10, 2001
6:56 pm
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distracted
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Hiya Mal!

This sharing thing is new to me - this board has seen more out of me than most of my friends! I know this is something I need to work on...I just have a really hard time talking to people, trying to learn to trust more. I feel closer to some of you here than I do to most of my friends! What does that say about me?

Anyway, I look forward to your posts - you have some good insight and seem to have done a lot of work of your own. I like your idea about writing stuff down. My problem has been that I can only see the negative though. I am starting to see this a little better - but I still have a hard time accepting the positive - and I don't know why. For 8 years my partner has tried to help me feel better about myself, but I just wasn't able to see it...I'm getting a little better at this, but it's a slow process. One of those things that I can see and want to be different - but every time I hear someone say something nice about me my insides just crawl...eh that doesn't really make sense...can't explain it. I may try the colored pens/paper thing you were talking about. See if I really have made any progress!

As for my inner child, she is pretty pissed off and I don't know how to control that. I am trying to learn different outlets - but none of them seem to have the same relief? satisfaction? results? something... I just wish it wasn't such a destructive feeling - lots of negative energy...

ack - gotta go - i'll have to finish later - thanks for all the VERY kind words...

distracted

May 10, 2001
9:56 pm
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malaikau
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Hey Distracted,

What a nice compliment to hear that you look forward to my posts! Thank you very much for saying so, and for continuing to share. I know I keep saying that, but it is very important. Everyone has the opportunity to learn from one person's experience!

If you are having a hard time accepting the positive things about yourself, discuss it with your partner and therapist. Ask them to describe some of your positive traits for you. Then just accept what their input as fact, and make it part of your writings. Your therapist will probably have other good ideas for ways you can provide yourself with some good positive re-enforcement.

I understand you urge to gain control of your inner child's anger. I imagine she has a good understanding of this as well because I would guess that as a little girl growing up it was very unacceptable for you to be angry. As a result, there is a lot pent up within your inner child, and she is probably sick and tired of others trying to control this for her.
This is why I suggest allowing her to express her anger in a variety of ways. If she is finding little or no satisfaction in these non-destructive ways of expression, validate her anger, but explain to her that she will have to express her anger appropriately. You are the adult. Your inner child will take great comfort in the limits you set for her as long as you continue to validate her feelings. These boundaries will help her to trust you further as well.

I don't feel it's unusual for you to be able to open up more here than elsewhere. Here, you almost have nothing to lose, whereas with your friends, you may feel afraid of how they will perceive you once they know all your secrets. That's why I think this is such a wonderful place for people to come and talk about their lives and struggles. It's very safe in here. I wonder how your inner child would feel about an opportunity to post a thread about her anger here. . . ?

Thanks again for sharing, and for the kindness of your compliment. I will continue to look forward to your posts as well.

Your friend,

Mal

May 18, 2001
12:42 pm
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May 22, 2001
12:52 am
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distracted just wanted to hear if you are doing ok? I myself ,I am hanging in here. Sharon and I are getting along pretty good. I hope you and your friend are doing as well. Hope to hear from you.

May 22, 2001
11:53 am
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distracted
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Hi Damaged, Sharon, Mal...

I'm having a hard time lately. Had to go out of town last week for work - so had a couple of semi-rough nights. Mal, after reading your post (and having lots of time alone to reflect), I have made some discoveries about a few things. First of all, you hit the nail on the head with the anger thing...it was VERY unacceptable to be angry when I was a kid. According to my therapist, that meant that I bottled it up - and that's why it's so strong now. I still don't understand why it's so destructive. On one of the nights after I got back to my hotel room, I tried to do more of the non-dominant hand writing stuff. I am intrigued by that whole thing - the fact that I am not totally aware of what my non-dom hand is going to write... Anyway, and this could have been my imagination - or just out of tiredness - but I could almost feel two different sets of things...? There was a very definite anger thing going on, with a lot of self-destructive urges - and it all seemed to come from the small part... ugh this doesn't make any sense at all... I guess what I got out of that is that generally the anger and negative energy and desire to do outrageous things is coming from that small part. Bottom line, I have a very pissed off, destructive 6 year old inside of me? I was aware on some level that this is where it was all coming from - but never really felt it like I have recently. It's this part too that closes off and isolates as this stuff gets worse.

I guess that's been my problem for the last week. All this stuff comes up - the feelings and the flashbacks and feeling small - and I don't want to have anything to do with anyone. Not even my partner. I get irritable with her (and everyone else), my personal space gets a LOT wider, I am much more sensitive... I feel like I have a hole inside of me. Like I'll never be whole again. Or was I ever? I don't ever remember feeling whole - like I said, I think I was depressed even as a child - but is that possible? for a child to be depressed? Sometimes if feels like that hole is going to keep expanding and swallow me. To top if off, I'm a bit hormonal this week... =o) I'm an explosion waiting to happen I suppose!
thanks for listening

distracted

May 23, 2001
1:18 am
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malaikau
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Dear Distracted,

I'm so happy to hear from you and know that you are doing well and continuing to work hard. I know you might not feel like you're doing well, but you are! Working hard and doing well sometimes means that you will feel pretty crappy! But that's okay. We all go through times like that. Just allow yourself to feel what you feel in the moment, and continue to validate your own feelings like you have been.

I'm a bit curious about what would happen if you looked at your anger separately from your feelings of "distructiveness". Give it a try, and talk to me about that experience if you are comfortable, or, of course, you might discuss it with your therapist. I think doing this might shed some light on what's happening for you.

It's okay to expand your personal space if that's what you feel you need at this time. You are in the middle of some sensitive issues. Sometimes we need more space just so we don't run into anyone we love and hurt them! Don't be afraid to explain this to your partner so she can feel comfortable that it's nothing personal. Hopefully, she will be understanding.

Keep in touch as long as you feel okay about doing so. I look forward to hearing from you!!!

Your friend,

Mal

May 23, 2001
3:20 pm
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hiya Mal

how are things going? I missed my therapy appointment today and am all out of sorts...I had been thinking all week that if I could just get to that I would be ok...now I have to wait another week. I feel like I'm drowning. I can't pin down what my problem is. I feel like I can't breathe. I don't understand all this - surely this isn't all from stuff that happened 25 years ago. I have always felt like I'm too damn sensitive maybe that's what my problem is...just need to toughen up a bit. I just want things to be different. Sometimes seems like they never will be... I am really trying to do the things my therapist tells me I need to do - but I seem to be stuck in this crap. She says I'll stay stuck until I can talk about all that stuff. I just can't seem to get it out. In the meantime, I get caught up in all this stuff that I've never felt before - never realized how much I didn't feel before this blew up inside of me. I try to get rid of the anger in acceptable ways but it is only a temporary solution at best. Part of the problem is that it (the anger) has no direction - I have no idea what I'm angry at. You suggested looking at the anger and the destructiveness separately - what do you mean exactly? And how do you do that? I am embarrassed sometimes at my inability to understand my own feelings. Most times I can't even label them. How pathetic is that? How does that add up with the fact that I've always been so fncking sensitive - even growing up? Those things seem to contradict themselves. bleah. Nothing is easy is it? Never knew growth was so painful.
thanks for listening

distracted

May 23, 2001
5:12 pm
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malaikau
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Dear Distracted,

There are lots of things I want to say to you about your situation, but it's hard. I don't want to be an interferance in your process with your therapist. Some therapists don't take kindly to this, and I don't want to add to your confusion. I do want to be a support and help to you if I can, though. I'm just mentioning this because I'm hoping you will bear it in mind, and be the one to pay attention to whether or not our conversations are causing you more problems in your face-to-face sessions--okay?

I'm going to try to make a picture for you, and hopefully it will help. Imagine what you are going through now is like a tree. The anger is the trunk of your tree. Your feelings of destructiveness are branches or leaves. Both are part of the same thing, but they are different--does that make sense? Another thing to consider is the root system of your tree. Your anger and destructive feelings are rooted in something. They're not issues in and of themselves, but rather they are symptoms of something deeper that is feeding the anger/destructiveness and keeping it growing. When you are able to reach the roots of your issues, then you can decide what you want to do with your tree. Remember, a tree is a beautiful living thing that serves a valuable purpose. You might decide that your tree is fine just the way it is. You might decide your tree needs to be pruned or transplanted, or you might decide it's time to chop down this tree and plant a new one. Until you have a good understanding of what kind of tree you have, take care of it. Feed and water it. Talk to it and love it. It's there for a reason!

Yes, it's highly possible that what you're experiencing now is from 25 years ago. If you were not allowed to feel as a child, then your time to feel is now. This might be why you are so overwhelmed with so many different feelings. Usually our parents are very accepting of the feelings children have that they view as "positive". Parent are usually quick to allow their children to feel happy, enthusiastic, motivated, content, peaceful, and to a degree, creative. Parents are not so thrilled when their children are angry, frustrated, sad, etc. In fact, usually parents just want to "fix" the problem--in other words, make those negative feelings go away. Lots of times, they don't care what happens to the feelings as long as they don't see them manifested. So, if a child goes through something traumatic, and the parent wants to "fix" the problem, and the child wants to please the parent, often times the child will stuff his/her feelings. This act of stuffing is like planting seeds--seeds that grow into trees in our adulthood.

What's happening to you is frightening but beautiful. If you haven't done so, check out a movie called "At First Sight" with Val Kilmer and Mira Sorvino. It's based on a true story about a man who was blind all his life and suddenly regains his sight. This is kind of what you're going through, except you've regained your ability to feel. That's why it feels so incredibly overwhelming. Just try to relax into your process. Spend a little time "in the cool shade of your tree". Just let it be. Take your time with identifying your feelings. Like the blind man who regains his sight and can't comprehend what the color green is, you will also have a hard time naming your feelings. It's to be expected, so be patient with yourself.

Something else you might do is discuss these things with your inner child. She's the one who had to bury her feelings. She might be a little more skilled at identifying them. This might also help you build trust with her. Just make sure that you reassure her that it's your job as the adult to deal with the feelings she identifies. You don't want to find yourself feeling like a little girl, left to cope all alone.

I hope this is some information that you find helpful. Please don't hesitate to reach out for what you need. And thank you for trusting me!

Your friend,

Mal

May 24, 2001
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Distracted,

I'm glad to see that you're still around. I looked for you to post, and got a little worried when it took some time. Lots of the things you say are so much like me and my partner it is truly "eerie". She even missed not one, but 2 therapy appointments since your last post! I hope you will keep sharing because the things you are talking about are helping us to understand so much about our own situation. Thanks so much for everything!

Sharon

May 24, 2001
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Hi

Mal - first - I have really appreciated the things you have posted. In a lot of ways you have backed up the things my therapist has said. The difference has been that I can come back here and read what you wrote again - I tend to not remember everything that we've talked about in a session. Not sure why - sometimes I just can't apply this stuff to myself, other times I am just in and out of being overwhelmed. It has been helpful to be able to think stuff over and come back later and reread. Not to mention the fact that what you have been saying supports what I've been hearing from my therapist. Not that I don't believe her...but that little voice inside points out from time to time that she may not know what she's talking about - especially when what she says totally contradicts everything I've thought/felt for most of my life. And of course that leads into, what does she care anyway? Which quickly deteriorates into, she only listens to you because you pay her to... Now, if I could just silence that voice! My poor therapist...

I really liked your tree analogy (or is it metaphor...really should have paid more attention in grade school). I'm a visual person so having that picture is very helpful. I'm also drawn to trees (?). Anyway, it's the root system I'm worried about. I think I keep digging till I just start to get the roots exposed, next thing I know, I'm shoveling the dirt back in. I can see how I've gone up to that edge so many times, only to back off again and again. I know I need to keep going - go all the way through it - but I just can't seem to make it.

I'm embarrassed to say, but I've been in therapy for two years now. I'm still digging up the roots and covering them back up again. I think I've spent the majority of the time learning to trust her and learning to verbalize things. TWO YEARS! It took me two years to get to the point that most people are at when they walk in the door. Because of crap that happened 25 years ago - and in the grand scheme of things - wasn't even that bad!!! It think it took me 12 mos before I even admitted to my therapist that this stuff was there. She asked me numerous times about my childhood - in very vague ways - I think they are very careful to not put ideas into people's heads...I couldn't admit that I was having these flashbacks to myself - so there was no way I was going to admit it to her. Even after admitting it, I went back and forth on whether or not I really believed it happened or whether I was making the whole thing up.

My parents had/have no idea about any of this - all they knew was I was a bad kid, out of control and a lot of trouble. We didn't ever really get along very well. My therapist explained how kids react/deal/cope with the bad stuff that happens - and says it was their job to notice that behavior and try to figure out what was going on. She says that kids aren't born bad and they aren't born non-trusting and so on and so forth - and I can look at kids and totally believe that - and I know that I would never think that it was their fault if stuff happened to them - but there is some lack of reason or logic when I try to apply that stuff to myself. I know it in my head - but the rest of me doesn't feel it. The conflict between these two parts is very frustrating. This, combined with not being able to find the words to say what happened (or the courage? to hear myself say them? or is it shame? embarrassment? fear? intensity?) - anyway - it all leads to covering the roots back up. Is there anyone out there who does root transplants?

I keep thinking if I can learn to deal with these feelings - label them, move through them, let them be - I'll be able to get to the roots. I try to be patient. My therapist keeps telling me that one day I will appreciate the sensitivity. Explained it a lot like you did - why it's so overwhelming. I'm trying to believe her and think of it as a good thing - but there are days when I think I want that numbness back.

This is getting unbearably long. I wanted to ask you though - you sound a lot like you have either been through all this before (and learned a GREAT deal!) or are somehow involved in therapy/counseling. Either way, I hope you don't feel like you have to keep posting here. To be honest, I never expected to get any response when I posted here. Certainly didn't expect to continue talking like this! I am really getting a lot out of your posts - as well as the ones from Damaged and Sharon - but I don't want you to feel like you have to keep responding, and I don't want to take advantage of your willingness to share your knowledge, experiences, time, etc... I am, however, seeing the benefit of "talking" and would love to continue - but wanted to make sure you aren't here because you feel obligated after responding the first time.

distracted

May 24, 2001
4:53 pm
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distracted
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HOLY COW!
Look at the size of that post!!!
My therapist would have a heart attack if she saw all this! She would NEVER believe that I wrote all this stuff!

When did I get so wordy?
!!!

May 25, 2001
9:28 pm
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Hello Distracted
I am glad you are still around. This not drinking thing is hard sometimes. My sponser wants me to start working the steps and for some reason I just put it off. Distracted have you ever worked the steps?
I let my self down last week. I used my razor and I feel it's just a matter of time be for it's going to happen again. I feel like I want to be mean to myself for some reason. I don't even know why yet. Anyway thats enough of that bull [email protected] I have been thinging a lot about things that happened when I was a kid. I know I didn't feel a lot of love. I am sure I was loved but I guess my parents showed it in a different way than my big,little heart needed. I wanted to be talked to I wanted for my mom or dad to say how are you doing. How do you feel, how was school, did you eat lunch what did you have for lunch. If your sad you can talk about it. Talk to me about love,happeness,anger,[email protected] I guess just talk to me not just scream at me all the time. Sorry I guess I just got off for a min. I don't know about you but I have been told Im working hard. Mybe one day I'll understand that. Distracted take care and stay in touch.

May 26, 2001
3:28 pm
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Dear Distracted,

It seems to me that you are doing a very good job of keeping in touch with where you are in your therapeutic process. I know that for you it might feel like you don't comprehend what's happening, but it's just that you are standing to close to the situation, since all of this is happening in your life. It's kind of like when a little kid wants to show you something--you know, they have that habit of holding it up for you to see, and putting it so close to your face that you go cross-eyed! Of course you can't possibly focus! But when the object is held at a bit of a distance, you can see it clearly. Just like we can always see someone else's problems easier than we can see our own. . .

At any rate, there's no reason to be embarrassed about the amount of time you've been in counseling. On the contrary! It shows you are dedicated to having your issues resolve. It takes many years for us to get to the point where we know we need counseling, so of course it takes time for problems to resolve in the counseling process.

I want you to know from the bottom of my heart, that I am responding to your posts out of my desire to do so. And if I did feel a sense of obligation, would that be a bad thing? I mean, you're worth it! You deserve to have some people in your life who feel a sense of responsibility toward you because you are a valuable human being. Additionally, and again, I mean this from the bottom of my heart, I'm truly grateful for each person I'm able to interact with on such an intimate level. It is a privilege to have someone willing to open up, talk with, and trust you. I feel blessed by each relationship I have so really, I appreciate you allowing me to be this close to you!

I do have some experience with counseling. I am in a master's level program, and have had a counseling caseload for about 1 year. I also have been through the counseling process. It took me just under 2 years to get through my stuff, and that was attending both individual and group therapy weekly! So again, don't worry about how long it takes!

I like that you are looking at the "tree", and I liked what you said about "covering the roots". You know, with a real tree, digging up the roots would likely kill the tree. As I said before, the tree serves a purpose. You aren't ready to kill it at this point. That's okay! Also, don't feel like you have to "dig it up" to look at it. There are other ways to get to the bottom of things.

I don't know what you went through as a child, but I can say that on the outside my childhood looked like a '50's family show--a "Father Knows Best", or "Leave it to Beaver"! On the inside, however, there were issues. Some issues were traumatic, some were subtle. I'll give you an example. I'm the 4th daughter in a family of 6 children. My brother was born only 13 months after me. Of course, my mother had wanted a boy very badly, so he got a lot of attention. I could site some specific examples, but to keep a long story short, when I entered my 30's, I realized I had some issues I needed to resolve as a result of this.

I can understand wanting to be numb. Sometimes I know it seems like life would just be easier. But, another example for you. . . A member of my family is paralyzed from the neck down. He can't feel anything below his shoulders. It might seem like, when it comes to pain, that this would be pretty good. But he has almost died many times just because he can't feel pain! Something goes wrong inside his body, but he has no way of knowing until the symptoms are so bad that his body is wracked with constant spasms. And imagine the good things he can't feel? The warm sun on his back, cool pool water on a hot summer day, the soothing touch of another on his body. . . I think a lot of times we find ourselves emotionally paralyzed, and we don't do anything about it until it feels like it might kill us. I'm so thankful that we are able to regain our capacity to feel emotionally, unlike my brother in law, who will always be paralyzed!

Try to imagine, if you had a friend in your situation, how would you feel? I already know you would be kind, loving, compassionate, understanding, and supportive. It is possible for you to be your own best friend. So, while you're struggling to be patient with yourself, don't forget to treat yourself with kindess and love as well! Remember, (and I know I'm always saying this. . .), YOU DESERVE IT!!!

Your friend,

Mal

May 26, 2001
3:53 pm
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Dear Damaged,

I have been paying close attention to your posts, as I'm sure you know, and I really feel for you. In each thing you write I can feel such emotional pain radiating from it! I know there must be times when you wish you could be someone else, or just break free of the pain if only for a little while. I don't blame you for having such a hard time in sobriety!

It's interesting to see you write that you feel disappointed in yourself for cutting. I think because on the outside, it seems like it might help you ease your pain, but once the cutting is done, not only are you still in pain, but then you have to deal with the disappointment you feel on top of everything else. I also wonder if the disappointment might have anything to do with your inner child. I say this because you mention things you wanted as a child right after you talked about the cutting, so it seems like there might be a connection.

I think some of what I'm going to say might apply to Distracted as well, so I hope she will read this too. . .

Lots of times, as children, we are taught that we are bad. Sometimes we learn this because of things our parents say or do to us. Sometimes we learn these things from society or religious groups. For example, if you are a child in church all the time, and your are taught that certain natural things are "sinful", then it becomes hard not to feel that you are BAD when you aren't able to resist committing the "sins". Or, often unwittingly, our parents will say "Bad Boy!" or "Bad Girl!" in the middle of scolding us. Say this often enough to a small child and of course he/she comes to believe that it's true.

Then we grow up. And we believe we are bad. But there is an inner child inside who is struggling not to believe this. The child has hope. She hopes that she is not really bad, or that when she grows up, she will be good. She lives in almost constant fear that she really is bad, and in constant hope that somehow, somewhere, and adult in her life is going to come along and prove her hope is true. She longs for an adult to recognize the good in her, and to begin to protect her and understand her. So, when you cut, a part of you feels good, because you think you are bad, and you deserve to be hurt. You have taken on the role of your parents, or another adult in your life who hurt you, and when you hurt yourself, your subconscious is picturing a weak, "bad", little you who deserves to be hurt. At the same time, your inner child is saying "What's going on here? I was counting on you to take care of me! You're supposed to be protecting me, not cutting on me! (or filling me full of junk food then puking, or filling me full of alcohol or". . . just fill in the blank).

This is why I love the movie "The Shawshank Redemption". That movie is the most beautiful illustration of hope I have ever seen! It shows us not only the value of hoping, but that hope is useless unless you are willing to act on it! If you've never seen that movie, or if you haven't watched it in a while, I'd like to recommend it.

Your inner child is hoping. She is hoping for love and protection. She is hoping that someone will come along and prove to her that she was right to hope, and she was right to believe that she is good, valuable, important, precious, and deserving. She is waiting for you! She is waiting for you to accept and love her unconditionally. She is waiting for you to act on the hope that the two of you share.

If I suggested that you go to the park and find a child to cut each time you felt upset about something, you would be appalled. You would never dream of doing such a thing to an innocent child. Yet you will do it to yourself. Please, think about this the next time you are getting ready to cut. Your inner child is hoping you won't. She's hoping, and "remember, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I'll be hoping this letter finds you, and finds you well."

Your friend,

Mal

May 29, 2001
3:03 pm
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hi

Mal you put things well - I like the comparisons you make - they really get your point across. I think you are on to something with the emotional paralysis - my therapist says that I will be thankful for the sensitivity one day. Right now, it seems that not feeling anything is the way I want to go. I feel like such a baby for being this way though. I also feel bad when I think about people (like your brother-in-law) who would do anything to be able to feel again... I just want all this bad stuff to go away and quit interrupting my sleep, my life, my intimate relationships...

I have had a hard time staying in "adult" mode lately. I feel so small sometimes. I got into a fight with my partner on Sun night - nothing big - but it started a chain reaction in me or something. All the sudden I was drowning in all this stuff - the flashbacks, anger, fear, panic, confusion... Next thing I know, I'm flying down the road on the curviest, hilliest road I can find. Sometimes that is the only way I can get rid of that stuff - but I end up scaring myself. I felt so small, insignificant, wrong, and out of control. I couldn't get myself to slow down, I couldn't get this small part of me to back down enough to get control. I know it sounds crazy but I just couldn't shake those feelings long enough to get my feet back on the ground. Just faster and faster, harder and harder. There is a part of me - the small part I'm assuming - that really doesn't give a fnck. And I feel like she would rather die than talk. And that scares the crap out of me. How do I control this part of me? I feel like the enemy already - I know my inner child is very threatened by the thought of telling my therapist the details of this stuff. I feel like I'm NUTS (not the clinical term...) though - here I am feeling these things, seeing these things, describing these things as if there were another person involved!!! IT'S JUST ME!!! There is no other person - it's all inside of me - and I should have contol over this!!! I feel like I'm just not trying hard enough or something.

question: If I don't dig up the roots, how am I going to get rid of this stuff? How can I get rid of the flashbacks without actually having to dig them up and look at them?

I bet your childhood was quite frustrating. I would think it would be hard enough to get adequate attention with 5 brothers and sisters - much less for your parents to "finally get the one they wanted" right after you were born. How terrible that must have felt growing up! People think that kind of thing doesn't affect kids - I wish they knew how wrong they are... If this is just one of the things you had to deal with in therapy - and got through it in 2 years - you have my respect! Care to share how you did it? I mean, what enabled you to move through this stuff?

Something else I've realized - my inner child likes you Mal - she thinks you are safe. I think part of it is because you are in my computer and I don't have to face you - but most of it is because you really seem to put a lot of thought into your posts - and a lot of yourself - you don't seem to think I'm a bad person - and you seem like such a kind and compassionate person. I can't imagine that anyone ever looked at talking to me as being a privelege! It's really odd - I tend to get lots of resistance when trying to talk about this stuff - but I find myself getting reminded by that small part to come here and check to see if there are any new posts! Maybe there's hope after all...

Speaking of hope - The Shawshank Redemption is one of my all time favorite movies..."These walls are kind of funny like that. First you hate 'em, then you get used to 'em. Enough time passes, gets so you depend on them..."

thanks for your post - hope you are doing well

distracted

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