Feeling Discouraged - Need Support

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atticusfinch

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Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« on: August 12, 2017, 11:42:45 PM »
I've been feeling discouraged and overwhelmed lately and was hoping to find some support.

I filed 3.5 years ago, it was final a little over a year ago. I have five kids. I have really struggled financially since leaving my PD spouse. We've needed food from our church for probably a year and a half. I have tried so hard to give my kids a better life. I've made a lot of sacrifices to be there for them instead of going back to work full time.

Over the past 1.5 years I have been working on a novel. I was told by an industry professional I should be able to make good money with this novel, but it has been a long, hard process. While I have been told that my writing is good, I find that I'm completely paralyzed with self-doubt at times and have a hard time making decisions (even about fictional characters!). I'm close to looking for a publisher, but I'm exhausted. I've spent evenings and weekends for a year working on it, so I could have time with my kids when they're home.

When they are home, they are critical of me about many of the same things my ex used to be critical about. They want more home cooked meals. They want a clean house but they don't want to help me. Their dad pushes me to put them in activities that cost a lot of money (and they pressure me too), but he is unwilling to pay even a dollar of said activities. I have a large yard, and lately, I've had a lot of maintenance issues at my house. I realize that part of why I'm struggling is that any time things go wrong, I'm being absolutely overwhelmed with self-abusive thoughts (I'm a failure, I'm weak, my ex was right about me, etc). For example, my air conditioning was broken for 2 months. My dishwasher died around the same time. Paying to have them even looked at feels like it will kill me financially. Then my water heater went out and I was boiling water so I could wash my dishes by hand. (I finally got the water heater looked at)

I just feel like I'm under so much pressure. I haven't dated since January, so I could focus on writing and on my kids. So my main social group is my kids (who repeat abusive messages of my ex) and my PD family. I'm trying SO hard, but it just feels like my life is a dead end. I'm so lonely and over-worked. No matter what I do, my it isn't enough for my kids or my ex. I guess I'm futurizing, but it is hard to imagine my life getting any better.

Thanks for listening to me! Sorry to be a downer.

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #1 on: August 13, 2017, 01:17:58 AM »
Atticus, it's so good to hear from you! Even if you are feeling so down.

I used to feel guilty when my u/npd exH would criticise or demand or accuse. And I was also made to feel guilty for talking to my ds (now 10) about my money limitations.  It took a fair while but I'm now at the point that I take it with a grain of salt.

I think I just decided that my life is my life and doesn't have to look like what other people expect.  I refused to go into debt for things that I couldn't afford, in order to keep people I didn't like or respect happy.

I've also been very open with my ds about how I handle my money and I shut down very swiftly any complaints he made about not being allowed xyz. He's known since day one that I will not work outside of school hours as my most important job is being his Mum and I don't feel I can do that properly if I'm not there for him before and after school.

(Please know, I'm not judging those who work full time.  I-m very grateful that my ex has always paid the full amount of child support on time. And I have a very supportive family. I realise other people don't have a choice.)

Anyway, now ds's complaints are very few. And his father has learned that if he wants ds to do xyz sport or some such, he has to pay for it. End of story.

Ds understands that most things he wants (usually technology) he will have to ask his Dad about.

May I suggest to tell your ex (perhaps best just in your own head!) To take a flying leap. You are building your life with your kids and he has no say in it.  Then set a few boundries with your kids. This is the way it is at your place. That is the way it is at their Dad's. They-ll just have to live with it.

Congratulations on your book!  I wish I had such a talent. I'm no expert, but it sounds like you are at the final hurdle and all the frustration, doubt and weariness has finally started to hit home.   Don't let it.  Keep going. You've come this far so you can get there.

Also, self care. Even just a half hour walk every few days. Or a haircut etc.  So important and invaluable.

Gotta go now. But so good to hear from you. I hope you feel more on top of things soon.

AOD

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notrightinthehead

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #2 on: August 13, 2017, 02:49:22 AM »
I am sorry you are feeling so low. As AOD said, you don't deserve to be abused by anyone, not even your kids. It might be good for them, if you could role model setting boundaries and showi them how to not take the abuse.
As you describe, we are sometimes our own enemies with low self esteem and hyper critical voices in our head. That really is counterproductive and drains your energy. What helped me, was trying to get a bit of a balance into my head by giving myself excessive praise. I would stand in front of the mirror and give myself compliments, tell myself how clever I am and tell myself: I love you so much. It felt false and ridiculous at the beginning, but I persevered and got better at it. This is just an exercise to balance out the unfair, overly critical voice. Since you are already really good at beating yourself up, you are just learning to become good at picking yourself up. Like an addition to make things more balanced.

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tryingforever

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2017, 04:42:44 AM »
atticusfinch, you are not a downer  :no:
No wonder you are feeling discouraged and overwhelmed, you have been coping with lots.
Financial hardship is so difficult just as it is, add on top of that your children demands and your ex's demands, it must amplify it so much more.
I subscribe notrighinthehead's words about setting boundaries with your children. You do not deserve abuse, you are doing the best you can with what you have.
And ditto for your exH's demands. Can you see a way to set boundaries with him too? If at this phase of your life you can't pay for the activities he thinks the children should have, why doesn't he pay for them? They are his children too. And when you overcome this phase, then you can share the financial cost.

When you are already under financial hardship the last thing you need is things at home start to break down. These extra costs will definitively put you on more pressure. I am sorry things are so hard right now.


Over the past 1.5 years I have been working on a novel. I was told by an industry professional I should be able to make good money with this novel, but it has been a long, hard process. While I have been told that my writing is good, I find that I'm completely paralyzed with self-doubt at times and have a hard time making decisions (even about fictional characters!). I'm close to looking for a publisher, but I'm exhausted.

 :applause: Can I just say hats off to you?
Creative work like the one you are doing, writing, is hard work. It's emotionally hard work. Under the best conditions, with financial stability, and loving and supportive connections around you, creative work is hard work. And you have been doing it under very difficult conditions! I can't stress enough, how awsome that is. :applause: Despite the internal harsh voice, despite the critical voices around you, you kept on typing, you kept on creating. From my perspective, I think you well deserve a pat on the shoulder.

I don't know if this will be of any use to you, for me the audiobook The Creative Fire Myths and Stories on the Cycles of Creativity by Clarissa Pinkola Estés has been extremely helpful. Would your local library have it?
Clarissa explains the normal creative cycle with its up parts and the necessary down parts. She also talks about how the creative cycle is hijacked by the critic inner.
Either way, if you feel you are going through a dry spell and you can't access your creativity, could you do self-care acts? Anything that for you feels as self-care, like a walk,a bath, going into a nice coffee shop etc.

Also, the creative work you are doing is a lonely work per se. And it was sounds like you don't have many voices around you which understand you and support you. And that is hard.

Keep believing yourself. :hug:



“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”― Anaïs Nin

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2017, 07:14:27 AM »
I also want to add re:  Finances.

I have only one child and the finances are hard. So I can only imagine what it must be like with 5!

Forgive me if you've already looked into this but is there anything, or anything more, you can receive from government coffers? And does your ex pay child support?

Can I gently recommend you read Dave Ramsey's book. His personality isn't for everyone but he has very sound advice.  I have managed to stay out of debt and save up an emergency fund and I cannot explain just how comforting that is.

One thing I did (and still do) is to save, instead of spend, any unexpected money that I received. I also save the child support payments instead of depending in them. And initially I sold a lot of stuff too. Because I work casually there are times I have to dig into the savings but the peace of mind of having that money available is invaluable.

All the best, Atticus. Let us know how you get on.

AOD

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guitarman

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #5 on: August 13, 2017, 08:26:31 AM »
Hello atticusfinch

You are not alone.

What an amazing, incredible, wonderful person you are. Bringing up five children all by yourself is an amazing achievement in itself. Finding time to write a novel as well must be so hard.

It seems that you are quite isolated without much support from outside your family. No wonder you are doubting yourself when you only get their negative feedback. Please try and get more support from others outside.

Your children are so fortunate to have you in their lives. You have such drive and determination.

Are you eating well and getting enough sleep? They are fundamental to your wellbeing.

I know when I am depressed and stressed I am filled with self doubt and worthlessness. I feel that I can't do anything right and that anything I create is bad.

You could join some creative communities locally or online. Many are free to join.

CreativeLive www.creativelive.com have free workshops that you can view. The live events are free to watch and they frequently sell their previous videos at very reduced prices on special offers. They have creative writing courses.

Your children seem to be repeating behaviours that they have learnt from your ex partner. The cycle of abuse is continuing.

It must be all so difficult for you without any financial support from your ex partner.

I hope that your novel is published soon and that many people get to read it.

Please don't doubt yourself and your talents. Your drive to create is important for your own wellbeing and important for others to hear your voice.

I did a Mindfulness course and one exercise we did was to list all the things that we were good at and our good attributes. So often we can list all the things that we can't do or don't like about ourselves. This negative thinking can become self destructive. It can become a safe place to live.

Live your life as you wish.

May you walk in beauty.

Best wishes

guitarman
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 08:29:24 AM by guitarman »
"Do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace." - Dalai Lama

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2017, 08:59:07 AM »
Ooo and another thing:  The fresh dinners and clean house?

I used to be frustrated at the state of my house too. Until I gave myself a talking to a year or so ago. I'm a single Mum holding down 3 jobs, teaching Sunday School and dealing with an abusive ex with his abusive wife. It simply isn't possible for me to have a clean and tidy house. The paperwork alone is a full time job that just doesn't get done.

So now I content myself with getting just the essentials done and close my eyes to the rest. I just have to put up with it. And if it's a problem for anyone else - they'll just have to deal with it. This is me. These are my circumstances.

Ds has had to get used to one pot dinners and left overs. If he refuses what I provide he goes hungry.  He's now a lot better at accepting this and doesn't often grumble.

Do your kids get fed? Do they have beds and clothes? Does their homework get done? Are their health needs taken care of?  I would say that they are.

So anyone who says you're an unfit mother for not signing the kids up for the latest whatever, for feeding them boring meals, for having a lived in house - can just stick it up their jumper.

Sorry. Getting a little hot under the collar here!  Think I'll stop.

AOD

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azurite

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2017, 12:46:43 PM »
Atticus, the craft of writing can be a long and lonely road. Especially when creating something as involved and detailed as a novel. What has helped me on that road more times than I can count is a small book, easy to read, The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. Check it out. Also a writing group might help...some writing hurdles are easier to overcome when you know others are struggling with similar and you can brainstorm.
All the best to you!

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mdana

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Re: Feeling Discouraged - Need Support
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2017, 03:58:03 PM »
Atticus...


YOU ARE NOT A DOWNER ... !!!

You are human... and 5 kids is way a bunch!!  Lots to do and I imagine you get pulled in so many directions...(so many personalities running around).

Besides that, kids are ... kids.  They don't get it (what it's like to be an adult, a mom).  AND, they may be living out the continued family patterns from the past (making demands of you, not noticing your needs, being critical, feeling out of control). 

My daughter came home once for a short time (after being away for an extended period of time) -- post divorce.  AND, we slipped right back into the patterns from the past from when her dad and I were married.  In an instant ..unbelievable! I didn't notice it at all, I just felt confused, exhausted and ungrounded. It was my therapist that pointed it out.  Those old familiar patterns are like our 2nd skin.

SO... don't be so hard on yourself.  There really IS allot going on in your life (It's real). Give yourself a break...step back a bit.  Look for the patterns... and decide where you need (or want) to make some changes.  I get the financial stuff...maybe find used or refurbished stuff and definitely set limits on expenses with the kids. They may not like it, but they too have to learn how to budget and make do.  AND, if I may say (hope this does not offend you)--- the kids can't be your main support, contact or source of joy.  They aren't equipped for that level of responsibility ...you need a 'peer' group for that.  It helps so much to get out of the house and away from the kids --if only for just 1 evening here and there with other adults.



Take good care of yourself ...
Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive. The Dalai Lama