Learning to do more than keep your head above water

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eternallystuck

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Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« on: September 16, 2018, 06:00:16 PM »
Hey guys

Its been a while. I just started a new job and I'm very glad to be back in work & earning money but I do feel like I've slipped back in the fog a bit.

Its weird because I thought I would feel much better back in work but I kind of feel like i'm just about functioning, keeping my head above water & a smile on my face so I can keep my job. Of course there's some positives, my work colleagues are very friendly which is a huge relief  :yes:& having money means I can save up for my escape route & do things again but my life is still feeling pretty empty when work finishes..

I barely have any connections here since I moved back (good/bad thing) & my dating life has been pretty dormant for a while now due to the slim pickings round here/my lack of social life. Some days I feel I just exist & everyones going back to their partners, friends and family making weekend plans etc. It almost feels like the end of another big hurricane and I'm just kinda left picking up the pieces of my life again. except this time I'm a little older & I'm feeling the pressure to get things moving. People stop feeling sympathy for your PD mishaps after a certain age, & whilst I accept responsibility for driving my own life, it can seem feel pretty scary & overwhelming without any familial support

It just dawned on me recently how much my PD foo has taken out of me in all departments over the last 2decades...I feel I'm so behind on finding stability & building a safety haven away from them. I imagined I would be much further ahead than this...either travelling, kneedeep into a career or finding a place with a partner by now. I barely have any energy left to do anything except keep my head above water & I almost have a preset of finding enjoyment on own now because its less risky that way.  I would like to find a decent set of friends as lord knows I am tired of having to cut toxic people off! I do not like the instability of it all, not knowing who is going to show their true colours by next year. Its also hard to meet somebody when you don't have much company to get out with!

I guess this was amplified by the fact I was recently looking at another solo holiday trip....and this time I was really yearning for someone to accompany me & share it with. A bf, a friend, hell even a nice stranger. I find I get triggered about this when I'm around my NPD M- we don't have a bond & I feel very rejected by her so I almost anxiously yearn some kind of strong bond to take my mind off it...but it never quite works out longterm. And since I started demanding accountability from people & erecting firm boundaries when faced with selfish/unreliable traits...I find my friendships are shifting year on year. I started thinking about all the people that aren't in my life anymore, how my PD foo has affected my need for validation off others & how they've drained me.. & the fact that I seemed to have attracted a lot of chaotic friendships where I swallowed a lot of pride to keep them running.

I don't know if this is one of those awkward, in between stages on the road to recovery but I don't wish to stay in it much longer. I keep seeing a ton of cool events I would like to go to..but I don't have anyone to go with! I don't want to miss out on anymore of my youth & opportunities due to those people.

I heard someone on here say its hard to thrive when you're just trying to survive & I feel like that's what I've been doing up to now, just trying to keep up & it goes on so long you don't even realise that has been the dominant priority in your life- catching your breath from the last PD episode rather than planning, enjoying and moving forward with your life! Now I've reached a certain age I don't want to do that anymore, I want to live & feel like I belong somewhere again. Does anyone feel that way? The only way I can describe it is its like feeling washed up & estranged on a lone island. You're wandering around sort of aloof & disoriented but you're not sure what you're meant to be doing or how you're going to get back to normality again.

Does anyone have any advice on finding your feet again? Feeling a little  :stars:


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Starboard Song

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Re: Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2018, 10:28:51 AM »
I don't know if this is one of those awkward, in between stages on the road to recovery but I don't wish to stay in it much longer. I keep seeing a ton of cool events I would like to go to..but I don't have anyone to go with! I don't want to miss out on anymore of my youth & opportunities due to those people.

Does anyone have any advice on finding your feet again? Feeling a little  :stars:

I've seen it one way, and heard it another.

What I've seen in my wife is that there is indeed an awkward time on the road to recovery. A time when things seem not reliably to be improving. What I've heard is that it is like recovering from being widowed early: you find yourself alone and starting and feeling a little broken, at a time when nobody expects it: we are supposed to "get started" in our 20s, or start over maybe, in our 60s or later. But this in between situation feels wrong and alien.

Based on your general discussion, I commend to you the resources in my signature.

Based on a detail in your post, one thing I've seen in my wife -- and, really, me too -- is that it is hard to erect firm boundaries in PD world but to also remember that boundaries are not about making everyone perfect. All the non-PDs in our lives will make mistakes, make us uncomfortable, and hurt our feelings from time to time. We have to remember to be patient and kind with all that non-pathological imperfection: they are all as flawed as we are, but remain good timber for building a FOC.

I really don't believe you are eternally stuck, but I do believe you. This is very hard. It is not easy. Not for anyone.

Best of strength!
Self-Compassion: the Proven Power... by Kristen Neff
Healing From Family Rifts, by Mark Sichel
Stop Walking on Egshells, by Paul Mason
Mindful Self-Compassion classes
Mindfulness, by Mark Williams
The Book of Joy, with the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu
Life on the Mississippi, by Mark Twain

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daughterofbpd

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Re: Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2018, 02:36:02 PM »
Hi eternallystuck,

Congratulations on the new job. That's great news! My BPDm had me convinced for years that I was a loser because I didn't have all my ducks in a row yet. I got married "too late" and had a child "too late." I finally have been able to see that these things all happened at the right time for ME, on my own timeline. We get so focused on the end result sometimes that we forget to enjoy the ride. Also, it seems that once we accomplish one goal then new things always pop up along the way. I'm married with a child and now I want to change careers. Always a work in progress. ;) My point is to go easy on yourself. You are really doing great and should give yourself credit for that. Plus, you have the benefit of being more mature and OOTF so when you do meet a partner (if that's what you want) you might skip the messy divorce many people are going through. Have faith that things will happen for you when the time is right.

I also think that some of this is a stage of healing. I was so focused on healing for the last 2 years that it feels like I've barely been able to accomplish much else during that time. I am finally getting some energy to focus on other areas of my life. I think that will come with time.

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I keep seeing a ton of cool events I would like to go to..but I don't have anyone to go with!
Try going by yourself. You just might meet some new friends that way. It might feel weird and awkward at first but you can enjoy your own company. Don't miss out on experiences just because you don't have anyone to share them with yet.

My other suggestion is to look into meetup groups so you can meet people with similar hobbies and interests. You can meet many new people that way, start friendships out slow so you can keep an eye out for unhealthy traits. I have met some lifelong friends through a local crafting group. Since you've already come OOTF, you will pick up on red flags in other people's behavior much more easily and can avoid those people, hold tight to your boundaries, and try to avoid becoming too enmeshed with one person.

Good luck and take care. I know this journey is disheartening at time. I just want you to know that this is hope and things will get better. You should be proud of yourself for how far you've come.
 :bighug:





“How starved you must have been that my heart became a meal for your ego”
~ Amanda Torroni

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all4peace

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Re: Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2018, 12:27:55 PM »
For me it has been a 2-part process:
1. Healing, grieving, learning, processing.
2. Focusing on now and the future, making connection, doing physical tasks, BEING in the present.

In the bible is a story about Nehemiah restoring the walls around Jerusalem. In their hands they had tools for building, on their waists they had swords for fighting. That's how I see this healing process--both about dealing with the "enemy" and about rebuilding a strong and healthy foundation for our present and future.

Hang in there. The process can be long and painful, but it's worth it!

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KeepONKeepingON

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Re: Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2018, 02:12:47 AM »
Hi eternallystuck,

Congratulations on your new job!  :)

I can empathize with your comments
it can seem feel pretty scary & overwhelming without any familial support

It just dawned on me recently how much my PD foo has taken out of me in all departments over the last 2decades...I feel I'm so behind on finding stability & building a safety haven away from them. I imagined I would be much further ahead than this...either travelling, kneedeep into a career or finding a place with a partner by now. I barely have any energy left to do anything except keep my head above water & I almost have a preset of finding enjoyment on own now because its less risky that way.

 Now I've reached a certain age I don't want to do that anymore, I want to live & feel like I belong somewhere again. Does anyone feel that way? The only way I can describe it is its like feeling washed up & estranged on a lone island. You're wandering around sort of aloof & disoriented but you're not sure what you're meant to be doing or how you're going to get back to normality again.

Does anyone have any advice on finding your feet again? Feeling a little  :stars:


I also feel like so much of my energy went into being the parent of my FOO and taking care of them all. I've stopped doing that thankfully, but I feel like I have to work so much on myself, on my confidence and on my self-defeating thoughts...I have had to teach myself how to emotionally regulate. Any life skills I have learned are as a result of careful observations of normal people, of reading books or of therapy. It's tough, I'd like to feel a bit more comfortable and confident in social or work situations than I do.

However, I feel like I am becoming better at knowing when someone is a toxic friend and detaching from them, but I think because of that I am quite suspicious and a bit over wary around people.

Anyway good luck with everything. Maybe a group holiday or tour would be fun? There is also WOOFing - it's taking a working holiday on an organic farm. It could be interesting, you get to stay on the farm for free and in return you help out a bit.

I'd recommend Mindfulness: Finding Peace In A Frantic World by Mark Williams & Danny Penman too. It's helped me a lot.

 :bighug:




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middledaughter

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Re: Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2018, 11:49:34 PM »
Hi eternallystuck, I also want to congratulate you on your new job! I am glad for you that you like the people in your office and I wish you all the best in this position. Part of your achievement in this is that it's great to be earning money. I think it helps in getting your feet under you and moving on towards a healthier, happier life. I have felt many of the same feelings that you describe. I'm not where I think I should be in life, behind somehow while other people my age seem to be on track. I've had to accept that other people aren't dealing with the fallout of a PD parent like I am. I really am doing my best and it sounds like you are too. I agree with the advice of others who have suggested that you join groups with people who have similar interests. Do you like to read? Maybe there is a book club you can join. There are book stores and other places near where I live that host them. Or a crafting group as was mentioned above, or a running group. A friend of mine wanted to go to India and she went with a group of people she didn't know on trip that was put together by some organization. She had a good time. Putting yourself out there to meet new people isn't the easiest thing to do, but often it can be good. And as for meeting other PD people, I used to collect them as friends all the time. Not any more! Now I recognize the self-centeredness and initial spark of charisma and I'm like see ya later! I think you can trust yourself to make different choices now that you are so much more OOTF than you were in the past. Sending you much support and good wishes.

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Petra8989

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Re: Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2018, 10:10:24 PM »
Try going by yourself. You just might meet some new friends that way. It might feel weird and awkward at first but you can enjoy your own company. Don't miss out on experiences just because you don't have anyone to share them with yet.


Yes!  Looking back in that awkward stagnant stage of healing at 45 years old,  my regrets are all what I held back on. Things I dindn’ t do or didn’t even try, because of the self limiting beliefs they forced on me. 
You’re already this far along!   Yea You!!!  Big Hug!  You’ve come this far, you’re one of the strongest people you know.  Get to know your authentic self without pressure. You’ll only be that young once.  Don’t pressure yourself and involve yourself with someone predatory to your vulnerabilities. This is your time for you. 

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eternallystuck

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Re: Learning to do more than keep your head above water
« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2018, 10:35:02 PM »
Thankyou for all the supportive messages guys I always read every one & take something away even if I don't reply to them all


Middledaughter 'I've had to accept that other people aren't dealing with the fallout of a PD parent like I am'- this is something I too have learned to accept. I still do, to some extent, get frustrated I haven't been able to go from A - B like everyone else due to my depression from foo. But from countless heart2heart convos over the years, I've realised my foo dynamic does tail on the bad and abnormal end...& so I can't be surprised I've gotten a little wearier for it. You know, some people are going back to loving parents, laughing with them, getting advice & some of us are going back to highly volatile people waiting to attack...  Its not an envious feeling towards other peoples growth but more an angry one towards my M, for making things very difficult. When you fall behind, you drift from people as a result. Many of my tutors see my potential but I think they have found it difficult to gage how equipped I am to deal with this emotional mess alongside studies. Its a learning process for me as well so its hard to say..sometimes I
can manage, sometimes I plummet.

I am not masssively behind age wise but I think the pressure comes from NPD M seeing that is an insecurity of mine & clawing at it. Not to mention I can't wait to be at a point where I can just breathe & feel I've reached my end goal- not to heal (LONG process) but to just be firmly on my feet away from them & starting my career. In arguments she will add a year or life or 2 onto me & belittle me for where I'm at & tell me I'm never going to graduate. Petra8989 'Don’t pressure yourself and involve yourself with someone predatory to your vulnerabilities'- thankyou for that- I need to get better at emotional resilience & realising she is trying to hack at my confidence. Its funny because considering what she has put me through I've turned out remarkably well & put some things under my belt that is unheard of in my hometown but as you know , as an SG you must take constant abuse & be high achieving and keep up with people in non foos somehow  :stars: This is why I see her as toxic, becos I believe her intention is to prevent me from reaching success & living a happier life. I like to see myself as a tree, strong rooted but sometimes my leaves wilt and then bloom again and wilt. That is what healing is like for me. I guess I still have to practice patience with that. Having a PD parent can feel like an open wound & get frustrated at never feeling quite healed from it


I think one really good thing for me to would be to stay in a hostel this time, a nice one of course, but that way I can connect with other solo travellers who have a shared interest so I have some company. I find I am happiest when travelling & seemed to interact with nicer people who give me faith back in humanity again!