Out of the FOG

The Other Sides of Us => Working on Us => Topic started by: Hopeful Spine on July 28, 2020, 12:07:08 PM

Title: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on July 28, 2020, 12:07:08 PM
I was instructed to continue in a new thread.

https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=84203.msg734593#msg734593 (https://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=84203.msg734593#msg734593)

Thanks to Peanut Butter who referred me to the Pete Walker website.  WOW!  What a helpful eye opener in regards to my negative self talk and critical nature.  Yes, it does seem that due to lack of comforting love in my childhood I am constantly striving for perfection.  When I fail (which I do often as humans tend to do) I look around as if to say, "who cares if my yard doesn't look "perfect" this yard needs to be mowed, this porch needs a few flowers, this home needs to fix their bird house.  I'm better than them.  I'm not a loser."

In keeping with the yard example,  it's hard for me to admit that I can't do it all.  I can't run a business, run a household, have family and friends, volunteer AND keep a perfect yard.  I COULD keep a perfect yard but I'd have to hire someone.  And I don't have money to hire someone.  And even if I did it would be wasteful (my parents opinion) to employ someone to do something for me that I can do myself.  Nope, there is no way to win this one.  I just suck.  I'm not able to get my shit together and do it all.  Oh but hey, lookie here - this persons home looks like crap, this persons home falls short, this persons home needs a lot of work.  So THERE!!  I don't suck alone.  They all suck.  And they suck more than me.

I'm almost feeling narcissist here.  Except I go through great pains to hide it.

I can't fully grasp it.  I need to read more about the inner/outer critic, but I need to fully understand that it's "okay" if I'm not perfect or if those other homes aren't perfect.  Perfection should not be part of the equation.  Comparing myself to others is not the way to go.  I continue on this path I will literally NEVER be "good" enough.  So obviously I need to fix that.

It's so annoying because I KNOW how wonderful I am.  I have so many good qualities.  I know I'm not a loser.  But I feel like I am "the worst" at least a few times each day.  Like a huge wave of realization washes over me and I just stop and can barely continue on with my work.  I waste hours on social media or with "daymares"  before finally pep talking myself back into finishing my task.  That feeling of unworthiness never goes away.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Poison Ivy on July 28, 2020, 09:02:28 PM
I often have thoughts that "I'm the worst." One thing that has helped me spend less time dwelling on these thoughts is to tell myself the following: 1) When I think that I'm the worst, I feel bad. 2) When I feel bad, I'm a less effective human being (e.g., I lose sleep, I might treat other people negatively, I find it harder to get work done). 3) I and other people will all be better off if I don't think the thoughts.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 10, 2020, 01:52:16 PM
Today I realized something.  The main thing I realized was that I had never mailed my payment to the local store.  I am 10 days overdue.  I found the invoice, hopped in my car and paid it immediately.  I looked like crap (wasn't intending to go out today) but I breezed in and was cheerful and confident as I handed over the checks I wrote back in mid July.  A bit of friendly chit chat and I was back in the car and going on with my day.

By all accounts I should have been embarrassed, contrite, ashamed of my appearance and reputation.  But I wasn't.

There are time when I've completely prepared myself.  Maybe notes for a meeting, a shinning balance sheet of expenses when I report to a group.  I'm usually well groomed and smell clean.  Usually the people I meet are people I like, know and enjoy.  Or it's for an enjoyable event.  And I show up to these places sick with anxiety.  I'm nervous, flustered and worried about appearing "on top of things."

It's like the less perfect I am - the happier and more confident I feel.  It served me well today but that thought process seems messed up.  I want to figure out what causes my anxiety.

I have to say that lately I'm feeling much happier and I think it's due to not seeing extended family all that much.  My husband and I have been focusing on our businesses and home.  We had a family member stop in yesterday and it was okay.  We felt good about it.  The family member's spouse didn't make the effort to attend and see our new home. While that was disappointing (she's a person I had considered a friend) it just drove home the knowledge I already had, that we are not friends and probably never were friends.  For some reason - I just no longer care.  I don't want her life.  I don't want to deal with her old behavior (which I used to endure because "I know know she's difficult but it's just how she is.  Underneath it - she's really funny and cares".)   BULL SHIT.  I even told my husband yesterday, "wow, I really can't believe I once thought we were friends.  I'm glad I don't have to deal with her anymore."

I'm feeling more settled about religion.  I'm still longing for a church family but I no longer have guilt or urgency associated with it.  Yesterday I easily could have attended a church service somewhere and I opted to not.  I put it off. But not because I'm scared, guilted or worried.  I simply didn't feel like attending anything.  So I didn't.

I've been listening to a podcast where people read their teenage diaries in a social setting.  For entertainment value.  It sound like an unhealthy thing but the people who participate seem to enjoy themselves.  The crowd definitely enjoyed themselves.  I laugh out loud often while listening.  In between the readings they have interviews with the people who sort of reflect back on the things they were dealing with and how their lives unfolded in the years since.  For me it's proof that others are just as weird and self absorbed as I was and still sometime am.  I feel better knowing that other felt the same way I did.  That others made stupid mistakes as teenagers.  That others cared about the wrong things or struggled with the same things that I did.

I have been struggling with some of the stronger personalities in my life (the subtle grown up bullies).  I'm handling the situations but spending a lot of time thinking and stewing about them.  It's getting better the more I detach and put up the barriers.  For instance, at one meeting the bully was acting up.  Instead of sticking around to witness it I turned to a new person and asked them about their family.  It was not a fulfilling conversation but it was far better than watching (and then being drawn into) the sort of circus show the bully was putting on. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 13, 2020, 11:34:57 AM
Someone on social media recommended the book "Better than Perfect" by Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo.  It wasn't directed at me, but this person called the book life changing so I went ahead and ordered it.  After reading the first couple chapters I can see that this book will be helpful.

All week long I've been slacking.  Wasting time even though I have a huge piles of work.  Saying "yes" to future projects even while my current projects pile up.  Soon people will be contacting me to check in on the progress of their projects and I will likely have some sort of excuse.  I'll probably blame it on Covid.  I used to blame it on health issues.  The truth is - I can solve these problems by just getting the work DONE.  My job is largely creative and artistic so I sometimes have to feel inspired to work on a project.  But mostly I just dread starting things.  I'm seeing that perfectionism is holding me back. 

My new home is also illustrating my hang ups.  I never decorated my old home.  I had all kinds of excuses, "it's not a forever home", "I don't have enough money to make it look good enough", "I don't know anything about drywall", "we have to work on the hallway before we can think about the actual rooms."  I lived in that home (shell) for 15 years and barely hung a photo.

I now own my dream home and I'm feeling the same feelings.  What is worse, this home is "mostly" decorated nicely.  Not to my taste but nice enough to live in.  So I feel myself slipping into my old pattern of living in the home as it currently is (nice enough) and waiting to get started on the redecorating.  A whole year has passed and it's time to do something. 

As i said before, I'm a creative sort so it should be an utter joy to turn this dream home into my own.  But I have a mountain of paint chips and a set of curtains that I reluctantly purchased.  I'm stuck.  I don't want to waste my time painting a color that it's going to look awesome in all times of the day.  I don't want to hang the curtains until I know I have the perfect rug to match.  And then there is the drywall and the crumbling bits in the corner.

I already purchased curtains that I love (even though they aren't what I'd normally purchase.)  I feel guilty and uneasy about that.  What if this room clashes?  What if it doesn't flow into the next, much larger room?  If I pair the bold curtains with a bold paint will it be "too much".  Maybe I'll wait until we fix the walls . . .?

Last night was wonderful though.  I scored a truck load of free landscaping bricks and arranged them however I wanted in order to make a new flower bed.  It was so fun.  I worked until I was working by streetlight.  I didn't consult with my husband.  I didn't worry about the extra effort of moving things a little here and there.  I just thought about what would look nice and did it.  I love it and I know it will look awesome.  I'm cancelling on a social outing tonight because I can't wait to continue the project after work.  Of course I felt guilty that I had started the first room renovation about a month ago and it's stalled.  I felt extreme irritation and even disgust with myself.  And the argument in my head told me not to worry because I was taking advantage of the nice weather which was smart.  It's just exhausting to enjoy, feel guilt, reason with myself, continue with the job I enjoy and then work hard to not let my mind wander and think of the people I'm disappointing with my work, the friends I haven't called, etc., etc.  Any joy I feel is erased by negativity.  I want that to end.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: frogjumpsout on August 13, 2020, 06:14:56 PM
Hi Spine, Just wanted to say that I hear you on everything, especially the house stuff! I think it's great that you made the flower bed despite the negative voices. Thanks for posting.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 17, 2020, 11:10:22 AM
I'm continuing to read, "Better than Perfect."  There are a lot of exercises in it so I've decided to read it through first and then go through later to work the exercises.  There are some good things in there.  I'm finding that a perfectionist isn't those people who really have their shit together.  You can be a perfectionist, without even achieving perfection.

An example of a perfectionist isn't someone who is fit and in perfect shape.  A perfectionist is someone who gives up the moment they have a cookie.  They don't see the point in maintaining a healthy diet for the rest of the day if they've already screwed it up with the cookie.  So you can be a perfectionist, even if you are round and a little chubby.

Or an example that better fits me.  If I get up early and waste the first hour on social media while drinking my coffee I sort of "give up" on the rest of the day.  Why bother to knuckle down, it's already 9:00 and I haven't even accomplished one thing.  So I sit here with mountains of work and an unorganized desk, and I waste 7-8 hours.  Yet, I'm still a perfectionist.

This leads me back to my earlier post about driving in my neighborhood and judging the other properties.  A perfectionist have a very set mindset of what is "good", "proper", "tasteful", "correct".  None of the properties I viewed hit those categories.  Including my own.  But I don't have the money, knowledge, strength and skills to do everything I "need" to do in my own yard so I do what I can and continue to judge others.  Not cool.

I've made great strides in this area.  I'm weeding areas - even if I can't complete the whole task in one afternoon.  I'm building flower beds, even if I know I won't purchase mulch until the weekend. I'm building structures even if I know that I won't be able to fully finish planting the areas around them until springtime.  The yard seems to be where I'm learning balance, patience and pride.  I'm proud of my unfinished projects because I KNOW I can do it.  I KNOW I WILL do it.  And I have valid reasons for not finishing (not enough money, need to have enough good weather days to tackle something, spring is a better time to plant so it HAS to wait.)  It's strange because your yard is the most public display of how you live your life and the most vulnerable to the judgement of others.  I did judge someone for being lazy when I saw their overgrown yard.  I DID judge someone for having bad taste when they painted a portion of their home the worst color.  I'm learning how to be confident in my own choices and learning that my judgement of others is a bad look - even if I keep it to myself.

I had another opportunity to grow.  I messed up on a clients order.  But not really.  I made an honest error and the client had multiple opportunities to correct this issue.  They opted to wait until the order was complete before pointing out a huge thing that they would have preferred I had done differently.  I don't want to give details but they expected me to redo the order and there is no way on earth that I would be required to do so.  On any level.  The old me would have redone the work and taken the bite out of the profits.  I'd reason that it wouldn't be that big of a hit or taken take much time.  I'd tell myself that this would impress the client and it would lead to glowing referrals.  But this time I said, "Oh I'm so sorry that you didn't speak up sooner when you had the multiple opportunities to request the change.  I'll be happy to fix it but it will cost you.  They accepted my reply and opted to use what I had provided to them (which I knew was perfectly lovely).  The old me would have stewed on it and finally decided to just go ahead and "fix it".  But I slept soundly and will not be redoing anything.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 18, 2020, 10:25:17 AM
Now that I've learned and read a bit more about the "inner critic" I've been able to identify (and control) my self-talk a little easier.  I still slip into it often.  But now I am able to say "stop" (and I do say it out loud) and force myself to focus on something. 

My self talk is a very self defeating habit.  I was having a perfectly lovely morning.  Beautiful weather, a nice coffee, a walk with my dog, looking at my property.  I actually stopped and smiled, pinching myself for how blessed I am.  I finished my activity, got in my car to go to work and out of no where I start thinking of a person in my life who I love, but frustrates me.  I think of how life would be a lot better for multiple people if this person would wake up and do "XYZ".  I was in a lovely mood, I haven't seen this person for days and I have zero ill will towards them.  So I have no idea why this person popped into my head nor do I comprehend why I think that she's HAS to do something.  Her life is not mine.  Her relationships are not my responsibility, even if we do share a lot of the same people.

AHHHHH, but MY life would be better if I did a very different "XYZ".  And I CAN fix MY issue in MY life.  However, I cannot fix the other person's "XYZ".  So why am I focusing on their issues and ignoring my own?  Why am I thinking negative thoughts about their life when I ignore all the positive things brewing in mine?  The potential in front of me is astounding.  I should be grabbing it and having the time of my life.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 19, 2020, 09:13:22 AM
I need to pause today.  Yesterday some well meaning people (who I loosely do business with) offered me some "ideas" on how to improve things. Long story short - they are out of line and I need to assert myself.  I also need to do it kindly and in a way that allows us to continue on harmoniously. 

I am proud of myself.  I handled myself well at the meeting.  I got great feedback from my husband.  Now I need to follow up.  The incredibly long email I drafted (and haven't sent) needs to be trimmed down and I need to not reveal so much vulnerability and emotion.  I've got some good stuff in my email - just need to hold back a bit.  I'm overly investing myself in their suggestions.  My goal today is to not let myself get consumed by ruminating over all of it. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Boat Babe on August 19, 2020, 04:50:39 PM
I heard a wonderful phrase the other day. The perfect is the enemy of the good.  How refreshing and comforting!

❤️
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 19, 2020, 05:23:31 PM
I heard a wonderful phrase the other day. The perfect is the enemy of the good.  How refreshing and comforting!

❤️

I love this!  Thanks for sharing.

I'm trying to be good.  I sent my email to those folks.  It's been hours and hours later and no reply (they always reply quickly). 

Basically they run their own business in my space.  Without any of the overhead or the tax paperwork (I'm wrapping all that into my own current expenses).  I've been doing that for awhile and it's been working out fine.  Parts of the situation benefits me enough that I was happy to do it.  But now they have "suggestions" on how I can better help them.  They are offering to "help" me but their helpful solutions will interfere with how I like to do business.  There is a subtle gaslighting about how I NEED help.  How their changes will help me,  and how they are there for me.

I actually felt a little bad yesterday.  That I was somehow failing them.  That I could be a bit more "relaxed" and allow them to do what they are suggesting.  Because they were good ideas.  But after thinking about it awhile I realized how much I was already doing for them.  For free.  And how I don't NEED to change anything about how I work in order to suit their whims.  I've been in business for many, many years.  I might be a work in progress but I'm doing enough things right and I don't have to answer to them in my own business choices.

I feel a bit like I'm playing the martyr.  I gave and gave and felt happy to do so.  I was honest in the meeting and tried to see their view.  I was kind in the email when I spoke my truth.  I was complimentary and sweet to smooth it over.  And now that I'm not getting the reaction I want - I'm pissed.  I'm mad that I didn't look at them and immediately say, "You mean - you want me to do MORE for your business?"

It was a friendly and fair email.  I know without a doubt that they are asking too much of me.  I'm confident in that knowledge.  Maybe I'm rooting for them to "get it".  Or I'm a little scared that they WILL break away and not "need" me anymore.  But if I'm being honest, I'm mostly I'm worried that they don't like me anymore.  Or that I misjudged these people and they are complete takers.  I just don't want to believe that.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 31, 2020, 12:09:42 PM
After weeks and weeks of not having to deal with in-laws we had an event with some of them.  It actually went okay.  We showed up.  Chatted with a few of the ones who do not cause us pain.  It was nice.  Then one of them showed up and everything changed.  The vibe in the group went from relaxed to tense.  Conversations switched immediately to what the new person wanted.  I found myself becoming very quiet.  I had nothing to contribute to the conversations (childcare and career things).  A few times the in-law asked me a direct question and I felt very put upon.  Like I was a student who needed to answer her teacher.  I felt like I was back in high school.

So I've been trying to sort out my responsibility in all this.  After all - this woman did nothing mean to me at that party.  Is she that good about turning a room?  Or am I the only one who feels it?  Do "I" become different because of her?  Or does the family dynamic change when she demands it?  After she got there I felt very insecure, like I feel with my mom.  Do I look okay?  Do I look too nice?  Did I dress up too much?  Did my answers sound "okay".  If I take another drink will she say something?  Or should I do a water instead?  I didn't feel this way with anyone else.

Anytime we have to do a family thing I get a little on edge.  The more difficult family will be coming to town for Labor Day so all of this is making my mind wander and negative things are seeping in.  A few of the other siblings went on vacation together and posted a bunch of fun photos on social media.  I was jealous.  One of the woman on the trip was supposed to be my friend.  Another indication that I'm not hers.  I already knew this.  It's just hard to be reminded.

My husband finally shared a few tidbits of the ways he was recently shafted.  He doesn't share as much as I do but I know he hurts over these things.

In a totally different issue - a guy (a friend of a family member) sidled up to me at the party and said something inappropriate.  This guy IS a bully.  When he approached me he locked eyes with me.  So I kept the gaze and said hello.  He stopped and made a lewd joke about my outfit which was a totally cute little dress - not overtly sexy or trashy.  I was visibly annoyed but not quick enough to say anything back to him.  Of course he chucked and walked away.  It was truly degrading.  The way he looked right into my eyes and delivered that message, picking apart my insecurity even though I felt I was standing there with confidence.  I've been kicking myself all weekend for letting that rat go.  Truth is - I knew the dress looked good on me.  I wore it, even though I am usually uncomfortable wearing "cute" things.  I'm sad to say that I allowed his words to crumbled me inside.  I know that this guy is notorious for being "like that".  Still, it bothered me a lot and I wish I would have burned him.

Additionally, SIL made a snide comment about my dessert.  It was later in the evening after dinner and I had plenty to eat.  But everyone was talking about the cake so I helped myself to a small sliver.  I saw her show her plate to someone (which had a huge slice of cake on it) and then point to my plate and make a comment.  The person she was talking to knew I was watching and sort of gave a neutral response.  So I walked over and she admitted what she had just said.  I took care of it and moved on.  But between the dress comment and that - I was done.

Which makes me wonder.  Am I target because I'm "weak"?  Am I target because people want to take me down a notch?  With the jerk with the clothing comment - he is a very attractive man but his wife doesn't really take care of herself.  Maybe he didn't think I belonged?  Or he wishes his wife looked nicer?  With the cake comment - I'm not a perfect body shape but I am curvy and cute in the right places.  SIL is incredibly beautiful but struggles with body image.  Is she jealous or does she think I'm hoity-toity over portion sizes.  What kind of vibe am I giving off that these things happen to me?  More importantly - why am I spending my Monday morning trying to figure it out.  I want to have the confidence to not think of these things again.   

I've been listening Christian motivators as I work.  A recent segment spoke to me.  The speaker was describing how her friends turned on her during a difficult time in life.  It took her about 3 years to get over it.  Soon she received a wonderful promotion, better than her best dreams.  Long story short - she admitted that losing these friends was hard - but she learned that their fake friendship would not have served her well in her new position.  That they might have even held her back.  That their friendship wasn't based on the good mutual exchanges that are necessary in true friendship.  She misses them but her life is more abundant after she accepted their behavior and let go.

So I'm trying to pray on that concept.  That perhaps God has much bigger plans for me.  That using my heart and head space to figure these family members out is not helping me be what God wishes.  That maybe it's time to let go.  To stop counting connections where I've been dropped.  To stop listing the ways I was good and they were bad.  To accept that it's over and to embrace what is.

It's been roughly 7 years since things really blew up in my life.  It's been 6ish years since I opened my eyes to people who hurt me.  Soon it will be 2 years since I had my surgery and started making changes.  During this time I've ignored everyone.  Even the good ones.  Covid make that easier to do.  But I'm missing people.  I'm longing for new experiences.  But I don't want to go down the same sad path.  It's been easier to hid at home.  But I can't do this forever.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 07, 2020, 10:32:23 AM
Once again my in-laws have hurt us. 

A family member came to town with a few of his children.  Instead of using the family text chain, he sent a text to the local siblings and gave everyone a rough idea of when he'd be in town (the ones who live only 90 miles away were not informed).  We decided to be prepared to visit with them the evening that they came to town and be open to anything happening the rest of the weekend.  We spent the day doing our work only to be interrupted early by a text from the family text chain.  It was a photo of most of them - golfing at a local club maybe 10 miles from our home.  There was no invitation, no update on when they would be in town.  Just a bunch of them, enjoying themselves.

My husband expressed simple disappointment that he would have enjoyed going.  It was a mild, "bummer, I would have liked to have been included."  Immediately 3 siblings dog pile on him and point out all the reasons that he wasn't included was due to his actions.  His crime?  He didn't respond to the vague sibling text about the person coming to town.  He also hadn't replied to the vague family post about another event that "might" be happening at another family members home at the end of the weekend.

Those three members of his family immediately had each others backs.  Two of which weren't even in the photo (they both had things going on and I suspect they knew of the outing and just couldn't make it).  They swore that this was a spur of the moment outing and he had no reason to be offended and that HE was the one at fault.  The texts were worse the the actual act of being excluded.

An out of town sibling expressed his disappointment that he wasn't even notified of the visit and would have liked to have driven over to see the said sibling.  No one responded to him.

They all dump on my husband (nicely of course).  They said that they were "sorry he felt that way."  They cited all the ways that he SHOULD have behaved in order to be included (he should have planned something, he should have texted, he should have checked in).  Two of them really drove home the point by insinuating that he was being a baby about it all.  They then revealed the rest of the evenings plans and indicated that we were "welcome" to come.  The next portion of the evening we couldn't even participate in because we had projects to finish and we needed to get cleaned up.  At best we could have caught them much later for dinner.

The text chain ended with one of the dog pile-ers texting an old pic which referred to a funny family story about my husband.  As if to smooth everything over and "prove" how loved he is.  If I didn't know my husband and didn't know them - I would have thought that my husband was over-reacting to his lovely, fun and tight family.  But I am aware now and I know the truth.

My husband handled himself well.  We made the choice to not attend.  As we expected, no one cared to check in later.  He asked me to not contribute to the text chain and I didn't.  The following day was another disappointing exchange with the person who came to town where we learned that he made efforts to visit other family members homes and even drove past our house but didn't stop by.  It's all a bit more subtle and layered than how I'm describing it but that was the general gist.  When my husband again expressed his disappointment the simple return message was, "YOU should should have texted and I would have stopped".

We talked about it more objectively the following day and agreed that they are behaving as they always do.  It just sucks to be reminded.  It hurts to express our disappointment, only to be pushed back down.  We admitted to ourselves that yes, we could have texted something like, "looking forward to seeing you, keep us in the loop".  That maybe would have eliminated some of these issues.  But the thing is - he's tried it before and the same things happen.  My husband is know to not be a planner.  When it comes to group things - he's a willing participant who doesn't like to make decisions.  So this is a bit of weakness on his part.  Our argument is that kindness was lacking this weekend.  It would have been easy and kind for the person traveling to to continue on the family text chain and say, "I'll be back in the area at 3:00 and there's been discussion about hitting some golf balls and then heading out to dinner.  Hope to see anyone who wants to join."  It would have been easy and kind for the person who planned the golfing to text, "hey all, last minute plan to hit the greens.  We'll be there at 4:00 if anyone wants to join."

My husband parents were a part of all this and didn't do anything.  They didn't make sure all were included, they didn't stop the insults.  They didn't do anything.  But they sure looked like they were enjoying themselves in that photo.

Even typing all this out I'm starting to wonder if we ARE being the babies.  And maybe we ARE lacking with our reponses to the family text chain.  Maybe all this is OUR fault?  Maybe next time WE should work harder to show our interests in them.  Classic gaslighting.

My heart hurts for my husband.  When I stop and think that the women also didn't include me - that hurts too.  This weekend has really chipped at us and our worth to the family.  It's been awhile since I've seen him so triggered.  I'm really starting to appreciate how it must have been for him growing up why he was driven to bad behavior and had some many issues as a child.  I really don't know how these people can feel okay about all this and dismiss him so cruelly.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 08, 2020, 03:13:43 PM
It's been a couple days since dealing with the in-laws and I'm finding myself ruminating.  Thinking about the texts, remembering the other times we were not treated kindly.  Imaging conversations where I'm confronted and thinking of how I'd best answer (awesomely of course). 

I'm judging my husbands parents for not taking care of the situation by either pre-planning so that everyone is included or by not taking control and making sure that no one was excluded. 

I'm remembering how I should NEVER trust the SIL that wrote the most mean text - even if she does say and do the right things at times.

I know that my behavior is not healthy.  Not cool at all. 

It's like if your friend group planned an outing without you and then sent you a photo of everyone enjoying dessert at your favorite place.  Or if your office mates, who you get along with, planned an after hours and kept you out of the loop but then posted a fun photo of themselves.  There is just something so . . . mean about it all. 

As my husband spat out, "Nice Flipping Family!"

And you want to say, "well, screw them!"  But then there is the fact that they are your friends and you don't want to walk away from the good that still exists.  Or in the case of your co-workers, you have to work with them and it would be great if they all liked you as much as they liked each other. 

For us - this is family.  The only one we have.  There is some good history.  When you put up boundaries and they step on them you either accept that your boundaries will be crossed or you will move on.  They are not "bad enough" to want to move on.  But it hurts enough that you sure don't want to stick around to see what else will happen.

And how do you establish a boundary on something like this?  If the rest of the siblings plan an outing and we aren't invited then we will . . . ?  What?  What is our recourse?  How can you assert yourself when you aren't even being considered?  We're left, sitting on our porch, looking at our phones with sadness.  When we speak up we're told that we made the mistake.  That it's our fault and we should just not feel bad about it.  Instead of feeling empowered and strong while asserting a boundary - we feel pathetic and weak without any footing.  After speaking up, the only thing we could do was choose to not attend the rest of the evening.  Which is probably what they wanted anyway.  Another win for the popular crowd!

I know that I sound like I'm feeling sorry for myself.  I am.  But I don't want to.  And I certainly don't want to dump this on my husband who is already trying to sort his much more hurt feelings.  Which is why I'm posting here.  To get it out of my system so I can more efficiently discuss things with him.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Lookin 2 B Free on September 09, 2020, 03:51:10 AM
Hi, Hopeful.  There's quite a bit written here.  I have limited time to read posts, so I may have missed some important points.  I just wanted to say that using exclusion and ostracism was a big part of the manipulation and scapegoating of my FOO.  It was, and still can be, extremely painful.  I'm not ready to go NC with them yet, so I'm also trying to find a way respond in a manner that's healthy and empowering for me.  Good luck to both of you!
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 09, 2020, 10:08:56 AM
Hi, Hopeful.  There's quite a bit written here.  I have limited time to read posts, so I may have missed some important points.  I just wanted to say that using exclusion and ostracism was a big part of the manipulation and scapegoating of my FOO.  It was, and still can be, extremely painful.  I'm not ready to go NC with them yet, so I'm also trying to find a way respond in a manner that's healthy and empowering for me.  Good luck to both of you!

Thank you for using your limited time to respond. I appreciate the kind words.  Sorry you are in the same spot.

Manipulation and Scapegoating are the key words here.  Let's manipulate things to make people do things "our" way.  Then convince ourselves that we are "right" and are in fact doing everyone else a favor.  I truly believe that they seem themselves this way.  The reason I know this is because my husband used to behave this way towards me.  Gaslighting, always a chip on the shoulder, defensive.

I thank God all the time for turning our world upside down and humbling my husband.  I thought that rebuilding our marriage was the hardest time in my life but it was actually the years prior that were much, much worse.  After therapy and kicking the drinking habit, he could see clearly how wrong he was.  The rebuilding was hard but peaceful.  And now, my life with him is so so good.  But we don't have the support or respect of any of these family members.  The subtle digs, the barely concealed eye rolls and now the blatant, "here's a photo of all of us having a fabulous time together - without you."

I look at this family.  Each of his siblings is a pulled together professional person.  Everyone is good looking, well dressed, and living in really nice homes.  They take vacations, drive shiny cars.  They serve on committees, they belong to churches.  Their children are smart and popular.  They always bring the right beverage to the party, they ARE the life of the parties.  These are not "awful" people.  And yet, we feel awful around them.

I think of all the things I just listed and I can fully admit that they are all popular leaders in their communities.  And they get along with each other so well.  And I start to think, "maybe it IS us?  Maybe WE are the problem?"

But then I see the ways that one sibling creates a meal train for a member of her child's classroom but only sent me a "how ya doing" text when I was recovering from a major surgery.  Or how in a large gathering of family she will loudly say, "so yesterday when I brought a home cooked meal to random person, and she told me that she loves my lasagna."  (Followed by proud smile.)

Or when one sibling promotes a business on facebook and makes sure everyone knows that he's such a great supporter of small businesses.  Except that the business he promotes is a direct competitor of my husband.  And he rarely gives my husband any "likes".

Or a dad who spends more time with family friend who is the same age range as his sons.  That guy is included in all weekend outings but my husband isn't.  But "dad" doesn't seem to care.  At all.

Or the other family member who my husband actually does consider to be a friend.  He called that family member 4-5 times because he needed advice and wanted to bounce some ideas off him.  That family member never called, "sorry dude, here's 20 reasons why my life was too busy to take your call."  A good guy but not someone to count on.

It's those small things that you can't call out because you'd look petty when you do.  Going no contact based on these complaints would seem crazy.  And we just can't make that leap yet.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 14, 2020, 06:19:20 PM
I just had someone disregard my technical knowledge and my time.  I don't want to get specific but it's partly my fault because I didn't treat the business exchange like a business exchange.  I help people and make relationships in the process.  I rarely take deposits because it just doesn't seem "right".  In almost all cases the effort results in a sale and at that time I AM compensated.  This usually works for me.

This is insane.  I'm a business person.  Luckily in 15ish years of being in business I've only been burned a few times.  Today I was burned and I typed up a perfect response to them.  But I didn't send it.  They don't even realize how insulting they were so if I send this message it will probably land badly.

I'm opting to not reply because I know that the main problem in this whole equation is that I didn't make them pay a deposit.  It's my own fault to blindly trust someone who ultimately didn't respect me anymore than I respected myself.

I feel so overloaded and weak right now.  9/11 was a sad day.  The weekend was spent working hard and then seeing inlaws.  I'm tired of Covid related issues and mandates.  My pet is still alive and doing okay but he's slowing down fast and I know he will die soon.  I'm faced with a pile of work that I do NOT want to do.  And now this.  The betrayal seems so much great than what it is. 

I have to make SOME step in the right direction and get my life back on track.  I need to use this energy to build something great.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 16, 2020, 11:53:00 AM
I'm going through a few rough days.  Lately I've been distracted by a lot of outer stresses.  Small ones that don't really affect me directly such as a family member moving away.  A friend who had surgery.  My dog who has lived a long, happy life and is slowly dying.  The ongoing fact that I can't cheer myself up by making plans with friends (and being reminded of all those who aren't concerned about me anyway).  My "break" from my relationships was difficult to process but now I'm in the guilt mode of realizing that I haven't checked in with even the people I know I truly care about.  I'm sliding into self absorption and pity. 

For instance, a young adult in my family has moved away to an exciting new adventure.  It's a happy thing but very hard for her parents.  I want to reach out with a cheerful text but the fact that they didn't check in with me during various difficult times in my life makes me not do anything.  I love these people but the bitterness of the past hurts.  And it's keeping me from doing the nice things that I'm inclined to do.  Which makes me sad.

But then again, not receiving that kindness from them makes me sad.

I'm planning a big event and I'm feeling resentment of people on the committee who aren't sharing the responsibility.  I have a few high maintenance clients.  My phone rings all the time and I just let it go to voicemail.  I need to make serious changes on how I do business but I'm already working 12 hour days and I can't focus my energy on trying to improve the situation.  A friend is reaching out because I expressed interest in her church and I'm holding back from going.  My husband is okay with this but without his positive support I'm feeling like I'm doing something wrong.  I'm not feeling good about any of this.  So I spend a lot of time scrolling online.  Wasting time.  I have no plan.  I can't even seem to muster the energy to consider when or how I can turn all of this around.

My goal today is to find some time on my calendar where I can get away by myself and recharge.  I need to have that thing to look forward to.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Lookin 2 B Free on September 17, 2020, 09:24:30 PM
Finding time to get away by yourself and recharge sounds like a great Idea!   Another tip I use when I'm feeling overwhelmed is "just do the next right thing."  It brings it all down to a manageable size and keeps me from spinning out on 100 different things at once. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 19, 2020, 09:03:18 PM
A frustrating day. 

Someone on the committee dropped the ball.  Without drafting a whole big post about it - the summary is that I made a decision to take care of the situation.  I know I have one persons support.  The two other people in the committee are the ball dropper's family.  I made multiple texts about the situation today and no one has responded.  Due to the nature of the situation - I deserve some sort of reply.

I have no clue if they are embarrassed that the ball dropper failed and don't want to speak up against their family.  Or if they are pissed at me for speaking up against their family.  Or if everyone, except for me, is having a grand time on this beautiful fall day.

I know that I'm okay.  I'm confident that I handled it correctly.  But it's driving me crazy that not one person responded back to me with either a "thanks for taking care of it", "sorry I didn't do it" or even a "you're outta line".  I even sent a private message to the ball dropper, explaining myself and offering support to her if it's needed.  Still nothing.  It's taking everything I have to not send another text checking in.  I've had to stop myself from texting the one person who supported me (she's out of town and doesn't need me texting this drama). 
Instead I texted a friend who is totally unconnected to these people and vented to her. 

Did I assert myself properly and these people don't like the new me?  Or am I wrong and I didn't do the right thing after all?

I feel so disregarded.  Not valued.  Silly even.  Angry.  I had this whole beautiful day in front of me and I let this situation take over.  I tried really hard to not let it affect my work, or my creativity, or my plans for the day.  I failed and I'm so disappointed with myself.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: athene1399 on September 21, 2020, 12:56:41 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with how you responded, but I think there's also value in thinking about why you wanted a response. Do you want someone to acknowledge that you are picking up the slack? And if so, why?

I find it useful for me to break down situations that bother me and try to figure out why they impact me the way they do. Usually I get triggered when I feel invalidated. So once I realize I am upset over something and realize it's because I am triggered, I have a self-care routine to help myself through it. Otherwise it will bother me and it could consume me.

You may never know why this person dropped the ball and you may never get the others to acknowledge that you picked up the slack. However, it is clear to me that this project is very important to you and you are doing your best to make sure things that need to happen do. And if no one who is a part of this project can see that, then that's on them. Try not to let it drag you down.   
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 22, 2020, 02:13:48 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with how you responded, but I think there's also value in thinking about why you wanted a response. Do you want someone to acknowledge that you are picking up the slack? And if so, why?

I find it useful for me to break down situations that bother me and try to figure out why they impact me the way they do. Usually I get triggered when I feel invalidated. So once I realize I am upset over something and realize it's because I am triggered, I have a self-care routine to help myself through it. Otherwise it will bother me and it could consume me.

You may never know why this person dropped the ball and you may never get the others to acknowledge that you picked up the slack. However, it is clear to me that this project is very important to you and you are doing your best to make sure things that need to happen do. And if no one who is a part of this project can see that, then that's on them. Try not to let it drag you down.

Thanks for posting these questions.  I agree there is value to dig deeper.  I'm learning a few things these last couple of days.

Why did I want a response?  I felt uncomfortable taking over.  I'm not usually assertive like this.  I felt like maybe I was being too rigid.  Maybe even unkind to take over someone's responsibilities.  I was also pissed.  This event is a lot of work and if this person didn't do her part, it would contribute to the decline of the event.  In my gut I knew I needed to take over but it was uncomfortable.  To have no one comment made me feel like I was the only one who cared.  Many of them are family to each other (no me) and I felt maybe they were judging me.  Rolling their eyes about how I'm taking over.

A comment would have made me feel more confident about my actions.  A "thank you" would have meant that they felt the same way.

Yesterday I again felt some frustrations.  We met for a planning meeting.  Two people showed up 1/2 hour late.  Myself and the other gal began with out comment and welcomed the late ones with a simple "hello".  We finished our tasks and agree to run some quick errands and meet back up.  I stayed put and did some work on on my phone while I waited.  When a 1/2 hour passed it was clear that their errands were taking longer than expected.  I was annoyed with myself for not going back to work until the others were done with their errands.  All day long I seemed to be telling myself, "it's okay, you didn't know.  It's okay, I'm sure this will work out."  I did not make good choices for myself yesterday and I paid for it by having to work late.

When I do something - I commit to it.  I do the tasks.  I apologize if I'm late.  I thank people who helped with something.  I am there early to set up, I'm there to the end to clean up.  I am often alone.  No one care as much as I do.  Maybe I'm too intense?  Maybe I'm working with the wrong people?  Maybe I don't assert myself properly?

Feedback would let me know something.  "hey there hopeful - I know you want this done today, but we're not all that concerned about that.  Maybe it can wait until tomorrow." 

Sometimes working on a committee shows me how different I am from them.  Their focus is their children (as it should be) or their close family members.  For instance, I spent this weekend working on the event.  Taking care of that dropped responsibility and working on things I was supposed to.  One gal never responded at all.  Another member went on a golf outing. The other two were doing family events all weekend.  Of course I'm pissed.  I'm doing all this work and they are not.

At this point, self care is telling myself, "just get through this week and it will get better."  Then next week a new challenge presents itself.  I can't seem to break the cycle.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: athene1399 on September 22, 2020, 06:07:17 PM
I would be upset if I were in your shoes.

If this is a long-term committee, maybe either brainstorm ways you can establish healthy boundaries with the other members, like let them know that it is stressful for you to do extra work when the members are late or have maybe picked up one too many commitments. If you feel that you aren't communicating your needs clearly, look up effective communication techniques. Sometimes there are small language changes that we can make that create a big difference in how what we have to say gets heard by others.

If this is a short-term project, maybe weigh how it would be like for you if you just rode it out. And if you can't without communicating what is bothering you, that is fine too. But maybe know for next time that these are people that you wouldn't want to work on a committee with in the future if you can help it.

I hope things get better.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 22, 2020, 08:35:14 PM
I would be upset if I were in your shoes.

If this is a long-term committee, maybe either brainstorm ways you can establish healthy boundaries with the other members, like let them know that it is stressful for you to do extra work when the members are late or have maybe picked up one too many commitments. If you feel that you aren't communicating your needs clearly, look up effective communication techniques. Sometimes there are small language changes that we can make that create a big difference in how what we have to say gets heard by others.

If this is a short-term project, maybe weigh how it would be like for you if you just rode it out. And if you can't without communicating what is bothering you, that is fine too. But maybe know for next time that these are people that you wouldn't want to work on a committee with in the future if you can help it.

I hope things get better.

Thanks again.  It's a short term thing and will be finished after this weekend.  I have already told my husband to keep me accountable and to remind me of this time if I ever talk of working with these people again.

I do stress about coming off as a bitch.  But I think that I've been SOOOOOOO very laid back that people are very surprised when I speak up.  Their surprise makes me think that I've done something wrong but I know I haven't.  For instance, the group met in my home and we were in the dining room having a snack.  One of the women moved her son to the living room and set him up with their ipad.  She then gave him a pile of cookies and directed him back to the couch.  I spoke up and said, "actually I prefer if we kept the food in the kitchen or dining area."  Reasonable I thought.  I said it very off-handedly in a normal friendly voice.  But the mom sort of stopped and said in a very weird voice, "Oh.  Okay.  Well . . . son, here.  Eat this cookie at the table and then go watch your show.  Hopeful doesn't want food on the couch."

For me, I was being very accommodating by allowing everyone to come to my home and bring their kids and everything else.  I didn't even know that kids were going to be coming.  I was happy to do it.  But I don't have kids and I didn't want crumbs and juice on my couch that day.  I had a busy day and didn't want to have to clean up the living room in addition to the kitchen and dining room.  The way she responded and the mood in the aftermath was uncomfortable.  So I deduce that:

1. Maybe I didn't speak as nicely as I thought and maybe sounded like a jerk.
2. Maybe I'm rigid and don't fit in if I can't accept a few crumbs on a couch.
3. Maybe the mom is kinda rude for assuming she could take over my house.  Maybe she was embarrassed that I spoke so frankly?
4. Everyone acted reasonably and respected my boundaries and I'm just not used to any of it.

Thank you for chiming in with your helpful words.  It's helping me get through this week.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on September 23, 2020, 11:09:16 AM
It sounds to me like these peoole you are working with are a social and values mismatch.

I had a similar situation at a church I am "firing" soon.  I was in the handbell choir.  It was great the first few years.  A talented director who could teach as well as direct and elevate the group as a whole combined with dedicated ringers who made most rehearsals.  Over time we had a new music director who was good but not quite as talented, then several ringers moved away or transfered or aged out.  The new ringers were not as dedicated and we were missing several each week. (This is like playing piano with fingers absent, lots of chords and melody notes missing)

Then more and more of each reherasal was spent with several members catching up on social stuff. 

After a couple years if hardly playing because we spent months repeatedly practising the same less than challenging music due to the absences of others i grew restless and started resenting my time being wasted when I never missed. 

It then occured to me that the rest seemed satisfied with the status quo so I just quit and served as a floating substitute when someone could not perform at the last minute.   

The issue was a mismatch of commitment and values.  I have identified that in other regards that the congregation is somewhat of a mismatch for me now.  It has evolved greatly since I joined there 12 years ago.  The types of folks and what they are all about has shifted alot, as folks died or moved away and new ones came.

I am winding up my commitments there even as I visit other churches and look forward to change in my rutted routines.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 24, 2020, 05:29:29 PM
It then occured to me that the rest seemed satisfied with the status quo so I just quit and served as a floating substitute when someone could not perform at the last minute.   

The issue was a mismatch of commitment and values.  I have identified that in other regards that the congregation is somewhat of a mismatch for me now.  It has evolved greatly since I joined there 12 years ago.  The types of folks and what they are all about has shifted alot, as folks died or moved away and new ones came.

I am winding up my commitments there even as I visit other churches and look forward to change in my rutted routines.

This is a great way to view the situation.  Not good.  Not bad.  Just mismatched.  Like socks.  lol.  A mismatched pair of socks works.  The pair warms the feel, it protects the foot from the shoe leather.  But a mismatched pair of socks can be uncomfortable.  To the point of annoyance.  Even when it works.

And you are right - like your bell choir group, my group is okay with everything as it is.  The people are a bit more "selfish".  That's actually kind of a harsh word.  They are going to accomplish their things first, even if it bogs down the team.  I'm the opposite.  I can't work on my own stuff if I'm letting others down.  And I have a list of people who count more than me.  That's got to change.

Today I've actually been able to accomplish things and it feels great.  I almost feel an established "release".  At one point I thought - I'm so glad that rough patch is over.  I'm not going to let myself get there again. 

My ex-husband popped up today.  His delivery service takes over when my regular person is out sick or on vacation.  It was actually a nice visit.  He was (and is) such a nice person.  He's happily remarried for years now.  He has 6 children.  His wife is a stay at home mother.  He's a spiritual person.  He's fit.  Friendly.

When we were married he was unmotivated, overweight, refused to worship with me.  I didn't expect that we'd ever have the money or motivation to have a family.  It's nice to see him in a great light.  But there is still a little sadness that I never got to experience that.  When I remarried I struggled greatly.  I suffered even when my husband cheated on me.  In some ways I feel like I haven't grown since the divorce, a divorce that I wanted.

While joking around he made a comment about how yesterday he delivered to my home, and then to me and then a little later in the afternoon to my ex fiancee (I was engaged to someone else before my first marriage).  He joked about how it was a trip down memory lane.  After he left I thought about what he'd said and I felt embarrassed.  Thinking of how he must have been negatively thinking of me yesterday with all these stops.  It was a weird feeling.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 28, 2020, 04:08:09 PM
The event is over.  It was a success.  I did not like how the event ended but it did end in a way I am not surprised.  It further illustrated that I am planning things with the wrong people.  I was reading into the actions.  But now it's over and it's okay.

I spent most of Sunday in an irritated state.  Two new things happened.  First, My pet's health is rapidly declining.  Euthanizing a pet is always hard.  Even when you know it must be done.  And I will likely have to do it this week.  A pets health can upturn and you think "well, maybe there is more time."  That is where I am right now.  I've had to make these decisions in the past so I know it's necessary and humane.  But still, it's hard.

The second issue is that a family member asked me to sponsor them in a religious event.  The religion I'm trying to leave.  In the role I've been asked to fulfil I'm supposed to be an active participant in the religion.  When I was asked, I was so touched I wanted to cry.  It's a real honor.  Of course I said yes and expressed how much I appreciated the honor.  But now - I know that I need to do something.  If I truly honor and respect the religion that I'm actively leaving I will tell my family member that I can not fulfill the duties.  I will hate that because this family member is such a sweet heart and I truly want to do this with her.

I can switch gears and try to get back into the faith.  Try to appreciate the good things (and there are many good things).  But I'll be faking it.  And I'll have to fake it until springtime when the ceremony and responsibilities will be over.

The reason all this is so "pressing" is because I have intended to truly begin my religious journey in October.  October will be a full year since I've stopped regularly attending services.  This time was sort of a purge.  To give me a clean slate.  I was not excited about starting back up but it was to be my goal to try new things and see where it would lead me.

It's a difficult thing to discuss with my husband.  He's still a member of the old faith although he doesn't practice or really pay attention to any of the rules of the faith.  I've argued with him about this.  Why remain a member of the faith if you don't care about it?  And now I essentially want to do what he does - pick and choose what works for me.  Pretend that I'm all in.  When I'm really not.

I know that when I do discuss this with him he will eventually be helpful.  It's just going to be a difficult thing.

Maybe he was right.  Maybe I was letting all those "hard core faith members" cloud my judgement.  Maybe it was okay to fully believe in God and simply "pick and choose" the parts that served me.  Maybe everything was always between myself and God and the rules of the church were mine to accept or disregard as I wish.

I have a friend who is completely fair and very practical.  She is also of the faith.  I could talk to her and 100% get honest feedback.  But I don't want to.  Deep down I know she will say what I already know to be true.  That I need to let my family member know that I am not, in fact, in full harmony with the faith and that I need to decline the honor.  And I will likely choose to fake my faith and take the honor.

Work is stressful.  The event took time away from me and today I have a lot of work.  A lot.  I'm trying hard to focus on one thing at a time.  Today is hard - but it will get better.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Lookin 2 B Free on September 29, 2020, 11:19:47 AM
I'm so sorry about your pet, Hopeful.  Deciding when it's time to end it is one of the hardest decisions.

I'm wondering why you believe you will want to decide to "fake my faith and take the honor."  Wondering what the benefit would be of that.

We all have our individual situations.  In my case, one of the most harmful effects of living with a PD was not being able to be true to myself and live and express myself in an authentic way.    I was always having to pretend I believed and wanted what someone else dictated for me, starting in childhood which made it hard to even figure out who I was.  In my case, getting beyond the inauthenticity of approval seeking is a top priority for my healing.  So I try to do everything I can to have my outside actions and expressions fully match my insides. 

But your situation may be different from mine.  That's why I'm wondering what would make it worthwhile to spend several months faking a faith.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on September 29, 2020, 05:55:32 PM
But your situation may be different from mine.  That's why I'm wondering what would make it worthwhile to spend several months faking a faith.

It's a good question. 

I grew up in this faith.  I am glad I did because it gave me a good foundation to build a relationship with God.  I have lots of happy memories of childhood and my teenage years because I participated in the youth group.  This faith has been a part of many milestones, family functions, my history.

However, in my quest to be authentic (ironically enough) I have found that this faith doesn't support my relationship with God.  In fact as an adult I'm seeing that the rules and obligations of this faith actually challenges me in a way that is not positive.  I suspect this is how my husband feels as well.  He's content to not attend church unless it's really needed, such as a holiday, a family wedding or that sort of thing. For me, to not have a regular church attendance doesn't feel right.  I've been using Covid as an excuse to not attend anywhere.  But I want a faith family.  I want to grow in my relationship with God and at this point in my life - not attending any sort of church doesn't feel right.

My solution was to start attending other churches.  To find a place that suits me better.  I actually intended to try attending this faith again to see how it felt after an absence, all the while keeping my heart open to other faiths.

Well, to be a sponsor for someone in this faith you must be in complete harmony with the church.  I might even have to prove it by proving that I'm registered in a specific parish.  While I am not "against" this faith, I am not in harmony nor do I attend regularly.

In theory I'm a wonderful person to be a sponsor to another on a religious path.  I actually care about learning about God and not just fulfilling church attendance and donations.  I actually do respect the faith in general and support my family member on their path.

But on paper and by judgement of the church - I'm not suitable.  Unless I pretend that I'm in full harmony with the faith.

I want the honor of sponsoring my family member.  I want to feel that unity with not just this particular family member but all of my family.  To sponsor this family member I need to do what the church asks - or lie about it.

I know that all of this sound really . . . ridiculous.  Even while typing it - it sounds like nonsense.  The obvious solution is to tell my family member, "thank you for the honor but I'm not really the best person for the job.  I will support you nonetheless."  Then she finds a more suitable person who will stand next to her, I attend the ceremony in support and that is that.

But to do this would be to admit to my family that I don't love everything about their faith.  That I'm going to be different from now on.  That I can't fully share in this with her.  At my core - I don't want to do this.  I just don't.

It would sort of be like if a close friend asked you to be their maid of honor and you were like, "yeah, I'm not the best person.  I'll attend your wedding but you go find someone else to stand next to you."

To me,  the benefit of faking a membership to the faith would be that it would allow me to share in something special. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on October 08, 2020, 02:41:08 PM
The posts in the thread about friendships has got me thinking. 

While culling my circle some people were easier to move on from.  Certainly there have been in-law situations which disappointed and hurt me (mostly by my own failings to see the people as they are).  Those have been painful but necessary.  I'm glad I have come to those realizations because it made me focus on my marriage more than my in-laws.

Some friend situations are easy.  People I never truly enjoyed have easily fallen away during Covid.

Other situations are painful.  I've given a lot of myself to some friendships and I'm disappointed that the feelings aren't returned.  I've had to let go of the "idea" of these long lasting, like sisters, sort of friendships that I long for.

I have another friendship that is sort of bugging me.  It's a person who I truly struggle with.  We're bonded by a mutual friend and a few other circumstances.  But she's a person that can drive me crazy.  She's just too coarse and loud, has unkind commentary on everyone in her life.  She does have very good qualities but when I speak of her my husband often comments, "I don't know why you are friends with her."  Anyway, she's someone I would ideally have wanted to sort of slip away.  I've come across her twice recently and both times she's been friendly but not all that interested in talking with me or even "to" me as she usually does.  I'm feeling a bit rejected actually.  Instead of relieved.  And a little worried for her.  Or hopeful that maybe she's taken stock during Covid as well.  Not sure what to make of this.

I have a couple old friends that I do things with a few times a year.  Cherished friends because they are so old.  But frustrating because I'm usually in charge of the outings and arrangements.  They are actually very casual friends but maybe I expect more from them because of our shared history.  Anyway, I've been a little stubborn about them.  I've not checked in and they haven't either.  I've even deliberately not commented on things they post on social media.  I'm not resentful or mad.  Just sort of waiting for them to reach out first.  I want to break that "rule" that I'm the one who is "in charge".  Rooting for them to take the lead.  It's sort of prideful and I'm sure I'll soon break and send that text.  I think about them a lot.  A lot.  I really care about them.   

Over all, when I stop to think about it - dropping the ball on most relationships HAS opened up other avenues.  A business relationship is transitioning to a friendship, although I'm sort of jumping the gun on that one and need to keep myself in check.

An old friend from high school gave me her number and we've got plans to get together with some other old friends for lunch.  I'm not wildly excited about this but they are super nice people with whom I have a shared history.  It could lead somewhere positive or at least be a nice occasional outing.

I just invited a person to an event where I know we will have a shared interest.  We're currently "couples" friends with our husbands and we've never done a girls only outing.  But I'm going to give it a try.  I like this person and I think we'll have fun with the event.  And perhaps it will make those couples outing a bit more fun after I've gotten to know her a bit.

I don't think that any of this would be happening if I were still focused on my in-laws and my struggles with them.  Letting go of those relationships have given me space in my life.  Even if these new relationships don't go anywhere, at least I've learned to slow down and respect what others are willing to give me.  And learn what boundaries I'm needing to establish.

Today I'm happy.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on October 12, 2020, 10:22:16 AM
I'm learning what works and what doesn't.  Or rather that somethings works and somethings don't.

The business related friendship is still business.  That's fine.

The couples friend accepted my invite to do something fun.  That's great.

I cleaned out my garden and invite my one difficult SIL over to take my extras.  She did and we had a nice visit.  I don't hate the woman.  I know she has issues with her FOO.  I just can't have a real relationship with her.  A simple kindness like extra garden goodies is a nice bridge with boundaries.  We shared some lemonade and she started to confide in how she was raised.  If we were real and equal friends I could listen and support.  We are not so I was able to listen and make moves to end the visit.  I feel bad for her because I do believe she's struggling.  But she might also be using me and manipulating me with sad tales.  Only to turn on me later - like she has in the past.

I sent a text to my other in-laws offering them thing from my garden.  Our of the 5 people I didn't receive one reply.  Not a "thanks but not interested" or anything.  I find that to be rude.  And that's where I'm going to leave it.  I'm not going to think of how unworthy I must be to not even rate a quick reply.  I'm not going to be hurt.  I'm simply going to note that these are not people who should rate "first choice" on my things.  Next time they won't get a personal text.  Not because I'm punishing them.  But because I'm not going to waste my time.

Last week my husband and I attended church services at my old faith.  I am mindful of the role my family member wants me to participate in.  We did not enjoy the service but it was good to attend.  It's giving me perspective. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: BeautifulCrazy on October 16, 2020, 04:44:52 PM
I sent a text to my other in-laws offering them thing from my garden.  Our of the 5 people I didn't receive one reply.  Not a "thanks but not interested" or anything.  I find that to be rude.  And that's where I'm going to leave it.  I'm not going to think of how unworthy I must be to not even rate a quick reply.  I'm not going to be hurt.  I'm simply going to note that these are not people who should rate "first choice" on my things.  Next time they won't get a personal text.  Not because I'm punishing them.  But because I'm not going to waste my time.
For me, arriving at this stage was life changing!
It was so freeing to realize that the responses (or lack of responses) I got from some people in my life was a reflection of who they were and where they were at in their personal development, NOT a reflection of who I was, or even their opinion of me. It was perfectly okay to choose not to spend my time, energy and resources on them, without judging myself, or them.

I know I said it before Hopeful, but I deeply appreciate reading your insightful, honest and self-reflective writings in these posts. Even if I rarely comment, I always read them and find they provoke thought and correlate with things on my own journey. Thank you for sharing here.
  :bighug:

~BC 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on October 19, 2020, 11:52:20 AM
For me, arriving at this stage was life changing!
It was so freeing to realize that the responses (or lack of responses) I got from some people in my life was a reflection of who they were and where they were at in their personal development, NOT a reflection of who I was, or even their opinion of me. It was perfectly okay to choose not to spend my time, energy and resources on them, without judging myself, or them.

I know I said it before Hopeful, but I deeply appreciate reading your insightful, honest and self-reflective writings in these posts. Even if I rarely comment, I always read them and find they provoke thought and correlate with things on my own journey. Thank you for sharing here.
  :bighug:

~BC

Thanks so much for sharing and for those kind words.  I too find great comfort on this site when I learn others struggle.  And not just have a few bumps in the road, but truly STRUGGLE to sort out their lives and other people.  It helps me to realize that I'm not alone and that maybe the people in my actual life struggle too - and just don't show it.  Which generates compassion from my heart.  I always leave this site in a better place with excellent food for thought.

Well, I do continue to struggle to separate myself from my in laws.  There are just so many triggers that make me feel "less than".  I do take them personally but really - these are people who are bouncing off the same people they've bounced with for years.  They are doing exactly what they do.  What works for them.  What makes them feel good.  And I participated in their game for almost 20 years.  I'm different now.  SO DIFFERENT.  Drastic changes in my marriage and my health provided the spark to change myself.  The new me does not fit into this family anymore.  I'm trying to hard to accept that it's okay.  And I'm trying hard to not judge these people when they do something they've always done.  I don't want to consider myself "better" than them.  But I do want to be okay with my growth and not let them hold me back.

In other news.  My husband and I have come to an agreement to attend church services every other weekend.  I'm not enjoying the services but I'm doing it so that I can continue to share this with my husband and to participate in a family members journey.  I feel a sense of peace about this and I'm using the time in church to really be aware of everything I dislike as well as the things I will miss.  The sense of community is strong and it seems like I really need community right now.  But the actual faith is lacking.  I'm not truly growing in Christ where I am.  But I am more peaceful with this new arrangement.  It's my intention to respectfully participate in this religion how I choose but to also search out different bible studies, musical events that appeal to me - regardless of what faith it is.

We put our dog down.  Which was a difficult day.  But a relief as well.  The poor thing was suffering and it's true that humans keep animals alive too long for our own benefit.  I wish I had put him down a week earlier.  There is less joy in our home.  My husband and I both seem to feel a bit of disappointment in it only being us.  I feel like less of a family without another living creature depending on us.  Probably this is just temporary.  But it does make me feel the lack of of children in our life.

And today back at work I'm trying to get things back on track.  To not waste a whole day.  There are a few challenges that have popped up over the weekend and at the moment I really DO want to give up on my business.  I work so dang hard.  Much like the rest of my life - drastic changes need to happen.  I just need to gather the courage to do it.

I have just realized that when I want to make changes I hold back because of other people.  My religion for instance.  I was stressing and searching for a way to make the changes I want without upsetting, my husband, my in-laws, my own parents, my godchildren, my traditions, my persona as a church going person.  Like even now I'm compromising with attending every other week.  I'm doing it because I want my husband to be with me, because I want to help a family member, because I want to be a part of the community in upcoming family events.  So I've found peace with this.  But I really don't want to be there anymore.  I don't value what they value.  I don't believe all the rules that I'm supposed to belief to get to heaven.  I don't want to register there.  I don't want to give them money.  But I'm not ready to do what I need to do so I'm half-assed doing what others want me to do.  And I can't decide if it's okay to baby step or if I'm just being pathetic about it all.

And that is what is happening with my business.  I'm trying hard to figure out how to change things without upsetting my current customers who have grown accustomed to my laid back way of doing business (and more specifically, the freebies and the lax deadlines).  And you can't do this.  You can't make the huge changes that are needed without upsetting a few people.  I WILL lose people but I WILL gain much more.  I HAVE to do something.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on October 23, 2020, 11:08:33 AM
"When you are broken but not bold you become a bystander."

This is a quote I heard recently.  I am thinking of the times that I was wronged.  Like truly, in my heart, without a doubt WRONGED and did nothing. 

To the times I was young and wronged by my parents and family members.
To the teachers or leaders who weren't fair.
To the romantic relationships where I was wronged and disrespected.
To the friendships where I allowed wronged behaviors to prevail.
To my business ventures where I willingly took the short end of the stick (wronging myself here).
To the big events in my life where I wasn't respected, wasn't valued, and wasn't treated right.

I have been broken time, after time, after time.  And I took the high road.  I remained calm.  I outwardly allowed it but inwardly seethed.  I accepted unsaid apologies when I believed that others couldn't.  I've accepted, I've relented.  I've "reasoned" it all out and said that I was okay.  I pretended to have peace.  I thought God wanted me to be meek.

I was the opposite of bold and now - I am a bystander in my own life.  This beautiful wonderful life that I have because I was safe and played by the rules.  And put complete trust in Jesus.  I have been blessed beyond measure in many ways.  But I am a bystander, and a sad one at that, because I wasn't bold.

Today I'm closing up shop for a week or two.  Why?  Because I know in my heart that I need it.  I know that I need a break to get myself settled at home (finally) and to have some breathing room.  I've worked hard for years and now I can take a little break and let my husband worry about things for a bit.  While I'm closed I'm going to be looking for bold ways to make changes.  New rules.  Things thrown out.  Even if they "seem" hurtful or selfish.  I know that I am a kind, fair and decent person.  I know that I will not do anything that will hurt others.  So it's time to stop hurting myself.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Jolie40 on October 23, 2020, 02:40:16 PM
" it's hard for me to admit that I can't do it all.  I can't run a business, run a household, have family and friends, volunteer AND keep a perfect yard. " said Hopeful Spine



I always say "woman can have it all, just not all at once"

used to try to do too much but not anymore
this body has only so much energy, lol


it's good you're taking a break from the shop, Hopeful Spine!
you deserve it



Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on October 23, 2020, 05:05:38 PM
it's good you're taking a break from the shop, Hopeful Spine!
you deserve it

The amount of relief I feel is astounding.  I still have to do all that work - but having the luxury of a week off (a little over a week with the weekends in play) has made me so so happy.

One of the women of the recent committee I worked with (the committee I was feeling taken advantage by) reached out after I announced it on social media.  She had 3 items that she needs from me.  With tight deadlines.  One of which is a big ask.  I immediately replied back and tell her how overwhelmed I am.  I also answered her requests with a "no", a "maybe" and a "yes, but I'll need you to do xyz".  Hours later she's not replied back.  Not even to say, "hope you're okay."

That sucks and that tells me how she values me (she values me when I do what she wants me to do).  I'm going to act accordingly and not pay any attention to the requests.

Thanks for your words of support!
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on October 29, 2020, 10:28:16 AM
Shutting down my work for a week has been eye-opening.  In the beginning I've made the commitment that I HAVE to complete everything in my work pile.  I'm learning now that maybe it's okay to contact people and say, "sorry - things have changed and I'm no longer able to help you."  The type of work I do is very special but not truly important.  If I say "no" I'm not going to ruin anyones day.  However, saying "yes" to everyone is certainly ruining mine.

I'm noticing who is respecting my choice to close my office and who is taking advantage. 

I'm focusing so hard on my work and I'm grateful to learn how supportive my husband truly is.  I'm allowing myself to let other things slide.  My FOO wants to get together.  But no one wants to plan it.  In the past I would have told my sibling to not worry about it.  I would have fielded opinions from my parents, checked in with my husband, called my SIL, stressed about my other sibling before finally getting everyone on the same page.  When my sibling texted I actually typed out "Sounds great.  I can check in with M&D".  I actually argued with myself that it wouldn't take long until I relunctantly deleted it and typed, "Sounds great.  Let me know what time to show up."

My husband and I had a good conversation about religion.  We've worked out a temporary compromise that puts us on the same page and makes us both happy.  I know that long term I won't want this arrangement but it suits me (and serves me - and us) for the time being. 

My birthday was last week.   A few friends that I distanced myself from did not mark the day in the way they usually do.  I'm okay with that and it made me think, "okay, it's mutual.".  I was pleased with those who did.  The newish business-related friend sent me a really special text and that was a really nice feeling.  I noticed that I was waiting for a few other people to message me and was relieved when they did.  This seems like a problem to me.  To be waiting for that connection with someone, to be expecting it and to be holding my joy until I received it - those are not healthy relationships and I need to untangle that.

It's so helpful to post here and keep myself accountable.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on November 07, 2020, 11:58:46 AM
Feeling a little different today.  This past week was a wealth of new feelings and new reactions to old feelings.

Monday - Volunteer meeting where the bully was in full force.  I fulfilled my commitment to the meeting.  I helped out a gal who was the target of the bully that evening.  I felt not an ounce of guilt for not helping with a list of projects that I believe are a waste of time.  After the meeting I left, without hanging around to partake in the the bitch session that always follows these meetings. 

Tuesday - Election day.  I voted and then avoided all news about the election.

Wednesday - A friend invited me to her bible study and I went.  I liked it.  However, I wasn't fully comfortable.  These women were light years ahead of me in terms of knowledge, kindness and decorum.  I was surprised to see a person in attendance who had fallen greatly a number of years ago.  Like, even worse than my husband had.  The beauty and compassion of watching her speak and the ladies reacting to her with kindness was humbling.  It was hard to go but I was happy I went.  I will probably go again.

Thursday - my parents stopped over unexpectantly.  My house was a mess.  Literally the ONE day this week that I had left it in disarray. I could tell my mother noticed.  I didn't fuss, apologize or make excuses.  I know how I live.  I know how complicated my life is these days.  I don't care that my home was not perfect for them.

Friday - This was a low day.  I didn't feel well physically.  I declined two jobs, one of which was a long time customer.  I know it will put her in a bind but the last minute time line was not going to work for me.  This client is usually fair but demanding.  I know she's upset but it would actually hurt my business plan to switch gears and assist her.  I hated to do it but I said no. 

Anyway, even though I had made great strides this week - it was weighing on me.  A friend was having serious health issues this week and those updates were happening on a regular basis.  I managed a lot of things internally over the week.  I went to the gym out almost everyday and I stuck to a mostly healthy eating plan.  Those efforts paid off.  I confided in my husband and with his help my attitude improved and were able to pretty quickly move on to more positive things.  I went to bed happy last night and woke up this morning brimming with the energy and creativity I desperately needed.  In the midst of difficulty I'm happy to report that it was a good week.

A few other softening strides.  On social media an in-law shared an old photo of themselves with their first child.  It was so old I did a double take.  This is an in-law who I considered a friend but she dropped off after starting a family.  Looking at this photo I was a bit sad.  Had she allowed me to be in her life I would have remembered that hairstyle and the onesie the baby was wearing.  I felt like I was looking at a stranger.  And I guess I sort of was.  These days I feel like a stranger to myself.  I'm changing so much and needing to seriously prioritize my responsibilities and the people in my life.  Possibly just like she had to do when she found herself with a baby.  I was hurt by peoples actions but MAYBE it wasn't so personal.  Maybe there is some wiggle room to start over with fresh expectations and boundaries.  At least with this particular person. 

Another wake up.  Someone who I felt was taking advantage of me is also going through some health issues.  Our relationship is mostly positive but can be complicated and I've been hurt by her.  I texted her to see how she was and she replied favorably.  I then shared something small I was dealing with and she replied back with something sort of self serving, basically blowing me off.  I noted that exchange without any feelings of self loathing.  It's not that I don't matter.  It's not even that I don't matter to her, because she's shown me in the past that she does care.  I was able to identify that this is HER limitation.  That I can accept it, but that I should also draw back a bit.  With that text exchange she's proven that she's special but also not a good fit for me to count on her.  I can care for her, help her, enjoy her.  But I need not bend over backwards for her like I would a truly mutual friend.

This all probably sounds pretty braggy but I don't mean it to be.  I'm just pleased to be feeling so good after such a stressful week.  This is how I want to feel all the time.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on November 16, 2020, 10:26:18 AM
A little "self care" Monday.

It's been a rough couple of weeks.  LONG work hours.  Sleepless nights where I would just get up at 4:30 and get to work.  Covid stress in our area is ramping up and our businesses are slowing down.  It's all come to a head this past weekend.  My mother stopped in to "help" a few time which I was gracious and accommodating because I think she's feeling low and I wanted her to feel some satisfaction of assisting me.  She's, along with my MIL are both starting to stress about the upcoming holidays and neither of them will make their thoughts clear.  My husband and I feel like we're the ones who will have to take control of the situation and deal with our siblings.  DH and I are doing great but we've been busy with home repairs and it's really just been a hard couple of weeks.

We had a party with the in-laws Sunday.  I did stress about going most of the weekend.  The main PD sibling was hosting and the siblings that hurt us the most would be coming to town.  My husband met up with most of them on Saturday.  He felt obligated because the last time this sibling came to town they only notified a select group of people (my husband was not included) and my husband expressed his disappointment.  Only to have them "blame" him for not being included.  So.  Since this time he was included he made sure to thank them and make an extra effort to participate with a good attitude.  It seemed to work and he came home Saturday night only a little irritated that they asked him to be a designated driver.  But on Sunday he was in a difficult mood while we both anticipated the party.

The party was okay.  But stressful.  The PD sibling was nice to us (because they were hosting) and I was cautiously gracious in return.  The party had challenges beyond her control and she seemed to "check in" with me each time there was an issue.  I was supportive and nice, but not overly friendly or helpful.  She was appreciative.  Even pecking me on the cheek and said "thank you for being here". 

Then - she zinged me.  In her I'm pretending to give you a compliment in front of a lot of people and then zing you in a "nice" way and make you uncomfortable.  To be honest - I really do think she was trying to be nice this time.  But since it's usually a zing that's how she delivered it.  Unfortunately it fell flat as many zings often do.  But I looked stupid - not her.

I was planning to break the ice with my awful in-law.  I really was.  I had listened to a podcast that was teaching about forgiveness and bitterness and I have to admit that I AM bitter.  This person has a hold on me that keeps me quiet.  Their past actions still haunt me and even I feel silly for holding a grudge all this time.  But I couldn't do it.  I never can.  I really and truly do not want to.  I'd prefer for her to be alive and healthy, but for me to never see her again.  The hold she has is powerful and is hurting me. 

When I enter a party I scan the room to see where she is.  I intentionally do not visit the buffet or bathroom if she is near.  If her husband is somewhere I will chat with him but I'll see how close she is.  If she's too close I will not sit.  I want to be free to get away.  I will say hi to her children but I will first check to see where she is.  If she's watching me I don't want to linger.  If she's close and my husband is with me I stress that he doesn't say anything that I suspect she won't approve of.  I do this during the whole length of the party.

I know it's not healthy or strong to NEED an apology from her.  But that seems to be the missing key for me.  I don't want our old relationship back.  I don't want to rebuild a relationship.  I really want the satisfaction of her to say, "I was wrong.  Your husband is a good person and I shouldn't have said the things I said."  She doesn't even have to say the words "I'm sorry."  Just an acknowledgement.  That's all. 

If she said those words to me I could look her in the eye and say, "Thank you for those words.  I know you said the things you said because you felt you were protecting your children.  You were profoundly hurtful and I'm not sure we can become friends again but I truly appreciate that acknowledgment."

I KNOW it's not going to happen.  Two years ago I sent a very simple text to her which said that I had hoped we could be friendly at an upcoming holiday.  She replied that nothing would make her happier.  To me that was the first move.  A nudge that if she wanted to make things right that I would be welcoming.  But she didn't want to, or couldn't, carry the ball the rest of the way. 

I feel that this mess is her fault but I also know that the situation is now my responsibility.  (I read that somewhere).  It's NOT her responsibility to make me feel better.  I need to feel strong and confident on my own.  But I'm struggling.  It's been too long and it's not healthy.

I'm considering trying again in a way that I can manage.  Maybe sending a text that says, "I wish things were different but they are not.  I don't like being uncomfortable at family functions.  I intend to make a better effort to be sociable.  I hope that is okay and we can better enjoy family functions."

Beyond all of that the party was okay.  People did act the way they usually act but there was a sporting event that sort of gave us all something to focus on.  I had fun seeing my nieces and nephews and I was happy to experience that they all seemed to enjoy talking to my husband and me.  Especially the ones that belong to my difficult in-law.  They are in their late teens and so very special, smart and wonderful.  That bond we had with them when they were younger has still paid off and it was a joy to visit with them.  Maybe that is enough.

To top the whole thing off - the PD sibling posted photos to social media.  She posted all the fun happy pics of the event.  DH and I were not included but everyone else, including the family friend, was.  The party was held in a public place and she even had photos of all kinds of popular people who obviously happened to be at the same venue.  I don't think that she's done that as a specific "f-you" to my husband and I.  I really don't think that she sat in bed last night, on social media, selecting all the best photos except for ours.  But I do believe that she had photos of everyone but us.  And to me that is the ultimate "f-you".  The F meaning "forget".  She's taken photos and posted what she wants to remember.  Not us.

And it's all just a huge mind game.  I don't WANT to be friends with people like these.  I don't want to have the responsibility of playing their games and making the invisible alliances that are needed in this family.  I don't want the fakeness and the effort all of that requires.
 So I shouldn't give a crap about any of this.  But the rejection from family is hard, hurtful and difficult to process.

So I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself today.  And ashamed that I can't get it together to not give a flying fig about the difficult family member.  And a little sad in general.  But I'll get past it.  I've spent time journaling this and now I'm going to take an hour or two to do something special and fun.  I really don't have time for it today but I'm going to make the time.  Then later this week I will share some of this with a trusted friend who will give me the honest feedback that I need.

And I'm going to start researching therapists.  I'm going to eliminate this problem in 2021.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on November 23, 2020, 11:30:02 AM
I've had some unusual thoughts and feelings lately.

A business associate that I once tried to network with is getting on my last nerve.  I think I'm jealous.  I have zero invested in this relationship and when we did speak it was nothing but nice things.  I literally have nothing to base my negative feelings on.  But she's semi local to me and achieving some extraordinary things so she's around.  She working on things that I do not want.  In a business circle that I'm not interested in participating.  But she very vocal on social media and she has tons of support.  I don't know her well but she seems very arrogant.  Maybe I wish I had her confidence?  I'm not understanding why I felt the need to unfollow her and then go back to her site to see it all again.  I seem to have trouble letting go of people who I don't like.  I often visit the social media of people who are outspoken and seem to get under my skin.  I should be wishing them well and moving on.  But for some reason I keep tabs on them.  Why?

My in laws.  A few of my nieces and nephews are involved in a sporting success that our community values.  A recent win has brought a lot of excitement to our community.  My most troublesome in laws, like the other parents involved, are being very braggy and vocal about all this.  And . . . I don't mind.  They have earned this excitement and pride through their children.  I have to say, no matter how much they bug me - I have to admit they are great parents.  I find myself being happy for them and happy they have this wonderful time to enjoy.  I really like this feeling and I struggle to understand why I get so edgy about all the other crap?  The other crap seems to involve them being jerky to my hubby and I but why do I take it so personally and then at times like these I feel such happiness FOR them.  It's a mind fuck for sure.

I seem to be getting better with friendships.  I recently met with a friend who I am casually having coffee with on a monthly basis.  And I have to say, I really like how this friendship is going.  We're mutually sharing.  Mutually helping each other.  I'm comfortable and I00% look forward to and enjoy our visits.  THIS is a relationship that works for me!!!

I'm a bit disappointed that a new person I reached out to hasn't responded the way I want.  We were supposed to do something together and I wasn't able to due to Covid.  I gifted her the tickets, we each expressed our disappointment and then nothing.  She didn't follow up to thank me for the tickets, or to tell me that it was a nice time, or to try to get together again.  I mean, it's "okay" because it's not like I'm super trying hard to develop this friendship or anything.  But my husband casually mentioned that her husband said she was going to be doing something with friend and I had a pang of jealousy.  Which is kind of silly.  Obviously she has her own circle of friends and I shouldn't be expected to be included (I didn't want that and would not have wanted to attend) but it does hurt a little that I tried and she hasn't tried back.  Again, maybe I'm longing too much for positive friends and I'm reading too far into things.

The newish friend who I have gotten to know through business was really sweet to me on a particular day.  I think our relationship is invested in our businesses but it seems to be the sort of relationship that can last for years.  Much like parents who become friends because of their children.  Sometimes that friendship lasts as long a the school years or the children relationship.  Other times it can grow beyond that.  I think that is where I'm at with this person.  I'm learning that this person doesn't have to be my "ride or die".  And I'm okay with that.

One of my customers yelled at me.  I'm doing an order for an older woman and she seems to have expectations that I did not reach.  She's very set on a specific timeline (which I was unaware) and finally let me know I was failing.  I was upset with myself for failing her.  I didn't react very well.  I was very apologetic, flustered and looked like an idiot, if I'm being honest.  After she left and I calmed down I realized how unfair she was.  How unrealistic she was.  How I should not have put up with that.  I texted a very good friend and she said the right thing and I was able to regain some of my composure.  I hate disappointing people.  But in this case, I've learned that sometimes people WILL be disappointed and that doesn't mean that you completely suck.  It's okay.

I have an upcoming event with people who traditionally take advantage of me.  Today I'm being mindful of that and working to get my boundaries in order before I reach out to them to discuss the event.

The most troubling thing is that I'm spending a lot of time thinking of these relationships and wanting new friends - to the point that I am slacking a bit on my work and the potential new things I could be doing for myself.  I don't know why I'm so focused on friendships when I'm struggling to keep up with the life I currently have going.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Lookin 2 B Free on November 24, 2020, 03:34:40 AM
I spend a lot of time thinking about my friendships too, Hopeful.  Meaningful human connection is an important need, I believe.   I also think those of us who grew up in PD homes and didn't get our needs met, didn't have secure attachments, have lots of feelings triggered with subsequent relationships.  I don't know if that applies to you, but it does to me.  I hope some of these new promising relationships work out for you!
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on November 25, 2020, 10:27:46 AM
I spend a lot of time thinking about my friendships too, Hopeful.  Meaningful human connection is an important need, I believe.   I also think those of us who grew up in PD homes and didn't get our needs met, didn't have secure attachments, have lots of feelings triggered with subsequent relationships.  I don't know if that applies to you, but it does to me.  I hope some of these new promising relationships work out for you!

Thanks for those words of support.  My mother did not encourage friendships.  She didn't like driving me places so of course would never pick up a friend of mine to do something fun.  Anything that was "fun" was a chore for her.  Things like dressing up for a school dance.  Getting tickets to a teen event.  Even getting permission to go with a friend for ice cream was hard.  She'd usually reply with something like, "I don't know why you think you need to go.  Those girls don't really like you anyway."  She loved (still does) the drama of a difficult friend.  Or someone who made a mistake.  Those were happy days where she could gloat or gossip.  She should have tried to get me to see that a difficult friendship might mean that we weren't a good fit.  Or that maybe I needed to focus on more healthy friendships.  Or that maybe a friend was having a rough time and I could cut her some slack.  Instead she made me feel like when I encountered someone mean or difficult - it was my fault somehow and I needed to either fix myself or endure the person.  Walking away was never an option.

I grew up thinking that the reason you get a friend is so that you have someone to gossip about.  And all that rings true to me today.  Up until a few years ago I collected as many friends as I could get.  A lot of my conversations with my husband would go like this, "Yeah, so I GUESS Karen is really upset with her husband. She always says she's going to lay down the law and she never does.  And her kid is acting up and she can't figure it out.  I told her to xyz."  My advice was always great.  lol  And then at lunch the following day, I'd gossip about it a bit (just a little) to my other friend. 

That is how I got along so well with my mother.  She knew all the secrets of my friends.  When she was feeling low and I'd try to talk to her - it wouldn't improve until I said, "oh hey, guess what Jane told me yesterday."  Slowly my mom's mood would improve and we spend hours talking about everyone we knew and how poorly THEY were leading their lives.

Of course I'm learning that none of this is appropriate or kind.  Letting certain friendships drift away is the kindest thing I could do.  Stopping my gossip sessions with my mother was hard but also the healthiest thing I could do.  I'm now able to feel regret after I know I've overshared to others about things that are none of my business to share.  I'm doing better but it still happens.  I struggle with new relationships.  How to accept their flaws and cut people a bit of slack.  How to think positively of others.  How to be PROUD of my friends for being real instead of judging them for their shortcomings.  To "have their back" instead of "stabbing them in the back" with gossip.

I look at my life and the people in it and I am grateful to have these feelings.  I look at my mother and see how lonely she is.  I listen to her complain about her sister, who is her one friend and I feel sad.  I know how this is all tied together and I'm happy that I'm starting to untangle it all.

In other news - I felt relief and excitement to learn that my in-laws won't be getting together for Thanksgiving.  When I learned that we wouldn't even be visiting his parents I was even more happy.  A whole afternoon and evening with just my husband and I!  No stress of dealing with the main awful in-law.  No concern that we're being bumped out of a portion of the celebrations.  No effort to make idle conversation. No concern on who will be in a good mood and who I'll have to avoid.  No making food that may or may not get eaten because my other sister-in-law would passive aggressively "forget" to put it out.  No passive aggressive "compliments" either!  No hurt feelings when I watch certain people mingle with other in-laws and snub me.  No irritation when the family friend shows up and everyone fawns over him but treats my husband like dirt.  No long conversation on the way home and into the evening as husband and I decompress from the day.  No stress of recuperating the following day.  No photos on social media where I am not included.  Relief!!

My husband seems pleased too and it was his choice to not even visit his parents.  We're looking forward to making our own food and relaxing all afternoon.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on December 11, 2020, 10:14:26 AM
Feeling a bit of a victory today.  I made an error on my social media page.  An PD inlaw "helpfully" sent me a message to alert me and then baited me with a line of "wow, you seem really stressed, I hope you're okay."

My breezy, and mostly true, reply - "Thanks for the heads up, we women need to stick together.  Busy but doing great.  Hope you have a great weekend."

She replied back with helpful advice to take time for "me". 

I replied with a thumbs up.

Why is she being so caring and thoughtful?  She knows that we're taking a mini trip to a city she's familiar with.  I believe she wants to be cozy and friendly so that I will officially tell her about our plans so that she can advise me on all the places to go.  So that at the family party she will be able to show off to the rest of the family how much she helped me and how well she knows this destination city.

The "old old" me would have replied to her first message with a reveal of how stressed and overwhelmed I am with a variety of things.  I would have written paragraphs, searching for a connection with her.  We likely would have traded messages all day.  I would have thanked her profusely for directing me in the travel advice.  I'd feel good and chummy with her and THEN at the Christmas party I would be hurt when she would undoubtably pay zero attention to me.

The more recent "old me" would have blew off the stress and acted cool as a cucumber and "casually" listed all the ways I'm rocking my life.  Then I would have bragged a little about our weekend plans.  We likely would have traded messages all day where I would eventually reveal how stressed I actually am and my anxiety about taking the little trip.  Then at the Christmas party she'd bring it all up and act like she helped me through it all.  And then ignore me the rest of the evening.

The current me is my favorite.  Instead of wasting time and investing myself in any way I replied in a friendly way and moved on with my day.  Sure I'm wasting a bit of time bragging here but the difference is - I do not have to regret oversharing with the in law.  I don't have to follow up on the conversation at Christmas.  And I will have zero interest or opinion on the way she chooses to treat me at the party. 

I still feel a little like, "man I wish it were different" but I know it will never happen.  We've been playing this game for close to 20 years and it's never happened.  It feels good to make the decision to protect myself and my husband.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on December 14, 2020, 06:15:07 PM
Why is she being so caring and thoughtful?  She knows that we're taking a mini trip to a city she's familiar with.  I believe she wants to be cozy and friendly so that I will officially tell her about our plans so that she can advise me on all the places to go.  So that at the family party she will be able to show off to the rest of the family how much she helped me and how well she knows this destination city.

I guess the laugh is on me, in a way.  So I felt good with how I handled things.  The In-law even came to my work and casually mentioned the trip I was taking.  I was vague, "oh yes, we're leaving soon.  We're excited." Then I smoothly directed the conversation to her child, which worked.  Boom.  Once again, I was flying strong.

We took the trip, had an amazing time.  Then the person we visited posted a photo of us at a museum, with her thanks to us for making the trip.  It was sweet.  There were comments on the photos so I looked.  The PD in-law had posted.  POSTED on my persons photos.  In-law doesn't know this person.  She'd have only seen it because DH and I were tagged.  Yet she posted how she'd been to that museum many times and it's a great one. However in her "multiple" travels to that city she has found that she prefers another museum far more.

At first I laughed.  Then told my husband and he laughed.  I share this whole saga with him.  About how I was careful to not get tangled up in her web and all that.  We said things like, "typical of her."  "There she goes, bragging about all the places she's been."  She acts like she such a world traveler."  "She doesn't even know the photo poster, why is she commenting?"

I couldn't believe how crafty and cunning she is.  I worked so hard to avoid the drama.  Then she worms her way in.  In a typical fashion.  Better actually.  In the other manner, she would have been showing off to only me.  In this way she's showing off to my person as well as any of our social media friends who catch it.  Which includes, many, many people.

Not to mention the family Christmas.  She will bring it up again.  She'll ask if our person took her advice to visited the preferred museum.  She'll behave like she's very interested and she will do it around her "crew".  She WILL make it seem like she discovered this long-standing museum and that she's somehow responsible for us attending.  She WILL.

And we shake our heads and marvel at how silly it all it.  If anyone sees her comment they will see a sweet, slightly braggy post.  Nothing more.  Some wouldn't even consider it braggy.  If they heard our complaints, they would think that WE were the ones making a thing of this.  But we know.

This was a perfect lesson on how to keep those boundaries up.  And to become stronger when things like this happen.  Or block her, which is a whole other thing.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on December 15, 2020, 02:22:23 AM
Wow, seems like it might be a Christmas party to miss some years.  Hopefully she wont mess it up entorely for you.

I can think of all sorts of  snarky responses, but can never come up with them in those situations.  For humor I will share.

I read up on the various museums, the reviews indicated that the __________ was more popular with seniors, oh.  Well I might try it on a future trip.

 We wanted to see a cross spectrum of what _________ has to offer, and not miss out on the excitement.

I think its a little pushy tuat this person pusjed into your work place after you deflected on the phone.  Does she stalk people?

Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on December 15, 2020, 11:26:19 AM
Wow, seems like it might be a Christmas party to miss some years.  Hopefully she wont mess it up entorely for you.
I can think of all sorts of  snarky responses, but can never come up with them in those situations.  For humor I will share.

I read up on the various museums, the reviews indicated that the __________ was more popular with seniors, oh.  Well I might try it on a future trip.

 We wanted to see a cross spectrum of what _________ has to offer, and not miss out on the excitement.

I think its a little pushy tuat this person pusjed into your work place after you deflected on the phone.  Does she stalk people?

Love these comments.  But yeah, I wouldn't, couldn't, shouldn't say anything like this.  lol.

She's not a stalker.  She's a bait you on her hook and then walk away from the fishing pole person.  While I struggle underwater - she's off, focusing on others and pretending that she's not even a fisherman.  She will interact with others with the confidence of knowing that she has supper waiting for her, IF she feels like eating fish.  Then when she retrieves me, she will expect that I will feel gratitude for her rescuing me - right before she devours me.  I suspect that she has many lines in the water.  I'm not alone.

The whole thing continues (nothing exciting but it's continuing). 

So, I replied to my friends social media comment and I praised her hospitality and our enjoyment of the whole trip.  I completely ignored my in-laws comments about the museum, which I suspect annoys my in-law.  The old me would have replied something like, "oohh, I should have hit you up for suggestions, you always know the best places."  But I didn't even "like" her comment, which sent a message.

Then yesterday, I posted my own photos and travel update on my personal social media.  Even though I posted several comment worthy photos my in-law replied with a much more bland, "looks like you had a safe and fun trip." 

From my experience with her, I know that she is pulling back and trying to bait me.  You see - she wanted to show off on my friends post.  "look how much I know about the place you visited"  She wanted myself and my husband to also see that even though we went to a nice place - she had done it first, and more often AND other things as well.  But she was able to cloaked this under a friendly comment to a strangers post.

But then when I post something (and I included my friends photo in my collection of pics) she's not interested in commenting on anything.  Because her same sort of comment WOULD look braggy to "one up" my travel post.  Also we went to some quirky locations that many people have no interest in going.  She wouldn't be able to easily have a crafty backhanded comment that would make her shine.  While others are commenting how "cute" my husband and I are and how cool the places were - she didn't want to contribute to the compliments, especially since her sibling was in the mix. 

She would never compliment my husband.  But she will use him/us on Christmas to make herself shine in front of other family members.  I suspect that she will praise my husband, in front of others, for the fun trip we took.  He will agree that it was a nice trip and then she will say, "When I went on business . . . . Then when I went again with my super fun friends . . ."  And the conversation will transition to all her travels.

This will not "ruin" the party for me.  I am expecting it and I will try to be prepared.  The way I'm feeling this year is a huge step up from parties in the past.  So whatever.  But it does feel good to vent a little on here.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on December 20, 2020, 04:47:56 PM
I had a positive experience while dealing with a PD person yesterday.  DH and I had to stop by an in-laws home for a specific reason.  These are in-laws that we get along with so it was a nice stop and they had some friends over that we enjoy.  They had another set of friends over that I'd never met.

I immediately did not like the woman I'd never met.  I couldn't place my feelings but I just did not feel comfortable with her at all.  I smiled, said "hello" and smiled at the conversation that was already in progress.  When the men went elsewhere this woman (I'll call her Jane) turned to me and said, "So Hopeful, do you have any kids."  It was so direct and specific I was taken back but it was easy to answer, "no we don't". 

"Well, don't-cha want kids?"

"I think most women consider having children at some point in their lives."  I answered carefully.

"But you don't, huh?"

"Well, that ship had sort of sailed for me . . ."  She immediately interrupted me with,

"Do you want my kid?  He's lazy, boring and won't give you any trouble."

"If he does yardwork I'd consider it."  I tried joking and then made a completely random comment about the dog who walked by.  My in-law also tried to redirect the conversation.

"Huh!  Yardwork, yeah right . . ."  She went on to complain about how the kid does literally nothing.  My in-law tried to make a completely random and abrupt compliment about this womens necklace.  Jane used that opportunity to brag about how her father spoils her, which completely angers her mother.  Then in the next breath she get's back on track with the children conversation.  She had more complaints, this time about her stepchildren.

"You know what, I think I'm going to head out.  Excuse me."  I left and went to find my husband.  A short time later we said our goodbye's and left. 

It felt so good to STOP the toxic conversation and to leave.  The old me would have stuck around so that later I could have gossiped with DH about all the things she said.  The old me would have enjoyed the conversation and been slightly excited to learn that other people have their own issues.  I'd feel better, remembering the train wreck of conversation.

But I found this woman to be completely toxic, inappropriate and draining.  I realized that she wasn't targeting me or trying to make me feel insecure about not having children.  She truly just wanted to complain and gather pity for her life.  On all levels.  Beginning a conversation about children was her way to begin.  I was able to share the conversation with my husband, laugh about it even, and then move on for the rest of the evening.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on December 22, 2020, 12:08:09 PM
She would never compliment my husband.  But she will use him/us on Christmas to make herself shine in front of other family members.  I suspect that she will praise my husband, in front of others, for the fun trip we took.  He will agree that it was a nice trip and then she will say, "When I went on business . . . . Then when I went again with my super fun friends . . ."  And the conversation will transition to all her travels.

This will not "ruin" the party for me.  I am expecting it and I will try to be prepared.  The way I'm feeling this year is a huge step up from parties in the past.  So whatever.  But it does feel good to vent a little on here.
[/quote]

Lord HELP me!!  The family group texts are starting and she's doing it.  She's poking.  My husband makes a specific holiday related thing - for a living.  She has revealed that she is bringing the same specific holiday thing - from another company.  Sure, there is nothing wrong with her bringing this thing.  Nothing at all.  However, it's a bit insulting.  A bit, "I want what you make.  But I want a better one.  So I'm purchasing from another company and bringing it.  Now everyone gets to use the "better" product - right in front of you."

I swear I sound petty and crazy but THIS is how it begins.  This is the beginning of the carnival ride.  Right now I feel like I'm getting the punishment for not "playing along" with the museum comments on social media.  I SO want to be above all of this.  I do NOT want to anticipate that she will be super friendly and nice when I arrive at the party.  I do not want to anticipate that she will deliver a backhanded comment in front of a room full of people, making her look good.  I do not want to anticipate that after she has done this she will ignore me and blatantly worship the one in-law that has really hurt me.  I do not want to KNOW for certain that she WILL show me the thing that she brought and casually mention how she just had a craving for it and "oh yeah, I guess I COULD have asked your husband to bring his. Silly me.  But isn't this thing amazing?"   

I have to hand it to her.  She is an expert.  One text - and I sit here, weak and insecure.  I so want to be better than this.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on December 23, 2020, 06:44:04 AM
Such as this is why I quit FB years ago.  It was the only reason I had these folks in my radar. 

I decided if people were really in my life it would have to happen offline, by phone by text or email or snailmail. 

These narcs need ak audience and social media is that audiemce in my mind.

If I had a dinner party or bbq they wiuld not be in the room, yet online they are all in the room.  I left that room.  I have not missed after the first week or so when I would reach for the phone from habit.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on December 28, 2020, 06:46:54 PM
If I had a dinner party or bbq they wiuld not be in the room, yet online they are all in the room.  I left that room.  I have not missed after the first week or so when I would reach for the phone from habit.

Quitting social media is not an option for me as I need the presence for my business.  But there is a lot of truth to what you are saying.  These people are getting an invitation to look into my life whenever they want.  And insert themselves whenever I wish.  I can tweak my social media to amend this and I should.

The Christmas party was "okay".  My in-law used a few cutting remarks which I disregarded.  She tried to make me feel insecure about something and I didn't allow it.  She was rude.  Flat out rude.  I grey rocked most of the day and it wasn't too hard.  I look around at my other inlaws.  Other people who married into this family are in the same boat.  I noticed many of them sitting pleasantly and not getting involved.  I chatted with all of them however I have to be careful because if I chat too long that warm fuzzy feeling starts and then we end up complaining a little.  And that is just a slippery slope even with the people I enjoy.  So I sat on the fringes of conversations with a smile.  And waited for my wonderful husband to finally turn and say, "so it's getting late, are you ready to go?"

It hurts so much to watch the people who hurt me - giggle, laugh and enjoy themselves.  I used to get along with these people.  They used to like me.  I miss being liked and being part of their little jokes.  But as my husband pointed out - they liked me when our marriage was weak and I "needed" them.  They liked me when they felt sorry for me.  Now that my marriage is strong and I'm happy with my life - they don't have much interest in me.  He asked me what I would rather have:

1. The sisterhood of these people and the obligations of gossip, devotion and being subservient to them.  The fun of our outings even with the toxic price of admission.

or

2. A strong marriage, a good business, my fun plans with my husband, my dream home and a smaller amount of REAL friends.

Obviously I want option #2.  My life was totally CRAP when my marriage was weak.  I just wish that these people would keep their good points and ditch their toxic natures.  Be kind.  Be inclusive.  Be truthful.  It's not hard to support others.  Not for me.  I wish their fun didn't come with the stress of knowing I'm only half included and half welcomed.  I wish their compliments didn't come with a bite. I wish, I wish, I wish.  But it's time to let go of wishes.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on January 02, 2021, 11:32:45 AM
Last night we went to visit some in laws that my husband wants to better build a connection with.  It was interesting to attend and later reflect.

Hi brothers are really fun.  They use alcohol as a glue and coping device.  I would not consider them "healthy" but they are kind and welcoming and loving.  They are not interested in "one upping" or hurting anyone.  I was glad on that score to have attended because it made my husband feel really great to feel included around family.  Now, the wives of these brothers.  One was a person I invested a lot of time in and was disappointed to learn that I didn't matter much to her in the end.  She didn't purposefully hurt me or anything but her disregard of my (time and again) did hurt.  The other wife has always been very aloof and private and not much interested in me (or anyone really).

At one point in the visit I wandered into a room with these two wives.  I wanted to be friendly, to chat a little.  There they sat, complaining and bitching about their spouses.  They have awful frustrating marriages.  They welcomed me into the room and allowed me to participate in the bitching.  I sat for probably 5 minutes, listening to their complaints.  Then I stood up and left the room.  I didn't even use the need or a bathroom or a drink or anything, to walk away.  Quite simply, I had nothing to contribute.  I'm happily married.  My husband and I have the sort of marriage that we both want.

The old me would have said all the right things to attach myself to them, with the hopes of a stronger relationship with them.  I would have participated in the complaining, egged them on a little, and enjoyed the warm glow of sisterhood.  Last night I felt sad for them.  And bored.  And full of the knowledge that unless I complained about my husband - they weren't interested in me.  I'm just lucky that there was a dog in the room to distract me for the 5 minutes.  Later one of the wives wandered into the main party and we were able to share a few laughs.  I realized then that I have "forgiven" her for whatever hurts I feel she imposed on me.  I have accepted that she is who she is and that our past relationship was mostly a fabrication of what I wanted in my life - sisterhood.  I can speak to her without anger or pain.  I might have some judgement towards her for how she's running her life and not trying to better her situation - but I'm able to walk away without taking any responsibility for her choices.  This whole thing didn't make the visit super fun but I enjoyed myself.  And aside from this reflection today - I'm not concerned or interested in what these women are doing without me.  I truly, truly, do not want to be included anymore.

Which brings me to my other in laws.  One who really did HURT me.  In a humiliating and awful way.  Never apologized.  I only see her on major holidays but she occupies a great deal of my thoughts.  I can't seem to achieve forgiveness, acceptance or really anything positive with her.  I dread seeing her, I dread parties where she will be in attendance, I take days to recover after seeing her.  I resent the family members who are nice to her.  It's like I refuse to move on.

The other in law is someone who seems to try to like me, but can't help herself and she uses opportunities to cut me down.  I think of her often too.  My goal this year is to completely heal from these people.  To not need them.  To feel okay with my boundaries against them.

I hate the idea of people who go NC because it seems so sad.  Especially when it's one person in the family leaving the rest.  But I'm realizing that this family is never going to be what we want.  We can work as hard as we want to have a "role" in the family but likely, we're always going to be what they want us to be - the scapegoats.  And his sweet mother who is so nice.  A lot of her avoidant behavior has created these personalities.  It's hard to not resent her.

So, a lot to unpack this year.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on January 02, 2021, 12:04:18 PM
"It's not a "grudge", it's a healthy refusal to accept toxic behavior.  A grudge would be rejecting a genuine apology and change of behavior "

Just read this on another message board.  I feel wear and petty for not being able to forgive that SIL.  I felt like I was holding a grudge against her and should just get over it already.  Except that I don't want to.  Plus she never asked for forgiveness or showed remorse.  Plus she hurt me in the past in a similar fashion (which I did successfully stuff away my hurt and pain over that one.)

Am I actively NOT rebuilding a relationship with this woman?  Yes. 
Has she shown interest, remorse and a true understanding of what her actions did to me?  No.
Am I holding a grudge towards a person who is trying to make things right - NO!!!!

Maybe I need to lose the feeling of guilt and personal weakness I feel as a result of not rebuilding a relationship.  Maybe I just need to remain firm in my boundary to not allow this woman into my life.  Maybe I need to stop rumminating about this situation until she gives me a reason to reconsider?
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on January 11, 2021, 08:54:07 PM
I am finding, more and more, that I allow my PD in-laws get in my way.  Here I am.  A whole day and evening wide open.  A "to do" list that is incredibly long.  I should be hitting that list (which has fun things on it BTW) But I'm imagining grand schemes of these in-laws.  Arguments on why I'm "right" when I choose to avoid my SIL.  I even had a dream last night that my SIL walked over to me and was very friendly - like she used to be.  I was so happy and we were happily catching up with out lives.  Then our conversation went to the incident  and she refused to accept responsibility.  Even in my dream I was crushed and woke up feeling betrayed.

It's like I WANT a stand off.  I want others to nudge and push so I can blow my top and react epically.  This, by the way, would be highly out of character for me.  But it's all simmering there and I'm just stirring it - instead of dealing with it.  Today it feels like I'm letting my hurt of the situation hold me back from being successful and productive.  I need to change this.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on January 28, 2021, 05:25:01 PM
I received a text today from my in-law.  The spouse of the SIL who really hurt me.  We are invited to something special since I am a godmother to one of their children.  HA.

It's funny how a few lit-up words on a screen can really alter your day.  I have to admit that this isn't the worst sort of text you can receive.  But since reading it I'm feeling ugly and tight in the chest.  Obviously I don't want to go.  I doubt my husband will want us to go.  The invite text was clear that our attendance was NOT needed (they do live in another state) and the invite was only extended due to my godmother role.

So it wasn't even a "I know we've had our differences but I really hope you can make it.  It would be nice to see you."  Nope.  No sort of acknowledgment that they know I'm hurting.  Just a "show up if you want to" invite.

I would love to decline and say, "I'm sure you understand that I would not be comfortable being a guest in your home."  But that only pokes the bear that has no intention of rising.  I suspect this in-law, would say, "Okay, suit yourself."  And I'd find myself humiliated to confirm that they really DO NOT care.  I'm not strong enough to learn that.

I'll probably say something mild like, "Thank you for the invite.  We won't be able to make it but I'll be sure to send my gift and warm wishes with another family member."  Grey rock.

I know that my mother and father in law will think we're being silly and we should all just get along and play happy family.  They won't say anything to us but there will be small comments.

I also know that other people in the family will judge us for not sucking it up and going.  After all, so much time has passed and who cares anymore - right?

And right now I do feel pathetic.  That I can't shake this.  That maybe I appear to be a petty person who can't get over a slight.  That I'm "precious" and need approval and stroking.  I sure feel small right now.  And sad because I know that if I would have glossed over all this years ago that we'd all be friends now.  I'd probably even be happy to receive this text.

But not anymore.  She hurt me too much.  I literally couldn't MAKE myself smooth this over.  I put the ball in her court and she kept bouncing it with the others.  Instead I'm forcing myself to remember the things I've been through and they ways I've forgiven massively in my past.  The ways I've been rewarded for staying true to my feelings.  The abuse I've endured in my past and the ways I've turned around my doormat behavior.  The ways that I have been making radically positive choices in the past year.  And the ways I've been quietly mindful of the changes I still need to make.  I have grown greatly in my relationships, in my devotion to specific things, in my efforts to get to a more authentic place.  I am not a small pathetic person by any means.

But this situation endures.  I'm mourning it in the most f-ed up way possible.  I'm trying to forgive something that was never apologized for.  I'm trying to extend love and respect to children who are innocent.  I'm having to get my footing while watching all the others support the jerks.  I'm having to find a balance between being part of this family and respecting my own feelings on the matter.  I'm struggling with my inclination to be nice and my very real desire to drop the rope and run.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on February 15, 2021, 02:49:01 PM
One thing I'm finding helpful is to disengage.

A difficult client?  I reply to an email with the game plan. No soothing, no apologies, no carefully worded replies to "make" the client be happy.  I can't force an difficult to please person to be pleased.

A high maintenance friend?  I answer a text with short replies and move on with my day.  At the risk of sounding arrogant, I know who I am.  I've given greatly in the past and I can take a break. 

A college kid wanted to job shadow me.  I instantly had the sinking feeling of "oh crap, I don't want to do this but I should try to accommodate."  I actually started thinking about how I could possibly make this happen for this person at the least amount of stress to me.  Then I reread the students (poorly worded) email.  My heart string pull made me feel obligated to help but that feeling in my stomach said, "NO, you don't have to do this."  I drafted a reply with a list of reasons and then deleted it all and sent two sentences that nicely said, "no".  I actually haven't thought of it again until now.

A family party where I didn't give a hoot about anyone who had an attitude - it actually was a fun night.  I held my tongue on the way home about certain people and that felt healthy.

I'm letting go of offenses.  A friend and her husband stopped to see me and I found the husband to be a bit mean, to be honest.  I felt he was rude and in the past I would have used that as a dinner topic with my husband.  In the middle of a conversation lull I thought to bring it up. But I realized that I'd be whining about basically nothing and I found something better to talk about.

On the flip side - I gossiped and complained about a specific person.  A new person I am networking with brought up a mutual persons name. We seemed to share the same opinion of this person and we discussed her a bit.  It was sort of relevant but mostly I was enjoying the communication with this new person in my life.  Afterward I realized that I had over-shared with someone who is not yet a friend.  I made a mental note and moved on.

I made some decorating choices and don't hate them.  In fact I love a few of them.  It making me feel awesome to be doing home repairs and renovations and loving all the new things I'm learning.

I'm posting whatever I want on social media and not worrying if it's braggy or inclusive, or "the best".  I'm getting a lot of great feedback.

I joined a planning committee and things are starting to be being dumped on me - so I'm scaling back and at the next meeting I will say no.

I just STOPPED thinking about religion.  My husband and I went to a service and it was awful. I did not feel bad leaving early.  Someone recently asked me if I was a certain denomination and I was honestly able to say, "sorta of.  I'm feeling nudged so I'm in between faiths right now."  I didn't have shame, anxiety or anything.

I had a few weird things happen lately.  Things that in the past I would have made a big drama out of.  Instead I took care of the situations, discussed them with my husband and am patiently waiting for the next step in these situations.

I'm not totally chill.  I'm still not on track with my work.  I'm stressing about bills and work balance.  But at least I seem to be getting to a place where I'm focusing on more important things.  Soon I will be forced to make the necessary changes to get to the next level.

But I've found that more often than not - I'm happier just hitting send.  Leaving.  Starting something.  Less thought, more action.  I have failed on a few counts but overall - it's getting better.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on February 23, 2021, 09:57:39 AM
A neighbor contacted us.  We're sort of friends.  She's newish to town and doesn't have a lot of family.  Her husband flipped out on her and she had no choice but to put him in a psych unit of a hospital.  She came to us and unloaded and asked for help.  She's got a lot on her plate.  Listening to her story obviously made my husband and I revisit our past and we felt blessed to be able to share a little with her and give her hope.

My private reflection is of gratitude.  While listening to her talk I saw my old self in her words.  I saw a person who worked hard to "save" and "fix" everything but passively allowed it all to get worse.  A person who continued to take on far more than she should to "help" her husband.  On our couch I saw a wonderfully strong woman - but I didn't see her doing strong things.  That was me. 

I experienced a lot but I allowed drama to swirl around me.  I allowed people in my life to take over.  I considered myself strong and there is a lot to be said for a person who endures a great deal and still has hope for the future.  BUT.  But it took a serious offense for me to really do the hard work and start the transformation into a strong woman.  And making hard decisions is the only way to strength.

I'm still not there.  Even in trivial relationships I allow pettiness and jealousy to cloud my thoughts.  I hold back on life because it's easier to do what is right in front of me - instead of moving forward on my own path.  The difference between my past self and my current self is that I used to consider myself to be the strongest person I knew.  But I have learned how much effort strength takes and I don't always make the right choices.  This knowledge sometimes depresses me.  Makes me feel worthless because I know I'm not doing the hard work.

Her words chilled me,
"I just know that if I can see him . . .". 
"I just want to be able to . . ."
"I can't believe he said that.  I know it's not him . . ."
"If only . . ."
"I just wish . . ."

She seemed so sure of herself in a situation that was clearly out of her control.  Out of anyone's control.  But she really thought she had the power to still fix it.  And I do that too.  Except I've gotten lazy and I sit and think of how everything would be fine, "if so and so would only do this . . .".

My hope is that my neighbor is able to grow from this experience and I intend to be helpful on some level.  I am grateful that my situation forced me to grow.  I thank God for what I went through, I really do.  I would do it all again to get to this level. 

My hope for my own self is that I find my way out of this current state I'm in.  The realization that my life, while good, isn't what I want it to be.  That something is wrong and I have to start making the proper choices.  I have to do the hard work of saying "no" and I have to remove people.  I have to stop participating in situations that are unhealthy for me.  In 5 years, I hope I look back at this time and see that I've grown and know that I have gathered strength.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on February 26, 2021, 10:38:49 AM
Soon it will be 2 years since my medical issues began and today I'm taking stock.  Even though I have a lot going on - I am "better" in many ways.  I'm really starting to recognize how my actions have contributed to a lot of my issues.  Ignoring signs that people weren't interested in friendships, allowing myself to be around people who aren't good for me.  Passively letting things happen or doing and saying things that I knew didn't truly serve me.

I've been looking around and realizing that I've have a lot of issues with a lot of people.  In-laws - all selfish, toxic people.  Clients - take advantage of me and don't "get it'.  Friends - are rarely there.  Volunteer groups where I work with others - there is always someone that is "awful" and gets in the way of my enjoyment.

Well.  Some of that might be true.  But most of that is me not being able to handle things.  Me-feeling too deeply.  Me - wanting to be perfect. Me. Me. Me.

So I throw the blame to them.  They.  They.  They.  They are the problem.  What is wrong with people?  I can't believe THEY act this way.

But I'm realizing that I have no boundaries.  I have no lines.  I'm practically begging people to walk all over me.  And it's caught up with me.

I find the more that I focus on my own shit, the happier and less judgemental I become.  When I'm painting a room the most beautiful color, I'm imagining what I will hang on the walls.  When I have a quiet moment I tinker online to get ideas for my garden in the spring.  I'm planning get-aways to enjoy with my husband. Or planning something special with a friend I really care about.  When I do these thing I stop worrying about how hurt I am over an inlaw.  I forget about the "friend" who let me down.

It's harsh and humbling to realize how many mistakes you've made in the quest for perfection.  Some days I don't like myself.  But other days - I am excited about the day in front of me.  Or I reach out to new people who end up being lovely.  Or I find myself getting edgy inside and I make the choice to step back from whatever is happening.

It's not them - it's me.  This is the exact opposite of what I've been telling myself for years.  I'm just glad I spent years being nice to others.  Now I know how I should treat myself as I sort through the things in front of me.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on March 01, 2021, 09:32:10 AM
A rough weekend. 

A friend was disappointed in a decision I made which had a small effect on her.  Without going into details, I changed my mind on something and sent her a nice but neutral text explaining my decision.  The situation is not a high stakes situation and she's not being put out or held back.  This shouldn't be a big deal.  She replied with "okay".  Obviously she's pissed.  And it can't be helped. 

Then I attended a family party and my mother behaved badly.  I know she get's uncomfortable and nervous at these sorts of events so I expected her to be "off".  But my (somewhat special needs) sister attended with her (special needs and almost grown) child.  They live a life very different from ours and they are somewhat estranged (their decision).  They look and act very different from the rest of the family.  And it drives my mom nuts.  My mom kept bossing and correcting my niece and even made loud, unkind comments toward her - once when she was getting her photo taken with the guest of honor - in front of the whole party.  When she demanded that my niece do a specific thing, and my niece didn't listen, my mom repeated herself and roughly poked my niece.  That's when I spoke up and told my mom to stop.  And she did.  And she was really nice to niece for the last 20 minutes of the party.

But it made me feel awful.  I felt transported back to a time when my mom would shut me down and belittle me.  Sometimes humiliate me in front of extended family (and I'm even "normal" and was pleasing to her).  I always felt their kind pity but no one ever spoke up.  I just felt small.  Even now I can work a room (until my inner introvert says "stop") and chat with most anyone.  But when I'm around my extended family I am still small and quiet - almost rudely so. 

The situation with my sister and her children is very complicated and I don't blame my mom for having feelings over it.  And this niece is a strange mix of legit developmentally disabled and a result of just poor parenting.  It's 100% not my nieces fault that she's not "normal".  Or whatever my mom considers normal to be.

To be honest I don't think my sister and niece even figured out what was going on.  They are sort of removed from reality in a way that is hard to explain.  But my mom looked like this awful person in front of everyone.  I even felt compassion for my mom.  She's not "awful" and I know it was a hard day for her.  I don't understand why she just can't love them for who they are.

Adding to all this is the fact that I've personally been doing a lot of great things in my community.  She's 100% not interested.  I shared my latest venture and she was like, "oh that's nice" and she changed the subject.  She far prefers me when I'm struggling and stressed about situations and others.  Lately I have been more confident and excited about things - no interest.  When I talk about home improvements she tries to poke things by saying, "oh I bet your hubby hates all this extra activity."  When I say something like, "eh, he doesn't really mind.  I just tell him when I'm going to need his help and he makes time."  She usually says something like, "oh.  Well that's good I guess."

And I always feel like, "Hell yeah it's good.  Great even!  Ten years ago I was living in a shitty house, dealing with a shitty husband, and stressed all the time about my work and most of the people in my life.  Today I'm running errands with my happy, happy, wonderful husband, and pulling into the driveway of my dream home.  I'm healthier and happier than I've ever been.  Deal with it!"

Even though I feel terrified that I've ruined things with my mom (over a simple comment) and regretful that I didn't bend for my friend - I do have to realize that the history (and love) I have with these people is still there.  I'm just so unaccustomed to speaking up that it feels like I did something awful.

I worked crazy hard on Sunday to not dwell on these feelings.  I really, really wanted to crash on my couch with fast food and some movies but I made myself work on my home.  I made a healthy meal plan and got the groceries.  I listened to positive podcasts.  I didn't confide in anyone other than my husband.  I didn't reach out to my friend or my mom to try to invite a resolution.  My friend IS allowed to be upset.  My mom is allowed to want her space from me after I spoke up to her.  I can't force them to respect what I did or said.  It helped greatly that my husband (the most critical thinking I know) was on my side.

And it's a relief to confide here.  Probably someone read along and understands.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on March 08, 2021, 06:08:31 PM
Coming Out of the FOG is so interesting.  At one moment you can feel awesome, powerful and in control.  Then something happens and you question yourself.  Soon something else chips at your confidence.  Finally you are back in the fog, wondering if you are an awful person for setting boundaries.

My friend hasn't contacted me since I put up a boundary.  She doesn't really need to, I guess.  It just feels unfinished.

My mom hasn't contacted me either.  Not even to say hi.  Again, this is kind of normal, she will often go weeks without calling, waiting for me to call her.  But she's been so uninterested in me lately that her being quiet after I put up a boundary - well, it makes me feel weird.

I put up a boundary with my husband yesterday, my wonderful husband.  He acted very put out in a way that didn't make sense to me.  I do understand that he's under a lot of pressure and maybe my boundary just landed badly.  But it flared up some anger in me.  A small series of minor issues put me in a mood today so I opted to text him with a truce.  And he's not replied.  Which really makes me mad.

Add to the mix a bunch of commitments and a lack of money - things are getting pretty tough right about now.

I don't know how to have the balance that is necessary to forge ahead.  I don't have the confidence to know that my marriage, my friendships, even my relationship with my mother, is strong enough to survive a few boundaries.  I have been worried that I'm being self centered.  My desire to keep my neighbors at a distance makes me feel like I'm uncaring.  My relunctance to take care of a few clients makes me feel lazy. 

I was feeling incredibly bad a few days ago.  The more I try to do what I want (hobbies, focus on my house, hang with my husband) the more I feel like my life is very small and silly.  Not having children makes me feel small and silly.  Being concerned about my weight (because of my appearance and not my health), seems silly and vain.  My frustration with a church service seems like a weak excuse to give up.  I just don't feel like I'm living the right life.  Like I accidentally got dropped into someone elses life and I'm trying to make sense of it. 

Covid, and all it's glory, just never goes away.  Difficult people just linger in my life and I can't cope.

I owe so much money right now.  I can't raise it and it makes me feel like a shit business owner.  I shared this with  my husband and he said all the right things to show me that I'm doing okay.  But I don't believe him and on top of that I feel pathetic for crumbling.  Especially now that he's shot down my boundary.  It's hard to appreciate someone when you feel weak and silly around them.

I know that tomorrow will be better and the end of the week will be better yet.  Bills will be paid.  My husband will be okay again.  I'll find my footing again and it will all be fine.  I know this.  But today sucks.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on May 15, 2021, 10:15:31 AM
A few thoughts I had recently.

I was feeling bad about myself.  I've been so judgmental lately and I finally realized that of course I'm being judgmental.  I'm trying to sort out who is "safe", who is "worth it", who I truly like (vs who I put up with for various reasons).  Sometimes being judgmental is okay.

For instance, I was guilted into participating into an event with a casual friend.  I found myself at said event being very judgy about her.  I was nice, pleasant and professional but inside I was having a catty bitchfest with myself.  Later I felt awful about how I was feeling, how I internally treating her.  I was ashamed of the kindness and compassion I did NOT show in my thoughts toward her.  After I calmed down and the event had passed I realized that while this person did make mistakes (ones I knew she's made) that my judgement was misplaced.  My mind and body was telling me that this person is not "worth it".  I should not have bent over backwards for her.  I should not have made the efforts I did NOT want to make.  While my judgements were unkind I eventually realized that I had only myself to blame for making myself do something I did not want to do.  Lesson learned.

I now know that I am to continue to nice, pleasant and professional to this woman but that I am NOT going to do any favors that I do not want to do.

So sometimes judgment is needed - to help me figure out how to move forward with a person or situation.  This is different from when I went to my very good friends home and I internally judged her for her extremely messy kitchen.  Not cool.  My friend is gold.  Absolute gold.  She could not be the golden person she is if she was tied to her kitchen and making it perfect.  And so I learned that sometimes judgement is out of place and that my choices do not have to be the standard of others.

This is a daily, sometimes hourly battle with myself. 

Another thing I've been learning is to accept reality.  A group of women I interact with has some "mean girls".  Not truly mean but it's clear "who is who" in this group.  And I'm important and valuable to the professional group we serve but I'm not popular.  I'm often fighting with feelings of insecurity, jealousy and hurt.  Recently we all did an event together and while everyone was nice it was clear that most of them weren't interested in really talking to me.  So I took control.  I focused on the people we were there to serve.  I make an extra effort to strike up conversations with the women.  And I did have some nice conversations.  When it was over I cheerfully packed up my things and said my goodbye.  Later I received a "sorry" text from one of the nicer ones.  They had all gone out for a drink after and forgot to invite me, or rather though that I already knew.  A silly thing and I did have a pang of, "sure, whatever."  But I know this group.  Maybe someone did forget, maybe another assumed, but I know the rest were enjoying the satisfaction that they were included (invited and considered) and others (me) weren't. 

But the reality is that I don't really fit with this group.  I'm not made for group activities.  I like "one on one" activities.  It's a good group to be a part of but I haven't found any real connections here.  They will always share rides.  They will always text and have little side relationships.  So I texted a nice, "no worries" message and went on with my day.  It hurts a little but it's truly okay because I know what I am getting into with these people.

I'm also starting to realize that on the days I feel productive and happy - I tend to reel it in and my head starts spinning.  I think of my inlaws and the latest drama.  I think of the ways I've been hurt.  I'm trying to stop this cycle of self sabotage.  Slowly I'm catching up, saying no, and finding a place for these negative feelings.  But they always come back and try to take me down.  Some days I win, somedays I don't.  It's something I'm working on.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on May 15, 2021, 05:15:13 PM
It sounds like a lot of healthy post fog living is going on.

I hope all of this forwards you along the best possible path. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on June 16, 2021, 09:32:40 PM
I need to blow off some steam.

I had been over-extending myself.  And I knew it.  And it was making me unable to focus.  I'd go to work and mindless scroll on-line.  I didn't even try to do anything simple or even fun.  Just the very bare minimum.  It was a bad feeling but I couldn't force myself to work.

Then my husband had a health concern and I grew even more fearful.  Anxiety, stress, serious feelings of despair.  When his test result came back okay - the relief was instant and I was able to see how far behind I was.  I was able to pull my shit together and tried to get back on track.

The following week was horrible.  Issues with some of my business shipments, deadlines, all kind of things.  I was working and productive but exhausted.

Then we had a fire on our property.  A big one.  All the bells and whistles.  While we're safe and our home is safe - it was scary and a devastating loss.

I'm not okay.  This year has been a series of issues.  Some of my own doing (like over extending myself) but some things that are truly out of my control.  This fire is really the end for me.  I closed up my office for a couple weeks to focus on fulfilling my current obligations.  And to deal with the things you have to take care of after you have a fire.

I had to post something on my business social media and I am projecting a positive outlook (i.e. glad to have our home, glad no one was injured, etc.).  People are responding with kind comments and raving about how amazing my outlook is.  I mean, I do believe the words I've posted.  But this is NOT easy.  I'm not okay.

This has continued to open my eyes to those who are good for me and those who do not care.  Some people are checking in.  Some people are not.  Strangers have been more comforting and caring than some people I considered close.  Some clients are extra comforting.  Others (ones I've worked my tail off for) have barely acknowledged my loss.

I'm going to disclaim this by saying that I'd never harm myself.  Never.  And I know I sound like I'm hopeless.  I'm not.  I know it will be okay.  I know that good things will follow.  I'm blessed that this has made my husband and I closer.  Like I said, I'm blowing off steam.

But I am done with everything in my life.  I am ready for drastic changes.  And I don't care who falls out of my life as a result.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Poison Ivy on June 16, 2021, 10:54:13 PM
A fire! That sounds awful. I too struggle when people don't understand that just because I'm holding up okay on the outside, I'm not necessarily doing great on the inside. Do we have to fall apart to get some real sympathy?
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on June 16, 2021, 11:32:59 PM
Do we have to fall apart to get some real sympathy?

Thanks for listening.  Yes, I feel the same way.  Sometimes I think people consider me simple minded or silly instead of strong and brave.  At different times in my life I've endured some truly difficult stuff with very little support.  I know who I am and what I can do.  I'm just glad that my husband understands.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on June 18, 2021, 10:55:44 PM
I am sorry for your loss.  I am glad your home and family are safe.

I can relate to coming to a place in life where you need a reset.

I also have been through a lot.  I am at the pivot point and am tying up loose ends and trying to work against momentum to get my life heading in another direction.  It's like I have got the old momentum almost stopped but it's going to take more effort to get the ball rolling in new direction.

I am tired and want to rest and run from it all however I realize at the same time the effort is in part for me this time.  It's about my future and I am tryi g to keep the efforts up at tad longer so things will roll where I want them to.

I hope that you also find things going towards your best life path soon.

Leaving some folks behind will be painful perhaps but being free from their pdness might also be its own reward.

I hope all goes well with the insurance company etc. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Oscen on June 21, 2021, 11:59:58 AM
Hi Hopeful Spine,

I've let myself drift away from two "friends" who weren't good for me. No regrets.

Sorry this has been a hard time. Take good care of yourself.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on June 21, 2021, 06:04:52 PM
I also have been through a lot.  I am at the pivot point and am tying up loose ends and trying to work against momentum to get my life heading in another direction.  It's like I have got the old momentum almost stopped but it's going to take more effort to get the ball rolling in new direction.

I am tired and want to rest and run from it all however I realize at the same time the effort is in part for me this time.  It's about my future and I am tryi g to keep the efforts up at tad longer so things will roll where I want them to.


Thanks for your kind words and commenting.  My husband was saying the things you are saying.  He's just tired.  In the past he's wanted to change to please his parents, or me.  Or to fit in with his family.  Once he realized that he needed to change for himself - then everything else would fall into place.  It's been working - for both of us.  But we have setbacks. 

We visited his family on Father's Day.  His family barely acknowledged our struggles.  A few in-laws asked and we could feel the disinterest from his actual siblings.  They made comments that sort of downplayed what we are going through.  It's like they resent that we have a legit struggle going on and don't want to admit that things are hard and maybe we could use a little sympathy and support.  So instead of saying the right things or behaving as if they cared - they sort of implied that we should be over it already.

Except for his mother - who fawned over us completely.  Too much actually.  It was a tiring visit and I could tell that it hurt my husband.  We had a family friend who suffered a fire not long ago and everyone was banning together to assist them in small, meaningful ways.  No one in his family is doing that for us.  If we brought this up - they would undoubtably point fingers and saying that we're selfish and petty.  So we say nothing.

Today I am trying hard to turn things around.  Sometimes I can lean on excuses in order to skate responsibility.  I could easily do this with the fire as an excuse.  I won't.

Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on June 21, 2021, 06:14:35 PM
Hi Hopeful Spine,

I've let myself drift away from two "friends" who weren't good for me. No regrets.

Sorry this has been a hard time. Take good care of yourself.

Thanks for listening.  Sometimes I feel like I must be the most judgemental and high maintenance woman in the world.  I'm always so disappointed with people.  And maybe my expectations are too high - I don't know.  I just see so many people doing the bare minimum for me and I don't understand it.  I texted two of my oldest friends and they both replied back with bland, "sorry to hear that - glad you are okay".  I don't expect to hear from them again for awhile.  Until the next time we have lunch.  I've never considered this - but maybe it is time to drift away.

I never want to "quit" anything.  To a fault.  I'm doing business the same way I've always done it because I know what is expected from me.  I can change it up anytime I want and I don't.  I actually LOVE that I'm closed right now.  Love it.  I can't imagine acting on that feeling and quitting what I'm doing.  But maybe I need to. 

So to "quit" a friendship because it's not measuring up - seems callous and cold.  I've been trying to adapt.  To down grade my expectations. To be "okay" with what they give me.  But it's not okay.  Maybe they are doing anything "wrong".  Maybe they are giving exactly what they want to give.  But it feels wrong to me and maybe that is enough of a reason to move on.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on June 29, 2021, 02:32:54 PM
I'm not okay.  Life is piecing itself back together after our loss.  I'm taking the time I need, but it doesn't seem like anything is improving.  I'm working all the time and I don't seem to be getting closer to the goal line.  I don't have time to work out or do my hair.  Or paint my nails.  I can barely complete laundry and I'm only washing dishes when I see a bug. 

I'm constantly plagued by feelings of self doubt.  I'm finding time to resent all those who are letting me down.  I'm jealous of others and their lives.  But when family or customers stop by I am Positive Patty. When I share a bit of the truth and those people walk away I'm pissed that I was so negative.  I'm staying away from social media because I waver between wanting to appear strong and faith-filled vs. wanting to be real and risk pity.

I want sympathy and comfort but I don't want to appear weak.  So I choose the narrative of being strong and then I resent people for believing (what I've told them) that I'm okay.  Someone made us a meat loaf and I was so, so, so happy.  It was like a quiet acknowledgment that they know life is hard and that I need a little help.

I'm keeping many responsibilities.  I just keep saying to myself, "finish that commitment, then you can clean your space, then you can replace that item, then you can fix yourself up.  Then you can take a day to shut the door and relax." Over and over again.  I'm a fucking mess.

I know what I need to do.  I need to do a huge mike drop and turn this thing around.  I need to disappoint people.  I need to leave a few commitments hanging.  I need to be direct, curt, a little rude.  I need to say "no."  I need to not worry about that covered dish for that party I really don't want to attend.  I need to NOT fulfill that volunteer responsibility that I made when I was fully able to assist.

My life is different now. Not ruined, not awful, not tragic.  But it's different and I can't keep operating as if it is all okay.  IT'S NOT!!

I feel like I'm failing.  At everything.  That I was probably failing all these years.  But I pretended that I wasn't.  I feel like a fool.  All these efforts.  All these relationships.  All these moments that I though were important.  I wanted them all to be something.  Very few of them were.  And every rejection, disregard, silly slip that anyone makes - I take it personally and say to myself, "not again!"  I'm not going to be stupid anymore.

As always, I feel like I need to provide the disclaimer that I'm not suicidal.  When I reread things I sound pretty bad.  I tell my husband everything and I do have a few good friends to lean on.  I have money and food and a beautiful place to live.  I just don't have "myself" at the moment.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Poison Ivy on June 30, 2021, 08:03:44 PM
I'm sorry that you're not okay. I wish I could do more than read your posts and offer my moral support and understanding.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on July 01, 2021, 03:58:41 PM
I once ran a business as a sole proprietor.  I would stay up all night at times to deal with repairs and figuring out solutions when I had missed an aspect of a job or ran I to more damage than it seemed when I took the job in.  I played super woman LL the time.



Eventually I reached my max output under this method.  I painfully called a client and said, I discovered there is more wrong than I had anticipated when we spoke over the phone Yada Yada I have a loaner device I could bring over.  We discussed, they were fine with it taking a couple days longer.

I later did this again, and amazingly there was again no judgement and the client was fine.

I later invested in another loaner device and told all clients I would call them back with a clarification of what was going on  after I had a chance to diagnose from my work Bench.

Because I was no longer loosing sleep I worked better, and I could prioritize jobs with the clients I was able to have more productive time. Also I did not waste time looking for workarounds just so I could maintain a schedule set with too little information on my part.

Moral of my story, I was applying "pd like" pressure from clients when it did not exist in many cases.  I was working in ways that had been influenced by pds.

I had allowed my self created job to become very "pd" in how I was allowing it to flow into my private life because my expectations were based in part on negative messages.

Maybe the fire is a reason, not an excuse for a change in some time lines, and a reason to carve out a bit of time for self preservation.

I hope you get to where you feel back in control.  In the mean time those little black bait stations for bugs work well.

Cyber casseroles are yours. 
 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on July 05, 2021, 11:18:04 AM
Moral of my story, I was applying "pd like" pressure from clients when it did not exist in many cases.  I was working in ways that had been influenced by pds.

I had allowed my self created job to become very "pd" in how I was allowing it to flow into my private life because my expectations were based in part on negative messages.

Maybe the fire is a reason, not an excuse for a change in some time lines, and a reason to carve out a bit of time for self preservation.

I hope you get to where you feel back in control.  In the mean time those little black bait stations for bugs work well.

Cyber casseroles are yours. 
 

Thanks for sharing and bringing up some good points.  Especially since you have run a business and know the pitfalls and mistakes that can be made.  Thank you for your support.

Being a people pleaser means I have built a business, anticipating what a person needs/wants/expects and then I deliver.  I'm very good at that.  I can quickly size up a person and then determine if I will have to be strict and do extra stuff to help them stay on task.  Or if they are high maintenance and I will have to shuffle my schedule for them.  Or if they are so darn nice that I bend completely and do all kinds of things for free.  Then I quickly adjust my feelings about the job and I just say, "okay, so I'm just going to have to do XYZ for this person.  I'll do that (for them) later on Thursday (for free) and it will be fine."  This is not a good way to do business. 

My husbands business is ramping up and he needs help.  A great deal of help right now - especially as a result of the fire.  And I'm doing it because he needs it.  But I'm hating it.  It's just not what I want to do.  Soon he will be able to hire help and it will be fine.  But right now I have to help.  His mother helps him a great deal and she is SUPER helpful.  She really is.  But the enmeshment is clear and becoming worse.  And unhealthy.  Her own marriage sucks and she doesn't make efforts with her peers or her many other children so she devotes her time to my husband who easily welcomes her.  She claims to LOVE to do all the manual labor that he needs done.  And maybe she does enjoy the personal satisfaction of helping him, regardless of the work.  I don't know.  He expresses his appreciation and he does nice things for her in return.  He sings her praises often.  So do I.  I tell everyone how vital she is to my husband.  But she is excessively helping to the point that I'm uncomfortable.  And when I join in to help she seems to resent my presence and assert herself.  Since she is a very non-assertive person it's easy to notice that I'm in her way.

This weekend she hurt my feelings while we were working together.  As my "punishment" to her I did not allow her to do a job that she normally does.  It's a job my husband really hates so I suspect it makes her feel extra special to do it for him.  Well, at the end of the night she went to take the stuff with her I said, "oh no, I'll take care of that.  We'll bring it home and it won't take anytime at all for me to finish it up."  I put smiled prettily as I put it in my car and my husband agreed with me and told her that she'd been so helpful already, that she didn't need to do that crappy job.

She seemed very put out.  She even showed up at our house the next day to pick up the items.  "Just thought I grab those things and finish that job for him."  Even though I hadn't take care of the job yet I told her I had. I didn't want her to have the "honor" of doing it for him.  Her disappointment was evident.  And damn it, I actually felt bad.  So I gave her things from my garden and chatted with her for awhile (even though I was still upset that she had hurt my feelings).  She finally said, "well, I guess I'll be going now."  And she seemed so sad walking to her car.

So even though she hurt my feelings, she got free produce AND I had to to the shitty job.  It was completely messed up.  And probably explains why there are such weird relationships in this family.  When I try to broach the subject with my husband he only praises all the good that she's done.  I don't have the energy to really lay this out for him and I'm not even sure I'm right at this point.

We took a day off but it wasn't enough.  And now the week begins again. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on July 06, 2021, 10:59:26 AM
Maybe she is so in need of meaning in her life she is over indulging on this opportunity.

I am sure it's annoying.

My H was very enmeshed with his mother.  Never took my side.  When she passed at 91, he seemed to take it better than I could have ever imagined.

Then I realized I had been parentified.  His narcisistism has increased ever since. 
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on July 12, 2021, 10:26:04 AM
My goal this week is to lower all expectations.  In reflection over the weekend it occurred to me (again) that I might be the problem.  You know what I mean.  If everyone around you is an asshole, then you might have to consider that YOU'RE actually the asshole.  I am upset all the time because people let me down.  So perhaps my expectations are too high.

I struggle with this because I truly don't feel that I expect a lot.  Why wouldn't I expect friends to check in once or twice?  When I sent out a group text to 19 family members and only one makes a passive comment - why wouldn't I be disappointed and annoyed (and hurt!)  When people on a committee do not step up (even though I've asked and they KNOW that I am going through a lot) why wouldn't I be frustrated and stressed?  Why wouldn't I get upset when all these people are on social media - living the dream - while I'm low key suffering?

I dug deep this weekend.  I realized that I'm upset with EVERYONE, even people I don't know all that well.  With old time friends I rarely see - I feel like, "why aren't they helping?"  With my husband's family - some of them haven't even called to check in - not even once.  Why?  When I deal with my clients and explain why I cannot help them with their next project they dismissively say, "no worries, thanks anyway" I'm super annoyed that they don't even say, "I'm so sorry to hear about your fire."   To me it's common decency to say these words.

The biggest realization is that not even my mother has really bothered to call to check in.  She hasn't made a meal, helped me with anything.  She lives a block away from me.  She doesn't even call.  But i don't think about that a whole lot.  Instead I focus more on these casual friends, acquaintances, clients.  I have greater wrath for them, instead of my own mother.  Ding.  Ding.  Ding.

I'm being silly - I know this.  My husband and I completely support each other.  He has a few people who are helping him.  I have a few people who are helping me.  Not many for each of us.  But we have it.  So why am I so upset with EVERYONE?

None of this is new.  I have endured years of serious marital issues, I've dealt with my husband being in jail, rebuilding a life, building a business, dealing with medical issues and major surgery, my husband dealing with an expensive year-long medical issue, helping him with sobriety, saying goodbye to pets, a new home, a fire. 

None of it is serious enough for the people in my life (especially my mother) to say, "Hey, let me bring you a meal."  "Let me help you with laundry", or "I'm going to take you out for lunch."  Or, "Hey, here's a book I think will help, here's some flowers to brighten your day. Here's a little ice cream."  Not even a damn text to say, "hope you have a good day."

I mean, I do these things for others.  But no one cares enough to do it back.  Of course that hurts.  What the hell?

But this week will be different.  I have close people, I know who they are.  When I think of the people who haven't helped I will remind myself that they are NOT my closest people (and yes I will have to say that about my mother as well).   

When I deal with clients I will remind myself that they are people who pay me to do things for them.  I may be friendly with them but they are NOT my friends.  They are not my closest people.

When I deal with my committee members I will take care of my obligations and be frank about how I'm not able to do their work as well.  I will be nice, but direct and I'm not going to worry about gaining support, respect or emotion from them.  They are conditional friends, who serve a mutual purpose - but they are not my closest people.

I'm going to consider my husband "my family".  Not my parents, or siblings, or anyone else.  They all have their own issues and I'm not going to insert my problems into their life - even if I think they SHOULD care.  I will go to "my family" - my husband - when I am having difficulties.  And that's it.  For this week - I'm going to try something really new and disregard my feelings and judgements and instead focus on those closest people.  At the end of the week I will hope it served me well and I will be able to move from these wasteful negative feelings toward others.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on July 13, 2021, 10:19:47 AM
Yesterday was interesting.  I had a variety of things to take care of yesterday and I didn't use my regular, cheerful, "hey there awesome person!!  I'm super swamped.  I hope you can help me with xyz".  I was direct.  "Hi.  I need someone to help me with this.  Please speak up if you can assist."  Three people spoke up.  I didn't expect that so I was pleased.

When posting about my office closing for the rest of the month I posted exactly that.  I didn't throw in updates of my fire or how overwhelmed I am.  I'm closed.  Until the end of the month.  Period.  I didn't look at the post again the rest of the night.  With such a simple message (with very little emotion) I don't need to see how many people "liked" or commented encouraging things.  No expectations = no disappointment.

I hadn't intended to talk about this with my husband but he surprised me.  When chatting about whether we'd attend a family party (parties where we felt "obligated" to attend - but would have to make extra efforts to do so) he shared with me how "done" he is.  He did not want to attend the parties.  And I agreed.  We realized that over the years we've heavily attended, supported, and shared joy with all our siblings and their children. 

Imagine - attending and gifting events for over 30 children for the last 20 years. 

From birth, baptisms, birthdays and other religious milestones.  We showed up.  We gave freely.  We loved and enjoyed.  But no more.  Time and again we're not feeling the love in return.  So we won't attend either party and today I plan to rsvp "no" with little explanation or emotion.  "Sorry, we won't be able to attend.  Best wishes for a fun time."

And all of this seems reasonable.  And smart.  But it's not me.  I'm not someone who barks out demands or hides the love.  But I did feel freedom and a bit of relief.  I texted and typed what I wanted to say, paused briefly and then hit send.  My words were not perfection.  They did not instill what I "wanted them to feel".  But I don't regret the words.  I was not mean, rude or anything negative. 

When I choose my words carefully I tie in expectations.  For instance at times I wanted people to feel sorry for me and my troubles and then maybe feel impressed by how much I've taken on.  I wrote things accordingly in a beautiful fashion with nice insights, positivity and I usually throw in a special quote or phrase to tie it all together.  And later, if enough people did not react how I want - I felt embarrassed and hurt. 

When I just pass on info I have zero expectation other than wanting them to receive the info.  I don't need or care if they reply to a boring statement.

But I don't want to be a cold person.  I don't want to be boring and direct.  However, I think I need to be - until I can build up my self esteem and handle my emotions.  I want to get back to my usual cheerful self but only if I can be confident in myself and not put those expectations on others.

Good Lord do I have a lot of work to do.  I feel like a flipping mess and it never seems to end.  I hope in a year or two I look back and thank myself for these efforts.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 02, 2021, 06:34:47 PM
Another month has flown by and it's really not getting easier.  When a large thing is completed and behind us, we have another large thing to contend with.  We have no time for friends.  Just ourselves, working, working, working.

And I do believe that this is just temporary. I do believe that we will once again relax, that we will enjoy life again.  That we will garden for fun and not because the weeds have overtaken the fence line.  I believe that car repairs will eventually solve the problems, that the air conditioner in my office will once again run as it should.

I believe that there will come a day where I will put clothes in the dryer and sit back down to watch a show.  Maybe read a book.  I believe that one day I will be able to leave my work at 6:00 and go home to make dinner and sit on my patio for awhile before we eat.  Someday it will all fall into place. 

But it won't happen anytime soon and I'm tired.

I just finished a large committee obligation where I was taken advantage of.  I gave up and accepted it and made the decision to finish with integrity.  Sadly, the event didn't go well.  It just didn't.  I was proud of how I finished, I did everything I could.  But it wasn't enough and for some reason this event didn't succeed.  So today I'm struggling with my feelings.  Realizing that while the committee sucked, they were not fully responsible for the negative results.  That some on the committee did a lot.  That I made my own choices to proceed as I did.  But it's a loss and I'm feeling defeated and defensive with every feedback that I've received.

Feeling sad because everyone in the family attended a party that we opted to not attend.  Again, our own choice and we need to own it.  But I'm still sad and I'm drifting into feeling sorry for myself.  Regressing into ruminating.  Remembering all the ways I've been hurt and likely to be hurt in the future.  Not healthy.

I'm feeling silly because I'm mad that my husband isn't saying or doing any of the right things I need right now.  He's being wonderful and kind and helpful and keeping a good attitude.  I am too.  But I could really use something extra from him right now.

In conversations with others I'm finding that many people are struggling right now.  I know I'm not alone.  I know the tide will turn but it's really hard.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on August 16, 2021, 10:19:19 AM
Made a couple of strides this past week.  A big community event usually causes stress.  Lots of in-law issues has made this event not fun, especially to an introvert like me.  This year I had none of those issues.  My husband and I found ourselves working at this event most of the weekend and that shifted our focus to real situations and responsibilities.  There was no time to watch, feel or anticipate the actions of others.  Which was perfect.

In fact, one of my in-laws, who I used to consider a close friend, showed up unexpectantly.  She seemed a bit put out that I wasn't dropping everything to chat with her.  I was friendly but I went about my business of helping customers.  She finally moved on.  I made a passing comment to my husband and the rest of the weekend proceeded nicely.  A little part of my heart still wanted to build on her efforts.  Oh!  How nice it would be, to be her friend!  I'd get to see her children, be a part of their life, it would make the holidays so much nicer to have a friend within the in-laws again.  But my mind knows better.  She still trash talks her husband (very boring to always have to listen to someone complain).  She still parents in a way I don't understand (very hard to not be judgemental) and she still only really cares about herself (this in-law walked away to get her kid a drink of water while I was discussing how I thought I had cancer)  This is not a healthy person for me.  She's just not. 

Later when talking to an in-law I actually respect, I was tempted to make a comment about the situation.  Even beyound that I wanted to ask someone else a question about this person.  But I didn't.  I knew that was all small scale "drama" and I didn't want to go there.  Very glad I didn't.

In other news, after it came up in an argument, my husband solved the problem of task that I struggled with.  After his efforts I was able to enjoy the event without stress.  Which showed me that if I have anxiety about something I need to be upfront about the problem and be proactive about solving it.  My husband needed me to do this task so he ended up taking the lead on making it better.  But I could have make those efforts myself.  Next time I will.  Without shame.

My mother in law helped at some point and there was a moment I could have relished.  She was failing.  A few weeks ago when I failed, she made it into a private joke with my husband (sort of) and it hurt me.  But she was failing this time and I helped her out and later said some encouraging things.  The was she was treated this weekend by her family gave me compassion for her.  So I took the higher road and was glad I did.

At the end of the event we had to pick up some things.  I was of no use so I waited in the vehicle.  Someone pulled up awkwardly next to us and went about their business.  Fine.  A little while later they came back and was trying to load up their vehicle, which was difficult since our cars were so close next to each other.  My initial shot of panic made me believe that I'd better do something.  The obvious thing to me was that I needed to move my vehicle for them.  However, my door was pinned by the people loading the car.  So I sat there waiting and feeling guilty about doing nothing.  Until it totally dawned on me that I wasn't responsible for this.  THEY knew they were loading up their car.  THEY choose to park where they did, which was totally inconvenient for THEM.  I was just so happy to have the realization that their responsibility in this situation was greater and 100% their fault for their struggles.  I did not need to scurry around to try to move my vehicle (which would have messed up our plan to load up).  Furthermore, writing this today I realize that I could have rolled down the window to actually ask them to move their vehicle so that their open door wasn't so close to mine.  It worked out because they finally did move their car and finished loading up. 

In random conversations with others I'm discovering that many people around me are dealing with all sorts of things.  Random acquaintances have shared that they have family members in the hospital, that their childrens marriages have failed, money issues, a lawsuit.  I've been feeling overwhelmed in my life because of my fire and a variety of smaller stresses.  I really have been through a lot.  But I'm okay.  I'll keep my problems because I'm really grateful that we are no longer dealing with health issues.  I'm grateful everyday that my marriage is rock solid and fun.  I've been on the brink of divorce and it's no way to live.  I'm able to pay my bills.  I don't have the actual fear of a judgement in court.  Just the judgement on myself.  Yes, my problems are manageable and I'll sort through this "low" until the "highs" of life return.

Life is still extra hard right now.  But it's getting better and this usually stressful weekend, was a turning point.
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: Hopeful Spine on October 04, 2021, 10:44:27 AM
In my first post on this chain of threads, April of 2020, I wrote,

Quote
How do you make new friends when you've wasted years in one-sided friendships?  How do you re-train family to treat you differently?  How do you rejuvenate business so that you WANT to continue on?  How does one find peace?

The past year and a half has been hard for me.  Really, hopeless at times.  I'm feeling reflective today and want to report that life is getting much easier.

This past year I've gained a couple new friends who are slowly becoming important to me.  The one gal is very good about checking in.  I'm finding that when I return the favor and check in with her that it's a completely mutual relationship.  She still has her family, her own lifelong friends but she's made room in her life for me.  And I truly enjoy her!

The other friend is much more reserved.  It's a different sort of relationship in that I feel happy to accommodate her quirks because she is such a quality person.  Because I've entered this friendship cautiously I don't have that resentment or jealously built up.  I can enjoy her and wish her well on the other parts of her life that I'm not a part of.  And know that this relationship has room to grow.

Having these positive people in my life on a regular basis, I find I don't think too much about those people that I've distanced myself from.  The casual friends that didn't serve me have become more like positive acquaintances that pop up from time to time.  I've come to enjoy my brief encounters with them.  Those long term friends that didn't invest in me are still there but now they are social media friends that occasionally "like" the photos I post.  I'm now okay with that.

Since the fire on our property, my husband and I have grown closer in a different way.  We've always been a "team" - helping each other with our individual goals.  Now we have the joint goal of rebuilding what have both lost.  This past summer in particular, our time together has been filled with struggles instead of fun.  But we're doing it together, still finding joy, and encouraging each other along the way. 

His family is still his family.  The more I avoid them the happier I am.  I used to think that this was a flaw within myself.  That I needed to solve this part of me.  But now I understand that they will never fill the role I placed upon them and for right now I need to keep that distance going.  Those sister-in-laws were never my sisters.  Just miserable women who needed each other for a bit.  I am no longer fit their club.  The siblings that play favorites are hurt people who can not break free from their roles. 

We hosted an annual party this past weekend and, as usual, all family and friends were invited.  His family always attends and it's usually stressful for me.  This year it was easy for me to warmly great these family member and then move on.  I focused on my own family and friends.  I focused on the new acquaintances who were invited for the first time.  I enjoyed the day instead of trying to win the favor of specific people.

Since we do not intend to go NC with family - I think my next step, for the holiday season, is to begin again.  Continue to avoid the people who have truly hurt me (there are two I want to protect myself from).  For the others, pretend I'm meeting them for the first time.  Enjoy them as they are and not what I want them to be.  Move forward cautiously.  After all - I have my husband and my own friends to fulfil me - I don't really have time for them anyway.

I've been working out and very mindful of my eating.  My mind has shifted and food is now joyful nourishment.  Good food, prepared with love and enjoyed with appreciation.  A rich dish made from the seasonal offerings and enjoyed once - not fast food swallowed daily.  It's taken years but I now regard food differently.  It's not magic but it feels that way.  My weight is where I want it.  I love it.

Most exciting of all is that I'm closing my office for the rest of this month.  I've spent September saying, "NO!" to new projects.  That was hard.  I've been clearing my schedule so I can take care of various tasks that have been holding me back.  I'm going to PLAN my next move instead of letting life happen around me.  I want to make money again!  I want to be successful again!  I want to work hard so that my individual goals will contribute to the larger goals that my husband and I are aiming towards.

It's not all perfect.  It's going to be a hard month of professional changes.  I still struggle with some people in my life who do not respect boundaries.  I WANT these relationships to be good but they just aren't going to be.  I still gossip and regret.  I struggle with how I sometimes judge people.  I still haven't figured out my religious worship and that is on my mind a lot.  But it's getting easier to not feel so hopeless about these flaws in myself.  I have faith that I will figure it all out.

To answer my own questions . . .

How do you make new friends when you've wasted years in one-sided friendships? 
Answer - you wait until someone sparks your attention.  You go slowly.  You continue only if it feels safe.  Genuine relationship follows.


How do you re-train family to treat you differently? 
Answer - you re-train yourself.  Once you see yourself a certain way, you will not expect your family to fulfil you.  Acceptance follows. 

How do you rejuvenate business so that you WANT to continue on? 
Answer - you make a substantial change.  A big splash that feels right.  (This one is still in progress for me so I don't have all my answers yet.

How does one find peace?
Answer - you keep trying in faith.  Don't give up your efforts.  Peace will eventually find you.  This cycle will often repeat itself.  Again, don't give up!

I'm saying it again for those in the back - DON'T GIVE UP!!!
Title: Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
Post by: 1footouttadefog on October 13, 2021, 04:10:54 PM
I like how you are clearing off time to take care of things that are holding you back.

I am finding it good to do this as well.

I ode tidied many things that are time wasters, or just cause inefficiencies because of stresses involved.

I am tking time to fall back and regroup. In most cases the things needed are already owned mostly there I just need to organize and  do logistics.

In my family we call this clearing log jams.