Struggling with the New Me - Part 2

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Hopeful Spine

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Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« 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

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.

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Poison Ivy

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #1 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #2 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. 

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #3 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.

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frogjumpsout

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #4 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #5 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #6 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #7 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. 

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Boat Babe

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #8 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!

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It gets better. It has to.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #9 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!

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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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #10 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #11 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #12 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.

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Lookin 2 B Free

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #13 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!

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #14 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #15 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.

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #16 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.

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Lookin 2 B Free

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #17 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. 

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Hopeful Spine

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #18 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.

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athene1399

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Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #19 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.