Struggling with the New Me - Part 2

  • 77 Replies
  • 3853 Views
*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #40 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #41 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #42 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.

*

1footouttadefog

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 3203
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #43 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?


*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #44 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #45 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #46 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.

*

1footouttadefog

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 3203
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #47 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #48 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #49 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #50 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?

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #51 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #52 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #53 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #54 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #55 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #56 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #57 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.

*

Hopeful Spine

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • 172
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #58 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.

*

1footouttadefog

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • 3203
Re: Struggling with the New Me - Part 2
« Reply #59 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.