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Great therapy session!

N

notrealname

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
766
My therapy sessions nowadays are just me turning up and reporting back on what I've improved this time :D Feeling pretty good.

I've learned loads about learned helplessness recently and it's been really, really good. The idea is that if a person is put in a situation in which there is no escape and put through persistent pain/rejection/hurt whatever for a long time, they start to believe that 'that's what life's like' and continue to feel trapped in adulthood. So if you've got a bit of a crummy childhood (mine wasn't bad enough to be called abusive or anything, but it was far from perfect) then when you're older you don't expect more. You end up with beliefs that actually limit and damage you - but it's not your fault, it's totally rational. If you've learned early on that there's no point trying to escape, you won't waste your energy later (except this time you're wrong - there is a point trying to escape...)

So with me there were two beliefs:
MYTH ONE
If I point out when someone is unpleasant to me/stand up for myself/tell them I'm hurt, they will experience intolerable shame and I can't put them through that.

REALITY
I'm basing this on my own self-punishment system. When I do something wrong, make any kind of mistake or unintentionally hurt another I feel such horrible shame over it that I punish myself a million times over. I assumed for years everybody else did the same thing so I didn't stand up for myself to protect them from feeling the pain I knew very well and always found unbearable. I assumed they were punishing themselves anyway and didn't need me pointing it out. In reality, they had no idea they'd done anything wrong and continued to be unpleasant to me. I was therefore taking the burden for both of us and completely unnecessarily. Other people can actually hack making mistakes because they are self-compassionate, which is what I struggle with, so it's totally ok for me to point out if someone hurts me - and it's much better for both of us if I do.

MYTH 2
I'm too different from other people to fit in/I'm not compatible with many people/the people whose company I can enjoy are rare/I'm hardly ever attracted to men

REALITY
I learned this when I was young through a variety of long-term experiences, but it's not true. It's been a very damaging belief because it means I haven't walked away from friendships/family relationships/romantic relationships that I wasn't enjoying or that I felt were one-sided, or that were unfulfilling or even hurtful because I literally believed there was no one else in the world and if I want to have any social contact at all I just have to put up with it - it would be exactly the same with anyone else (is what I was telling myself). Not true. I've learned more recently that there are a lot of people I get on with and a lot of people I can have fun with. I haven't learned that I'm attracted to more men than I think - I do appear to be very rarely attracted to men, but maybe that's not such a big issue anyway. But the important thing is I have given myself the option to walk if I don't like something - there are other people out there who will treat me better (thinking more of friends than relationships here because I'm not in one right now, but it goes for relationships as well - it even goes for my family!)

I've spent years - my whole life really - feeling trapped, stressed, ill, disappointed, bitter, angry etc etc etc I believed I was stuck and there was nothing I could do. Sure, I could meet new people, but they'd treat me exactly the same way - that's just what people are like. Sure, I could go for opportunities to improve my career, but it won't work out anyway, because that's what the world's like. Etc etc etc Now I know that's not true, I feel really free, and the new beliefs have affected my behaviour a lot. I'm much more assertive, I've stopped feeling like I don't matter to other people (long story but it was all tied in), and I feel equal to everyone.

Thought I'd write all this down because it's made a big difference for me - I feel so much better - and I believe these small changes will make a huge difference to my future. Maybe it will be helpful to others too :)
 
L

lovagemuffin

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 21, 2014
Messages
640
how many therpists does it take to change a lightbulb?
one but it has to really want to change.
 
SomersetScorpio

SomersetScorpio

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 17, 2012
Messages
13,531
Location
The West Country
Ah i'm really pleased to hear that the therapy is going well. :)
It sounds like you're really making some progress - so give yourself a pat on the back for that.
 
N

notrealname

Well-known member
Joined
May 4, 2009
Messages
766
Thanks for all your replies. I'm trying to keep on top of my self-shaming behaviour and I'm noticing loads of instances throughout the day.

For instance, there's a guy on an online dating site that I really liked so messaged. Then he got back and his message put me off a bit because he came across as arrogant (really blowing his own trumpet in almost absurd ways) but my flatmate convinced me the guy was just trying to impress me and to write back. I did so and have set up a date with him, but noticed today that I'm worried he thinks I'm too negative or too serious and I'm getting quite obsessive about whether or not he has replied yet and it's becoming very important to me that he likes me.

The awareness of this is really revealing. I looked back on my messages to him and couldn't find anything to suggest that I was coming off badly, but then looked at his messages to me and something feels strained and that's why I'm feeling like 'this isn't as easy or smooth as I want it to be'. It took me a little while to realise that he is coming off as a little insecure - trying a little too hard in places or sometimes actually telling me what to do with my life - and that while there's nothing serious enough to warrant any 'red flags' (only little bits here and there that tell me to approach with caution), I'm managing to pick up on his insecurities and feel responsible for them. Incredible how quickly I've fallen into that trap. I need to remind myself to stop thinking about how I'm coming off, pretend to be a little more confident than I am (because fake it til you make it really actually works) and remain politely assertive under all conditions. Keep myself focussed on how he's coming off to prevent myself from feeling unnecessary shame.

All this awareness is going to be a really good thing for me :)
 
maybe.shes.a.wildflower

maybe.shes.a.wildflower

ACCOUNT CLOSED
Joined
Nov 25, 2014
Messages
4,861
Its nice to read something positive :) congratulations!!
 
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