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Pollyanna friends who haven't seen tragedy

L

Lola B

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
9
Location
New Jersey
I have had it up to here with people who want you to always be happy and positive because they are deadly allergic to being authentic, which means sometimes feeling a way that seems ugly.

The background: I was raised in violence, partnered for safety and got more violence, pursued a career I didn't like and wasn't my calling but I needed for me and my daughter to be safe from abusers. We had a car accident that totaled our just paid off car, then a catastrophic one a year later that nearly totaled us. Both not our fault. I coded twice and my daughter spent her senior year alone waiting to hear that her mother was finally dead.

She has deep and complex trauma from a lifetime of pain and abuse and I have many broken bones (healed crooked), damaged or discarded organs, scars everywhere, and a traumatic brain injury. We lost most of our friends, our finances, our future, my plan to finally get the master's that would put my on the career path of my calling and nearly our home.

It got so bad I attempted to kill myself, which destroyed her even more. To my defense, the brain injury caused significant impulsivity and personality change. I am now properly medicated after having admitted myself 2 times for severe depression with everyone fully aware of my brain injury and the gold standard treatment for it: lithium.

I have made remarkable recovery and I appear as if there is nothing wrong with me. I was a writer, dancer, fitness pro, artist and more. After the crash I had to learn how to speak and swallow again, not to mention everything else. Feeding tube, colostomy, tracheostomy, splenectomy, ostomy reversal which may have been the most excruciating thing because of the 2 hours of scar tissue removal they had to do before the surgery started.

But early on, I won a human spirit award from my rehab facility and people have said I'm the poster child for strength and inspiration. They rely on me to be crushing it all the time because they need that role model because they feel better being among exceptional people.

My friend texted me to see what I was up to today and I told her I stayed in because I was uncomfortable and said other things to let her know I was unavailable. She asked why I was uncomfortable so I told her I have pain every single day but I don't tell people because it won't help me or them to know or harp on it.

She wrote back "way to keep positive and not focus on that and keep moving forward". And that's all I got, despite the "role model" and "inspiration" that she says I am.

She doesn't let me say more than a sentence or two of the things that trouble me as a disabled, pained, brain injured single mother and head of household. But she goes on endlessly about her need for a boyfriend and "why not me?" talk when comparing herself to siblings who are all married.

She is supportive enough so I remain in friendship. But when I get pollyanna advice that doesn't acknowledge the enormous burdens I still carry while listening to her troubles with compassion, I want to end the friendship. I am dealing with multiple lawsuits, a PTSD violent kid, my own emotion dysregulation, Medicaid, disability, and an attempt to work which makes disability a complicated mess, I just started driving again after two years, and I'm grieving about my brain-injury-driven dysregulated behavior I am now beginning to remember that I conducted. I spent my whole life (45 years) doing the right thing, dedicated to keeping my chin up, and blah, blah, blah. I was literally broken open, have no help, have significantly more difficulty than most people and am actively abused by an adult daughter and it's not her fault. It's trauma and she has no one else.

I am afraid all the time. I'm angry a lot, and I am a lot less able to keep a lid on it now.

I want to say to my friend: don't even suggest we are the same in any way. That I lived, alone, floored everyone. That I'm forcing myself to recover my brain, body, and personality is probably divinely guided.

She can put her happy happy joy joy where the sun doesn't shine.
 
SunnyDaze

SunnyDaze

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,742
Location
USA
Wow,you've really been through a lot and are going through a lot.

I understand exactly what you're saying,I have had some people in my life like that. I used to get pretty upset about it but not so much anymore.
 
Lunar Lady

Lunar Lady

Well-known member
Joined
Mar 19, 2019
Messages
5,490
Location
UK
Lola, the downside of being strong is that people expect it of you all the time.

Phrases like "I'll know you'll cope...you always do" or "It's nothing you can't handle" just dismiss our worries.

Your friend sounds like a bit of an energy vampire - she's drawing from you all the time but gives little in return. Her reason for not hearing you out could be more about her need to be the centre of conversation.

I have a friend who phones on the pretext of seeing how I'm doing...but that enquiry is exhausted within seconds and the ensuing forty five minutes is all about her problems and feelings.

My best advice is to keep contact with this person short and sweet.

Sending you lots of love xxx
 
L

Lola B

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
9
Location
New Jersey
Lola, the downside of being strong is that people expect it of you all the time.

Phrases like "I'll know you'll cope...you always do" or "It's nothing you can't handle" just dismiss our worries.

Your friend sounds like a bit of an energy vampire - she's drawing from you all the time but gives little in return. Her reason for not hearing you out could be more about her need to be the centre of conversation.

I have a friend who phones on the pretext of seeing how I'm doing...but that enquiry is exhausted within seconds and the ensuing forty five minutes is all about her problems and feelings.

My best advice is to keep contact with this person short and sweet.

Sending you lots of love xxx
Wow!!!! You nailed that! I can always see vamps for others so well! I will be on the lookout for vamps feeding on me! Wow! I missed that entirely. That is why I have felt depleted with certain people! High in the moment and hollow after. I knew better than this. I've been very desperate for companionship so I had no safeguards up.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to read and reply! Your friend who phones you on the pretense of concern is a perfect example. I hope you have a restful night and a wonderful dream to match the lift you have given me.

xoxox
 
L

Lola B

Member
Joined
Oct 1, 2019
Messages
9
Location
New Jersey
Wow,you've really been through a lot and are going through a lot.

I understand exactly what you're saying,I have had some people in my life like that. I used to get pretty upset about it but not so much anymore.
You are very kind and so supportive. Thank you for your compassion xoxo
 
SunnyDaze

SunnyDaze

Well-known member
Joined
Jun 11, 2017
Messages
2,742
Location
USA
Something I hear very often is "you're so strong". I honestly don't like hearing it because really,I'm not.I think it's just something people say because they're not sure what else to say.

If they do mean it,I assume maybe it's because everything I've been through during my lifetime I am not locked up in a mental institution banging my head against a wall or haven't killed myself,

That's the thing about being mentally ill, since people don't know what's going on inside of you and you look fine on the outside they automatically think you are fine.
 
JustMe1982

JustMe1982

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
197
Location
Here
Something I hear very often is "you're so strong". I honestly don't like hearing it because really,I'm not.I think it's just something people say because they're not sure what else to say.

If they do mean it,I assume maybe it's because everything I've been through during my lifetime I am not locked up in a mental institution banging my head against a wall or haven't killed myself,

That's the thing about being mentally ill, since people don't know what's going on inside of you and you look fine on the outside they automatically think you are fine.
I get that I am strong a lot too. It annoys me because I don't want to have to be strong, I want to be mentally well. I know a lot of people don't know what to say so I only talk about it to my close friends that tell me things like that my psychosis isn't real.
 
JustMe1982

JustMe1982

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
197
Location
Here
Something I hear very often is "you're so strong". I honestly don't like hearing it because really,I'm not.I think it's just something people say because they're not sure what else to say.

If they do mean it,I assume maybe it's because everything I've been through during my lifetime I am not locked up in a mental institution banging my head against a wall or haven't killed myself,

That's the thing about being mentally ill, since people don't know what's going on inside of you and you look fine on the outside they automatically think you are fine.
I get that I am strong a lot too. It annoys me because I don't want to have to be strong, I want to be mentally well. I know a lot of people don't know what to say so I only talk about it to my close friends that tell me things like that my psychosis isn't real.
 
JustMe1982

JustMe1982

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Jan 20, 2020
Messages
197
Location
Here
Sorry about the double post, my laptop is being weird.
 
LizBo

LizBo

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Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
448
Location
Down-under
Hi @Lola B (I apologise for the long post)

Your story's a tragic one that's for sure; I'm so, so very sorry. As a sufferer of cptsd, you've survived your life and continue to do so, still, after the most demanding and extraordinary of life's circumstances. I can understand why people say you're strong; I mean, you're still here my friend.

I give myself permission to 'fall apart' every now and then. In a way, we are super-women and hope we can continue, year after year, those roles that have been thrust upon us. But like anyone, we need space to be our flawed, human selves; respite from doing jobs people without MH issues do, only with a damaged mind, heart and in your case, body.

I'm also diagnosed with cptsd and have worked on myself for around 25 yrs, though the past 5 have been intense. 'Being there' for others was evident early in my teens where I became the one to lean on.

I must say though, I became so good at listening, I ended up in the helping professions for 35 yrs and am still there now. As a Mental Health Peer Worker I listen all day to people's woes, but at least I get paid for it!

Truth be told, I absolutely love supporting people who appreciate my help. Not only that, but it's really therapeutic for my spirit and sense of achievement/confidence.

During recovery over the last few years, both personally and professionally, I became adept at giving back a little of the responsibility being placed on my shoulders, or should I say, my ears. One statement that always comes in handy is; "OMG, that's awful. What are 'you' going to do about it?" There's not much of a come-back for this and it's great for those vamp's who abuse the kindness of others to make themselves feel better.

My past is similar to yours, though not so tragic. As a single mum I too have a confused adult child who struggles to communicate with me. It's a work in progress...

Giving of our pain or success on this forum may be a way of asking for help or self nurturing, but 'someone' out there will benefit from your/our courage to speak and be heard.

Kind thoughts;
Liz

PS...I like the term 'Pollyanna' and the way you've used it to describe ignorant and insensitive remarks/people.
 
N

Nukelavee

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 17, 2019
Messages
657
Location
London, ON
You know what else is maddening? People that that seemed oblivious to the extent of what a trauma or crisis is doing to us... until it happens to them.

Then it's all be there for me 24/7, and "I understand now how you were feeling" which is, really, code for "Forget about me leaving you alone to deal with your stuff, just do for me what I sould have done for you".

At the same time - most people have far less self-awareness and empathy than they think. It's not even that they are callous, it's that they simply can't understand other people have different minds and experiences. It isn't real to them until they experience it.

Plus - honestly, I'd be nervous talking to you as a friend because so much in your life isn't good. How do you even approach the topic? And that's being somebody who can sorta understand aspects of your struggles. Fear of saying the wrong thing causes a lot of people to stick to shallow topics.

Lastly - people with depression have, according to some studies, far more realistic ideas of how bad things are than other people. It's not we see things as worse than they are, it's that other people have the ability to deny just how bad it is. It's a self-defense thing.

Venting is good. We need to unload sometimes. Also - holy crap you've been in some rough crashes. That stuff is seriously traumatizing -I've been in a couple that, honestly, there was no way I shoulda walked away from, and I still get nightmares about flipping my car 30 years ago.

So, yeah, go ahead and vent when you need to, you carry a heavy load.
 
SunnyDaze

SunnyDaze

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USA
@Lola B

I was rereading your post and this part stuck out to me

. am actively abused by an adult daughter and it's not her fault. It's trauma and she has no one else
I'm really sorry you are being abused by your adult daughter. However,trauma is no excuse for abuse and I hope you find a way to put a stop to it.

You don't deserve to be abused.It doesn't matter who it is,you need to protect yourself.
 
SunnyDaze

SunnyDaze

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Joined
Jun 11, 2017
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Location
USA
Hey, @Lola B

I hope you come back and let us know how you're doing.
 
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