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:( !!! Random Reassurance

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I just found this site today and was compelled to respond to the drunken ho posting on the rants. I signed off-Soul Sista in Seattle.


Since then I've been reading a lot. This is a great resource. Thank you to the Founders for creating this site. It's a great way to learn how others feel internally when so much of our interactions are socially formal and professionally transactional.


Sometimes if you're an emotional jellyfish, like me, you forget that other people feel the same way, despite the fact that they act cool and detached.


SO WAH!!!!!!! :(


I feel like a JELLYfish all the time, and am in therapy now precisely to learn about relationships--am I in a good healthy romantic situation? What happened with my ex-husband? Why did certain friends bail? Etc. ALL very painful experiences, and difficult to just "GET OVER." So I'm processing.


I'm tempted to ask for opinions regarding 2 or 3 specific situations, and yet, I know that I am just needing reassurance, and ultimately must learn to soothe myself and get back on track with my life. Apparently I've never written to an advice column before, and it seems difficult to encapsulate the a specific situation into 4 paragraphs that would allow readers to reasonably comment.


So,--aside from clean living, exercise, good diet, and supportive relationships, do you have any ideas for how to soothe one's own constant fears and how to allay the weepy

jellyfish inside so that you can concentrate and get yourself interested in your commitments and life responsibilities?


I have noticed that I'm in this state a lot, and I seem to prefer

the excuse it gives me for being an observer instead of moving forward with important goals I've set for myself.


Other than some militant, mind-controlling, left-brain, zero-tolerance approach, which seems like it would cut off some of the passion and intuition that the emotions provide---IS there any way (besides drugs?) that you've learned to soothe yourself and help yourself connect with reality and create your dream life?


I'm tired of being the exposed, vulnerable jellyfish, who reacts with devastation to the most ordinary events. I'm just plain tired of my emotions! And simultaneously scared of just cutting them off or taking them less seriously. I have worked through a lot, and reflection has been a useful tool in getting me from point A to where I am now.


Sample things worked through:

--setting boundaries with my bi-polar mom, and creating a cushion for myself from her enveloping chaos

--created cushion for her from herself with legal, financial, logistical and medical advance plans

--got back on track with life 200% better than before after

experiencing infidelity with the ex-husband, and former next-door neighbor


So proportionally, the issues I am dealing with now completely pale in comparision, and yet, my reaction and depth of emotion feels similar. One would think after establishing myself after major adversity, I would attain some sort of natural calm and presence and clarity. Not so, apparently.


:( My friends and soon-to-be fiance have all come from very loving and warm homes. They seem to say I have excellent relationship skills. My therapist echos this.


I seem to have EVERYTHING a person could need and want, AND the perspective that comes from attain it through hard work and adversity. So WHAT'S WITH THE JELLYFISH BIT? I feel as though I'm always expecting the worst and waiting for some horrific crisis.


My friends seem to experience a solitude and lack of self-doubt that is completely refreshing. Can I figure out how to have that too?

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Get counselling, read books on co-dependency and/or take classes in meditation and practice it daily. A reputable, ethical hypnotherapist can be of great help as well and teach you self-hypnosis techniques to speed the changes you anticipate making.


Read as many books by Albert Ellis as you possibly can. It is within you to be strong. The universe is totally indifferent to how you are and what your feelings are. You create your own reality and how you look at life. So get to the drawing board and do your thing.

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you do the worry-wart thing, too? Sometimes, that's much worse than the actual problem you're worrying about, and it's easy to get consumed by it.


With me, a lot of that focuses on my parents, who I'm very close to but I live about 300 miles from them. At this point, my main concern is my mom, who has been falling down a lot, but there doesn't seem to be any logical (read: medical or psychological) reason for this, yet it still happens. Factor in my father's age, his inability to care for her properly and that they're both bad diabetics, and it makes for a good pot of worry stew. But, I've had to try to learn to just let a lot of that worry go, because it gets too overwhelming at times to where I'm not really being productive. For me, I guess it's about saying to myself, 'okay, you've got X amount of time to fret, then you've got to come up with a gameplan that works.' In this particular case, it's visiting them on a regular basis and investing in a prepaid telephone card so that I can call them every night to check in with them. Not that this does a whole lot to solve the underlying problem, but it does help alleviate the worrying some.


You say that you feel you're always expecting something horrific to happen ... that's what happens when you let things around you overwhelm you. At some point, you're going have to tell yourself that things will work out the way they are supposed to work out no matter what you do, so the only thing you can change is your outlook. Tell yourself that while it's okay to worry, you're going to keep it short-lived, because you're going to find a workable solution for the problem, even if it's a short-term one that gets amended.

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Thanks guys!


Tony--I am surprised that no one's (therapists, counselors, coaches) ever used the words co-dependency with me!!


Now that I'm thinking about it--YEAH--that seems to really fit.

I'm not surprised that it would, given my family history. So I'm not all sad about it. I'll just pick up the books and learn.


And--YES on the meditation. I found a class 3-4 weeks ago I really want to attend (because whenever I try on my own I just fall asleep). And I've let my schedule and life's demands pre-empt my getting my butt over there!


And--counseling. Yep. Going.


Quankanne--Yes--the worrying DOES seem to be worse than the problem at times. And certainly the way I'm responding to it (avoidance, caving into dysfunction) MAKES it worse, not better. Then I feel worse, yadda, yadda. Downward spiral.


Why then--with this intellectual knowledge can I not just railroad myself through it in the moment? I guess one builds strength gradually and I can start small.


Thank you everyone! [How does one close a thread?]

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You Americans have to stop watching Oprah and Dr Phil. The privelaged state of your nation has allowed you the luxury of so much self analysis it has reached the point of narcissism. Most of you are creating problems that aren't even there, and Worry Wart is a classic example. Stop overanalysing everything and just get on with things. I spent a couple of years in therapy and all it got me was into debt. I finally realised I don't need to pay a professional to find any 'hidden' meanings behind my psyche - I just have to learn from my mistakes and accept responsibility for my own actions and emotions. It's no use bitching about frivolous things to whoever will listen, you're wasting their time as well as your own. Wake up and stop acting like spoilt children.

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Thanks for the laugh, Lightbulb. Glad you are happy inside your closed mind.



Worry Wart - find something you like and do some volunteer work. It is a wonderful feeling to do someting for others because that helps ourselves too.

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My reply is to listen to Lightbulb: You are WAY overly self-absorbed. The only one with whom you are "co-dependent" is yourself.


I wouldn't recommend that an alcoholic check out some new bars. Nor would I recommend that you check out self-help books or meditation -- they will only feed your preoccupation with yourself.


I think that you have a serious lack of meaning in your life. Read memoirs of old wise people, and they often say that they regret wasting so much of their time on earth on self-gratification (money, power, sexual conquests); they regret not spending more of their life focussed on others -- even little things, like helping their son catch a ball.


Here's what I think you should do:


Start small: Find an international aid agency and sponsor a child who is in empoverished and has little chance for education (let alone a home computer to write into loveshack about his or her problems). You can indicate your preferred sex and age of the child; if you are lucky you can even correspond with this child, and learn about his or her world while also making a difference in it.


Meanwhile, work very hard at a PAID job (volunteer work will only reinforce your codependency needs if that is indeed a problem with you). Save your money and then go visit a part of the world that is far away from home and filled with people who have REAL problems -- an AIDS orphange in Africa, perhaps. Another benefit is that you will be surrounded by people who have no interest or appetite for your self-preoccupation.


Continue your travels until you find a cause that means something to you: something that will make you feel GOOD at the end of the day rather than unfulfilled because you didn't yet fully analyze every speck of dust in your own navel.


This will bring you REAL meaning in life. Now get on with it.

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  • 2 weeks later...
worry wart

Hey guys!


Thank you for your thoughtful replies.


I actually think learning about this stuff IS the way to let go for real. My interest is in not passing it on to loved ones and children by never taking the time to learn about it and work through it.


Yeah, there are plenty of people for whom survival IS the issue. And ooh, it's a legitimate one. It's obvious, and clear when someone is struggling for survival. It's great to learn from whatever starting point you're at.


And yes, Americans (or anyone who works their way out of a survival mentality and reality) do have the time and luxury to work on issues of quality and meaning in life. Why would emotional suffering or destructive relationships be a less legitimate area to improve in one's life? That seems really weird. Once you've taken care of survival, OF COURSE you'd move on to clarifying and improving the quality of your emotional and spiritual life. It's Mazlov's Hierarchy.


Yes, everything is relative, and working with others who are suffering helps us to appreciate our own health and prosperity.

My actual history includes more volunteer work with suffering people than would fit in a whole page of my resume. Suicide hotline, crisis phone counseling, mentoring kids from disadvantaged home situations, yadda, yadda....Did that eliminate my suffering? Hmmm....no actually. It's great stuff, and I felt as if I've given a whole lot, and will continue to volunteer my time and contribute financially to the causes I'm committed to.


Actually, with the issue I have just learned about--which I'm a textbook case of, focusing on OTHERS instead of SELF IS the essence of the dysfunction.


So I disagree with your thoughtful advice. My way OUT of the quagmire is to become conscious of myself and my limited beliefs and behaviors.


The quality of my life and my finances and my relationships has been so enhanced by what you would call a narcissistic waste of time, and now I am just in the final stretch of getting where I want to be--at peace and acceptance with myself and my circumstances.


I believe what I give to the world is that much cleaner and more loving than what was my 'birthright and inheritance'.


You just have no idea what that 'default' setting would have looked like--so you don't realize what you're recommending. Here's a quick run down: This is not an exaggeration.


--dad--physically violent addict whom you had to walk on eggshells with---left us when I was 3 and comes in and out of my life on his schedule. Actively 'blames' mom and me for beating us. Seriously. He sees no area of his own responsibility. He shows no remorse for his choices. It is very sad. His own childhood was full of the exact same--so he has extra 'grace' than a stranger would, and I just feel sorry for the pain that drives his behaviors.


--mom--suicidal manic depressive for all of my 34 years--cycling in and out of hospitals, jobs, relationships---bankrupt multiple times and hemorrages money still. TODAY: 56, Blind, with advanced emphasema, smoking still with oxygen tanks running! Falls asleep with cigarettes lit. Always has. Drinking, smoking, and not eating well.


Living with 3 cats in a house she can no longer keep up because she is so weak, and refusing to move into a home or move in with me (or anyone) despite not being able or willing to care for herself. She calls 5+ times a day and says the most critical and mean things she can think of about me and my other family members and blames everyone else for her choices and behaviors. Seriously.


Still has never said "I made so many mistakes, or here's what I could do differently..." Sort of insists on life on her terms--regardless of the consequences for herself and those around her. Actually in the face of consequences: Emphasema and blindness namely. She's brazen if nothing else.


--me--only child--felt like "The mom" The responsible one.


--grandparents--emotionally cold--totally stressed out all the time--but survival-wise they were stable


So--needless to say, my 'default' setting was just not something I was willing to unload on the people around me without some serious self-actualization. Out of necessity I have had to unlearn the unhealthy stuff and visualize and learn better, healthier ways of relating.


Seriously, would just 'moving on' and 'getting over myself' be a viable solution? Hmmm...looking at my uncles and cousins who chose this path...actually, no. They have similar stuff going on in their lives. They don't hit people, but they sure do churn through people and places. And they struggle with connecting their choices and behaviors with their outcomes and results. Talk about stagnation and existential angst.


Will I be in self-help land forever? Good gracious! Maybe! But the tone and urgency is certainly waning. And the topics change. I actually feel like I'm beginning to be more interested in finance and fiction. I love gardening and cooking and painting and sitting quietly with my loved ones and pets. Did I 'GUT' my way through it? No. It's real.


I have worked really hard and it's paid off really well! I just had a teeny bit of existential angst, which thankfully Tony noticed--which was so apt. And I feel such relief!


I am so close to the 'chop wood, carry water'-level of expectations from life. It is real. I can actually focus now on what I will have for dinner. My biggest issues in life are becoming 'how will I decorate my house?' And I realize how abundant and prosperous I am. It is real. It makes me so happy. It literally was not possible before. Any attempts at 'small-talk' or a different focus (on work for example) or just railroading myself through with a stiff-upper lip were all a facade.


As far as having a PAID job--hmmm, my profitable 7 year sole proprietorship that just became a corporation' gig, my business associates and customers I've kept for that same amount of time, along with my debt-free, squeaky clean credit rating, and retirement assets that guarantee my future solvency, with legal insurance and disability insurance AND rental investment properities...hmmm. I think I'm all over it. Thanks.


Awareness and conscious choice are a responsibility I believe we all share. And I choose to step up. For myself, my loved ones and everyone I interact with.


Sometimes it's no fun, but it's ultimately fundamentally better and different to grow and learn than to keep repeating the same mistakes and pass on dysfunctional ways of relating to the next 7 generations.


Kudos to the founders of LoveShack for providing a forum for self-awareness and discovery.


BTW--Tony--I checked out Co-Dependence books and it's EERIE and very revealing. I appreciate your awareness in the referral, and I feel liberated. Liberated to make mistakes, be a beginner, to let the entitled and usury types of people move past me without feeling as though I have to respond to their wishes, and to let go of lots of situations I had been struggling with.


In short, I really feel it's SAFE and OK and LOVING to take appropriate levels of responsibility, and let others take theirs.


Like my mom for example. It's heart-breaking to watch her self-destruct and feel powerless. I now know that I have done so much for her, financially, legally, and medically. And I love her, and I support her. But certain types of emotional support do not foster her health and growth. Or mine. It's OK to step back and let go of what is not mine to bear.


That had been just an intellectual understanding before--now it seems to have been integrated into the depths of my understanding.


I am very grateful to Tony and LoveShack for pointing me in this direction. Keep up the good work. Much love,


Worry Wart (not feeling those random cravings for comfort these days!)

On the loving road to recovery...xoxo.

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I always write two posts in a row!


K---to respond more directly to the guy who thought Americans were self-absorbed and therapy is a waste--yeah--it is a waste--if you don't apply yourself to it and integrate it into your life. Results and well being are the only measure of that.


(And really, are the ones who stayed in their home country of homogeny, sometimes poverty and always history and tradition really to be seen as inherently BETTER than the immigrants who sacrificed, worked hard, and adapted to diversity? Sorry--I am not ashamed to be American or self-actualized...so that stereotypical Ashamed to be American schtick does not fester within me...I think humanity evolved past violence, past plagues, past sanitation, and is beginning to move beyond survival-level issues so it's only natural to find that reflected in an idea of therapy beyond traditional medicine...We Are the World...literally!)


And to Ms. Carly--with the Judge Judy / Dr. Laura tactic---I've read your response here as well as others you've posted on other topics.


I agree that sometimes people need the harsh wake up call of tough love--I just think this approach should be used as a last resort and I generally think it creates more problems or exacerbates more problems than it solves.


I think it's great to give people a kick in the pants when you know they have the emotional strength and readiness to be up to the challenge. That can be a gesture of love and support.


Just know that using this approach at the wrong moment or with feelings of irritation or arrogance in your own heart could do a lot more damage than the possible benefits---and still--any benefits that DO come may originiate from an 'indignant, "I'll show them!" mentality of rebellion'.


Contrast those outcomes with a more supportive, developmental approach of letting someone come to their own discoveries on their own schedule--and think about the outcomes that emerge from that process.


In an of themselves, rebellion and anger DO provide energy for change. They also create more of the same. They become part of running AWAY from something instead of running TOWARD choice. Or at very least, doing something you don't care about to prove something to someone you don't care about, rather than inspiration to become more of yourself.


If you can live with the karma that may result from your current strategy, both for yourself and others--I would suggest examining the reason you feel licensed to treat others this way. My thoughts of love are with you and the ones you counsel.


Thems dangerous grounds in my book. Not for any holier-than-thou reason--but for totally selfish reasons. I believe you reap what you sow, therefore if you're sowing anger and intolerance, with an irritated heart, you experience others being angry or intolerant and irritated with YOU! Does that facilitate your growth? Is that what you want to experience?


Generally I opt for gentleness and kindness and supporting others in their own discoveries on their own schedules as much as possible. For obvious reasons...


Food for thought.



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"Generally I opt for gentleness and kindness and supporting others in their own discoveries on their own schedules as much as possible."


Wow, is your tirade above supposed to serve as an example of gentleness and kindness in steering people straight? I hate to think...


If anyone is seeking love and unconditional support from a public internet forum, they are looking in the wrong place. A professional client/therapist relationship will give unconditional support and (hopefully) allow the client some self-discovery "on their own schedule."

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