Even early life abuse and pain can result in something good

I was never a shining star in PA, but I was quite good in my chosen competitive sports. No, I was probably not god sent natural talent (I mean I had some inclinations) but what I had was willpower and the understanding that it does not need to be enjoyable. Difficulties were not difficult for me.

I am not justifying my abusive childhood here, but there is something I did learn watching my mum that was also used to pushing herself through pretty much everything. This something was that you just need to get through the difficulties, and these are not something that break you. While I was still growing up to my early twenties my mum had two fatal illnesses – fatal meaning with a success rate of survival below 20%. She defeated them both. I have no doubt it was because of what she was used to going through. Her friend all the while just had a minor illness and for years later complained that she cannot go to work because of the side effects.

I have gone through the operation that was life threatening. What amazed me the most was how easy the recovery seemed compared to what I had read from other people. Low and behold even doctors and physical therapists were surprised by my success. This success was not because I did not feel the pain. It was because feeling the pain was nothing new for me. I had done years of sports where pain was normal part of the sports. I had had years of emotional pain….Pain was nothing new for me.

Nobody chooses to feel the pain. This is not what it is about. But there are benefits in going through adversity and pain in early life which we can use for our benefit. It develops resilience. A lot of other people feel rather spoilt and tender compared to what we have gone through. This resilience combined with compassion is a tool which most people do not possess.

Don’t get me wrong. Having a difficult childhood sucks. Having multiple challenges in early life sucks. But there are gifts that result from it. Mostly it is the ability to push through pretty much everything. It is a weird combination of vulnerability on one hand, because these experiences make you more sensitive in many ways, but on the other hand, going through abuse demands extraordinary resilience. Surviving abuse, loss and pain early in life teaches you how to survive the worst. So whereas not preferable, there is something we can teach to the world out of this experience.

Finding your life passion

So I have recently been delving more into the whole business of finding what I am passionate about. I am not sure if I have changed so much or if I was never really super passionate about things that I used to do, but somehow, I find myself thinking – not really that inspiring. I am suspecting that in my case it was self-suggestive. Since I have quite good self-discipline, I managed to make myself passionate about things I needed to be passionate about.

Another more complicating factor is that I don’t hate my job. I know it sounds funny in this context, but people who hate their job in a sense have an opportunity. They can be sure that what they are doing is not really their passion. I don’t hate my job, in fact I think I am pretty well suited for it and actually better than a lot of people around me. It is just that…..whereas I can get passionate about it at times, I find less and less satisfaction about the end result. I think this is actually one of the moments which is not discussed enough. If you do your job, do you in the end of the day feel like you have done something meaningful? I can motivate for myself the use of my job, there is no problem, but it is more rational than emotional. I think the real satisfaction comes with not having to motivate the use of your job.

The interesting thing is that what I have discovered in my own case is at least that my passion has been staring me this whole time. It has been present in my life experiences and it has been present in my relaxation moments. Ask yourself what do you do when you want to have this little moment of enjoyment in the middle of your job. What truly satisfies you when you come home after work, tired of the day? I mean surely for me part of it is wine, so I guess alcoholic is my destiny….

Jokes aside, I discovered today that I read relationship forums. Suddenly it hit me. I notice myself thinking – oh lord, how do people do these stupid things in relationships. I could totally understand why their partner would be upset about it etc….Then I looked at myself and realized that I do this all the time. I analyze human interactions. I don’t analyze them from the point of observer, I analyze them from the point of ideal outcome. This means, as ironic as it sounds, as I am currently single, that I assume I could solve the situations others go through in their relationships.

I think that this is usually the case with your life passion….It feels so automatic and so natural that it really does not feel like a passion. We are told that passion has to feel extraordinary, somehow truly ecstatic. My experience is that passion is actually really mundane. It is because is part of you. I mean can you really be passionate about yourself? As far as I know, narcissists aside, most people don’t feel particularly passionate about themselves. Instead, I suggest that your life passion is something you do when you relax. You know these guilty pleasure moments like chocolate or something like this….- that is your life passion. Furthermore, it feels so natural that it is hard to call it a passion.

Passion

So today I want to talk about passion. I am a passionate person. According to my ex I am someone who gets obsessed with things. I am not quite sure he meant it in a positive way, but I take it in a positive way. So I get obsessed with things and people….. Maybe it is a product of my messed up childhood, all or nothing thinking…but for the first time in my life, I am saying, I am not sure it is a bad thing.

I used to imagine with dread how it would feel to settle down. I would get these images of couples that would nag on each other. You know, couples that are so secure that other will not leave that they feel nagging and negging if you will, is their birthright. I remember thinking that I would never want this. Instead I imagined passionate love….What a fantasy, or is it really?

I am becoming to believe that passion in the relationships depends on what kind of a person you are and your partner is. Sure you can have an absolutely dull relationship. Sure you can have a relationship where the plates are thrown and sex follows every fight. But, I believe there is another way, maybe quite stupidly…

See, today, even after years, my career does not bore me. Although I have my dull moments, in general I feel passionate about my career. For me, it is not a normality to think that I have to get out of bed every morning. The same way I feel about my career, I would like to feel about my relationship. I can accept that there are some natural fluctuations, but I cannot accept that I would feel generally bored of my partner.

So, I assume, if it is possible to find a career you feel passionate about, it must be possible to find a partner you feel passionate about. Furthermore, I assume in the end, it depends on a person. Not everybody thinks passion is relevant. However, I claim that people who feel passion is irrelevant should seek refugee among other people who share this opinion and the opposite. I would be lying if I said, I do not think one position is better than the other. Of course I think being passionate is better. However, I am fully aware that most might not share my opinion and furthermore might find it alienating.

In the end, I guess what my ex called obession, some call passion. It is just different names given to the same thing, depending on a positon. So I get passionate about people and about my hobbies and work? If someone is scared about it, then perhaps I am not for them. Also this is probably a sign to choose my partners as well as my friends carefully. I am aware of this, today. But similarly I am aware that what one might call obsession, another one sees as passion.

Social anxiety and female competition

So social anxiety is something I have suffered from my whole life. Mind me, most of the time I was unaware that I was suffering from it, because I thought it was normal to every time when one is going to the party try to suppress the overwhelming anxiety. Try to tell to yourself that everything will be OK. I also thought  it was normal to always want to have some friend or boyfriend with me, as emotional support.

Let me tell you, this is not normal. This is not how most people feel. This is ultimately also not how I want to feel. However, I still feel that way.

Do not make a mistake of assuming that I am a bad communicator. I think I am actually quite good, socially. It is just that every time I go to social event, I remember my early and teenage years of relentless bullying and it my mind, it will all just repeat itself.

I really do not have good ten minute advice on how to combat the situation. Believe me, I, myself, am surprised that I still struggle with it, even after all these years of therapy. However, being aware of it, I will try to work on this next.

My anxiety is mostly about girls. I know, how to handle guys. Not a single guy has ever bullied me. I usually get along perfectly with guys (unless they are my boyfriends…..Ok that was a joke). But girls….

Take the last event that I participated. I was joking around with some guys and they made it more sexual than it needed to be. However, I caught all these judgemental looks from other girls. Well, mind me, the first girl was already judging me because of my profession, telling me that what I do is pointless. I mean, why? I still cannot understand what makes someone tell to the other person that their day job is not worth anything….

But the problem is, I feel threatened by the looks and by the words from these girls. It reminds me of my school years. I know that if one girl takes a disliking towards you, they will be able to collect a lot of their friends and convince them to hate you too. It is that simple. It never works like that with guys, but with girls the pack-mentality is just so much stronger. Plus, I seem to somehow be good at making girls my enemies and even after 30 years, I have no idea why and how. There is always this one girl at the party that takes an instant disliking towards me.

So, parties for me are stressful because of girls. If it was a party filled with guys, I would go there without a care in the world. I really struggle to see how come, my ’enemies’ are always girls. I don’t think it is because I am super charming or hot, there is something else at play here. I am not even sure if the solution to my problem would be to work on the reason girls tend to dislike me or to work on me caring so much and being intimitated by it.

Don’t get me wrong, I have good female friends. I am not one of those people, who hangs out only with guys, thinking that girls are stupid. In the latter case I would understand why other girls might dislike me, but currently it really is a mystery.

How to deal with guys that disappear and reappear

So, because I had an experience with a guy that disappeared and also partially because my ex had this habit, I have thought about this topic lately quite a bit. I think the most difficult for me to accept is the fact that ultimately I was not as important to those guys as they were to me. This is a tough pill to swallow and I have been trying to avoid accepting it. Somehow we always try to deceive ourselves thinking as if he – just is denying his feelings, he loves me, but does not know it ….fill in the blanks. On one hand deception serves to avoid feeling bad about ourselves in this moment, but on the other hand it is also what keeps us in denial.

I lived in denial with my ex for years. Something in me refused to admit that he just was not committed to our relationship. It was easier to think that I am over-reacting or I am needy or whatnot. Well, I was all these things as well, no doubt about that, but still it does not erase the fact that my ex was never as invested as I was.

I have one male friend who keeps appearing in my life once in a while with occasional short messages. To me his behavior has always been somewhat confusing because I am thinking – well what kind of a friendship is that? I mean what is the point?  Until today I realized. I bite every time. His messages make me feel important and I invest emotionally and write a really nice and loving response. That is why he keeps messaging to me occasionally…I mean who would not want to have some dosages of love for so little effort?

The same applies to my ex and the disappearing guy. I mean if you had a chance to get your dosage of love and even your sexual needs met without fully investing, would you say no? I mean everything would be right and nice, if I did not emotionally invest. If I managed my emotional investment the same way these guys do. I mean lets face it, a guy who writes to you a short message in every four months does not invest anything. It would be stupid of you to them treat him as dear and close friend.

So, I have been emotionally investing into people that have not done the same with me. Not at least to same extent. This is a difficult topic however, because I do not want to be a cold person. I want to be a warm person, but I need to learn how to make my investments to other people correspond to their investments to me. Furthermore, I need to understand why I am so gullible that one facebook message can somehow turn me over and I can instantly become loving and caring. I can now clearly see that I am in a habit of overinvesting and letting both my partners and friends take advantage of me in that way. But I have no idea how to correct this nor how many friends I have left at the point where I have critically evaluated my investments.

So to go back to the original topic – the way you deal with the guy that disappears and reappears, you do not get invested emotionally. He has proven you with his actions that he is not that invested. I mean if he can disappear, his investment is not that high. So, you hold yourself and do not get invested either. You do not behave like me with my friends by giving him love whenever he makes appearance again. Instead you treat him based on his actions and he has just acted like a casual distant acquaintance so this is the kind of spot he should have in your life and in your heart.

It is OK to feel like a loser

A magical transformation happened when I finally accepted and understood why I might feel like a huge disappointment and failure in my life. But lets start with explaining why I spent years feeling like a failure.

Everything can really be described in one word – my mum. Nothing was ever good enough. It took me years to understand how I was constantly feeling like I was a huge walking disappointment. More so, part of me strongly agreed with my mum. I agreed with her, admitting that I was not a talented child. I was not a beautiful child. I was pretty much average or below that throughout my childhood. Since I did not have any redeeming qualities or achievements, there was really no way to gain my mu approval. Not that I would not have tried. However, even though I probably was just an average child, not really remarkable in any way, my mum’s criticism made me feel like I was the worst failure ever. There are certain parents that just have hard time accepting that their children are not the bestest the brightest the smartest and whatnot. It feels like a personal letdown for these parents. They direct their hurt and disappointed feelings towards the kid, because the kid was there to redeem them. To make them feel adequate.

So obviously I failed, because I was nowhere close to remarkable. My mother’s criticism was probably not even very wrong, but the problem is – you do not get kids in order to feel better about yourself. You get kids when you are ready to share your unconditional love. But enough about that…

Anyways, I have fought with this feelings of being inadequate my whole life. I resented myself for feeling that way. I read self development books which sad that everything would be just fine if I only loved myself and I resented myself some more. Actually this is one of the most unhelpful suggestions I have ever heard – you should just love yourself. It is like telling to an unemployed person – have you ever tried…you know…getting a job or something.

But when I stopped fighting this feeling and accepted that I might indeed feel like a failure and that it is completely OK to feel like a failure, this was when magic happened. I suddenly felt more accepted than I have felt over the years. The heavy burden of always needing to prove myself and somehow become better than I am was somewhat lifted. I accepted that I could be a failure. I could have been a failure throughout my childhood, I could still be a failure, but I was OK being a failure. I had nothing to prove anymore. I could just relax into feeling like a failure……

Interestingly enough it was at this very moment I stopped feeling like a failure. Instead I felt this excitement about the future. This knowledge that I will not have to continue screening thousands of beauty products to try to make me look more beautiful or chase unavailable men to try to make me feel better. I can just sit here and accept failing….

The selfishness of a ‘nice guy’

Because of my ex, I am quite familiar of how some guys have a habit of presenting themselves as ‘martyrs’ when they get rejected by the girls they like. In the case of my ex it was some girl 15 years ago who he still keeps talking about and blaming her for using him as an emotional cushion for dealing with the heartbreak from all the assholes that she was dating with. In his mind, the girl was ‘evil’ and playing with him. I was not in the situation, I cannot detest to the motives of the girl, but I have made some recent experiences with similar guys and can give you my own version of ‘these nice guys’.

I have to say that I find such ‘nice guys’ who complain about girls friend zoning them and always choosing some assholes over them extremely upsetting. Why?  – Because they have so big rejection issues that they are not really honest about their motives. Instead they hope that if they pretend to be the friend of the particular girl, they can somehow win her over by not risking much. When this strategy does not work, they attempt to find the scapegoat – ‘the evil’ girl.

All the while as a girl I have had to deal with guys who were sending me some mixed messages with occasional crossing of the friendship and I found those situations extremely difficult to deal with. You like the guy, you love debating and discussing with the guy, but you are sure you not interested in them romantically. So what do you do when they have not really made their interest clear and instead keep communicating with you as friend. Well, you take them for a friend. What upsets me more than having to deal with some occasional problematic signals is the reaction of these guys when you openly confront them about their potential interest and say that you do not share this. In my experience this reaction usually can be divided to two.

The first reaction is to take few steps back and claim that they were not romantically interested at all and you just misread them. Meaning, they make fool of you. That is fine, I can deal with that. However some then continue communicating with you as a friend and then somehow after a reasonable amount of time make another move. This behavior confuses me even more, because I assume that I have made my disinterest rather clear the first time around and you have claimed that you do not have any romantic interest as well, so what???

The second reaction is to frame the girl as evil for wasting their time (the strategy that my ex chose as well).  This I find even more ridiculous because if you as a guy have some romantic interests but you have not had the courage to come forward, it is not the girl who misled you, it is you who misled the girl. So I as a girl would actually have more right in blaming you for breaching my trust, making me invest to our friendship under false premises and using friendship as a means to an end. Mind me, to me friendship is sacred and it is not just some code to – the guy I have not managed to sleep with yet.

I am not saying that the situations are all equal, indeed there can be women that ‘use’ some guys as well as the opposite. However since I had made similar experiences myself and I usually try to be rather clear with my intentions by mentioning either my ex or some other romantic interest to guys with whom I have some doubt that they might be interested, I feel that there is still some truth to my assessment of these guys. So all I can say is that it is better to be clear about your motivations or if you do not dare to do this, at least do not blame the other side for not playing the mind reader and figuring  out your real intentions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dysfunctionality

Today I am feeling dysfunctional. Becoming and being dysfunctional has been my darkest and worst secret over the years. Even the feeling of being unlovable does not compare to that one. I have yet no idea how I got into believing that I was dysfunctional and later also to a degree behaving like I was. Or maybe I do.

I look at my mum and for years I did not like to visit her. The place was a mess. She was a mess. There is more to say here, but I am not really going to. And you know there are things which you can easily overcome, like you learn to wash yourself more often. Or you learn to actually comb your hair. Or you learn to cook. But then there are things which you really cannot overcome.

You work until you are so tired you cannot work anymore. You keep irregular hours. You do not follow your spending. You are a slave to your emotions. You get into relationship with people who challenge your functionality further. You ignore your pain, both emotional and physical. You ignore your needs. Where would you have learned that you have needs to begin with?

And all this talk and thinking about dysfunctionality seems rather fuzzy. I do not yet understand why I feel so dysfunctional. Why this has always been my dark painful and ugly secret which I tried to hide from others. But since these feelings are starting to come up, I assume that I will find out soon enough.

me and my imaginary boyfriends

Today I am going to tell you about this perverse habit of mine to get security from imaginary relationships. So lets put it like this – I am anxious person. Future insecurities scare me. We are talking about me thinking at least two three years in advance and worrying about things that might happen. I am a neurotic person. So what do I do?

I escape into imaginary relationships. I just imagine my new love interest to be this pillar of security. Mind me this new love interest might be a person I have only talked once or twice, but somehow imagined that there was some connection.  Thinking that there might be something between us, oddly makes me feel secure. Like there is some kind of support – even though lets face it, there really is not.

That is how I get attached to guys who might have long ago forgotten about my existence. I get attached to them and I hardly evaluate whether they are into me, whether they are secure enough etc., because to a degree what they are like does not matter. It matters what role I ascribe to them in my head. Often times when the reality does not conform to my imagination, I really desperately keep hanging on to my imagination.

But lets take a concrete example. I had this internet acquaintanship lately which got really close. We had not met each other in real life, but I really thought that there was a strong connection. Granted he was giving off mixed messages, but well I ignored those. Then suddenly he disappeared. Like literally disappeared. Instead of reevaluating this guy and saying to myself – well this guy is really instable, I kept hanging on to the idea that we might some day have a relationship. I mean does anyone normal really want to have a relationship with someone who has disappeared on them?

So yeah, I am not really sure what to do with this pattern. I hate people who say that being conscious about your patterns is somehow already half way to the finish line. It is not! These patterns are subconscious and it takes a lot more than mere knowledge about your patterns. Furthermore, it feels a bit frustrating that I still struggle so much with building healthy relationships even after all these years.

Hot and cold guys

My relationship with my ex has been potentially one of the longest that you can have with someone who blows hot and cold. It started as a mutual dynamic, taken that I was unable to sustain intimacy of any amount of time. My ex still likes to claim that he does not run hot and cold, he is just reacting on my behaviors. Now, I am finally realizing that this is not true.

 
How? See I met another guy and I am noticing very similar habits and patterns as with my ex in the beginning of our relationship. So, lets call the new guy Tom. Tom is acting all flirty with me and trying to smooth talk me. Now, I am usually not very quick to fall so Tom is doing the smooth talking, emotional supporting etc for months. Finally, I start developing certain feelings about Tom as well. So I become more available and open and what do I see, suddenly Tom is distancing himself. He does this once, twice and the third time. At the point when he does it for the third time I am finally starting to think. So here is what I figured out.

 
The pattern with these guys is awfully similar, it is almost like you were dating the same guy all over again. They like to draw you in with emotional conversations – deep stuff, not some trivial compliments. They let you know they like you and you start becoming more smitten. When they notice that you are becoming smitten, they suddenly distance themselves. They stop being available. The usual dynamic which I followed with my ex was to call him myself, to chase him to a degree. Well, with Tom, I have not been doing this. Instead I become distant and cold myself which initiates another reaction – him question me about my distance and rejection issues. Let me tell you, it is so easy to fall for such things. You really start thinking – maybe I am mistreating poor guy. Maybe I, indeed, have strong rejection issues. It took three times of him distancing himself for me to understand that actually, no, I do not have rejection issues, but rather it is difficult to be consistently open and vulnerable with someone who acts all wishy washy.
I have to be grateful for Tom, I never fully realized my exes patterns in the relationship. Thanks to Tom, however, I am becoming clearer and clearer as to how my ex treated me for years, acting all warm and loving at one moment and then distancing himself, making me think that it was something about my behavior which made him do that. Hell, he was actually telling me constantly how it was about me and how he was just reacting.

 
Now, more interesting question is however, why do I keep falling for these on and off guys? What is it in me that finds them attractive? This is something to explore further through this blog.