Journal to the Centre of the Self

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by TheScriabin, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    I’ve had a really good day, despite relapsing last night. I still feel good as the CBT has definitely been helping keep my mind away from negative self-appraisals. My last week reminds me of the classic scene in Superman III where he fights his darker self and eventually wins. I didn’t defeat the PMO, but I did defeat the other me who always beats the crap out of me when things go tits up.
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  2. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Feeling more determined recently, but I hate the feeling, ok, now I’ve found my determination again wtf do I do with it?!!

    I’ve been more open and friendly with work colleagues but my negative thoughts still do their best to attack me afterwards. Now I’ve moved from quiet and polite to more chatty and open, the post-review is ‘I talk such superficial shit all the time and these feelings are exactly why I tend to remain quiet.’ I present a gloss which contrasts with the intensity of the pain inside, and it’s why I then tend to switch into the ‘moody child’ in order to communicate that I have feelings, but it’s not an adult way to do so, it’s not pro-active and people don’t like it.

    I can still see how childlike my learned behaviors are, and I’m unconsciously wanting parenting or something. I feel really lost and alone knowing this is not the way to be an adult, but struggling to do it differently, without just resorting to Mr Nice Guy. My parents were both very needy, and now I’m on my own, I don’t know how to relate with people who don’t need me in some way.

    Any advice for keeping it real?
  3. Living

    Living Active Member

    It's a bit of a paradox, isn't it:) I myself am not very good at small talk and am not comfortable with it either, but I do like to socialize with people. For years I have been diving into the depths of conversations and the majority of people is just not into that. I used to think that small talk is simply something I'm not good at and that was a reason for me to sometimes limit social interaction. These days I believe that if I want to socialize this is actually something I can learn. I still find it hard to do, but by doing so I do get better at it and it actually becomes more natural.
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  4. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    That’s a very interesting way of looking at it Living, thanks.

    One of the anxiety strategies in my CBT work is actually to practice small talk more, just by taking it easy and not expecting every conversation to be life changing and deep. What we need to modify depends what our particular issue is I guess. My tendency to want deeper conversations often lead me to form friendships with people who were too intense and clingy, and I realised I missed just having a laugh and being myself. I think it’s safe to say whatever our strategy in the past has been, we have to slowly learn to do the opposite.
  5. Living

    Living Active Member

    I understand what you say here. Although I also like deeper conversations I can't say that the people I have deep conversations with are the ones I find most sympathatic. It makes you wonder what that says about us, huh?;) It also makes you wonder whether we not actually like that small talk more, but stick to the deeper conservations because that's our comfort zone. So yeah, I totally agree that practicing small talk can be beneficial and after a while might lead to more laughs. And if the goal is to have a good time, is small talk really that superficial?
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  6. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Your last line exactly! Having a good time is deep! It’s the best dynamic of life because it is the healthiest. People connect very deeply often with those they can have a good time with because they are able to be themselves. They need it, and we need it :)
  7. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Major depressions over the weekend but I think I learned a few things. Even had a belt around my neck at one point, completely blowing everything out of preportion. I was able, fortunately, to give myself a harsh talking to (better than a gentle talking to during these moments, I find) that I wasn’t a victim of depression, but I’m just acting like a total dick (to myself). Depression is often my excuse to not address my problems. I also tend to console myself in a ‘motherly’ way, and I was trying to imagine what a strong father would do for his son who was going off the rails and fucking his life up. He might hug him and love him, sure, but he might also, when needed, give him a stern talking to and tell him to get his act together. That is also love. I lacked this in my own up bringing and need to learn these skills and dialogues with myself.

    My mum has been away and I think I’ve felt the loss. It kicked up some very childlike emotions of being abandoned, also the rawness of my last relationship ending has added to these feelings. It is difficult to get perspective when the pain is so great, but on reflection I fully understand what is going on. I am willing to embrace this and open up to the possibility that a new relationship will come along when I am ready, and understanding where this primeval pain and helplessness (I’m 38! But there you go, these feelings are routed in childhood) comes from is immensely helpful. The book ‘No More Mr Nice Guy’ is also helping me understand these feelings too. After all, I’m only a man, as soon as another pretty face enters my life I won’t worry about the past!!
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  8. staythecourse

    staythecourse Well-Known Member

    You're in a tough spot. It will pass. Its usually temporary. Is your breakup recent? The belt is a pretty extreme action. What actions are you taking to get better? Look for areas of your life to improve and then take action. Isolation is usually my most comfortable spot, and also most painful spot.
  9. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Thanks mate.

    I’ve been feeling like I’ve burnt all my bridges, hence the dispair feelings, which are usually worst Sunday night because the anticipatory anxiety for the week ahead builds up and I easily feel overwhelmed. I’ve been very conscientious and motivated about doing my CBT, haven’t missed a day for about 3 months, but the loneliness kills me and feels especially raw on the weekends. Feels like I’m treading water and not really getting anywhere. But I also think I’m experiencing some of the trauma of facing the social situations that my CBT is helping me to do. It’s not supposed to be easy, and it’s hard to feel like I am making progress, even though perhaps I am more than I realise.

    The breakup was over a month ago, but we remained friends which I think is a bad idea as it makes me frustrated that I can’t get sex. I think it would make it easier, and fairer on both if we went our separate ways altogether. I have no right to want sex from a girl I’m not dating anymore, but those feelings are there because I’ve struggled to move on.

    To be honest staythecourse, making a constructive plan and the lifestyle changes that are so essential for recovery are exceptionally difficult for me - not that this makes me special, I know it’s difficult for everybody - but a lot of what I have tried I either don’t stick with or social anxiety gets the better of me and I give up. I have to let go my biggest solution of all, which is the fantasy that if I just keep doing what I’ve always done things will somehow improve.

    But what I have identified is:

    1. I need more male-bonding activities. To feel ok with other men, and resolve some of the wounds from being bullied and rejected at school and being viewed as the ‘little guy who hangs around.’ My brothers also contribute to this feeling. They are both bigger, they didn’t bully or reject me, but they use me as the family listener. I don’t feel they are really there for me in a supportive brother capacity.
    2. I need to obsess over women far less. Stop seeking their approval all the time.
    3. I need to do more physical fitness. My jogging routine stopped due to finding it boring. Investigating gymnastics classes for adults.
    4. I need to find a way to manage work better, so it doesn’t always provide me with an excuse not to do other activities.
    5. I need to try to love and accept myself unconditionally, even though I would also like to be fitter/stronger/more confident/pmo free etc.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2018
  10. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Just read a chapter called ‘setbacks’ in my CBT workbook and it describes exactly what happened to me over the weekend. Feeling quite a bit better now.

    Negative thinking is also an addiction, and changing it brings the same intense ‘withdrawals’ that unhooking from drugs or p does.
  11. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member


    Attached Files:

  12. Thebeg

    Thebeg Well-Known Member

    Hey man, hang in there. We can do this.

    Some of these tie in with each other. Doing 3 will help with your brothers listening to you (1). It really does, I've learned the effects of lifting and how people respond to that firsthand. People start to take you more seriously. Not only because you may look bigger/stronger, but also because you took yourself more seriously and that shows in your eyes. The effect is enormous and I recommend it to every guy. Do it and never look back, always keep on training. It's simply a lie that only the inside counts. The inside results in the outside. The right mindset to sculpt a stronger version of yourself not only shows through bigger muscles, but also your energy. Enduring the effort of exercise time after time will change the look in your eyes.

    Also, doing guy-stuff with guys, such as exercising, is a great bonding activity. I go weight lifting with a friend, I see guys at wakeboarding, trampoline jumping, etc.

    2 is difficult, I've struggled with it a lot too. I guess I'm a sucker for female validation, but isn't every guy to some extent? Right now I'm in a spot where I'm getting this validation a lot, it takes some effort at first to get a social circle of females going. Again, small but consistent steps. Make a 10 second smalltalk with the female cashier, etc.

    4 is my big gripe. Always has been during my study and work, unless is simple "do-work". But everything that can be postponed, usually gets postponed. The best solution for me is to meditate every day in the morning. It's like exercising your mental will-power. It doesn't strengthen in a single session just like your muscles wouldn't, but after a few days of consistent practice you'll notice you start getting more stuff done. The time spent meditating is more than compensated by working more efficiently.

    5 yes you should :) We tend to be the most harsh on ourselves. What purpose does that serve? We cannot butcher ourselves into personal growth, it has to come from a forgiving state of mind. Forgive yourself all past failures/times you quit/etc. The only thing that counts is your intention. If you really want to become fitter/more confident/pmo free etc. you will find a way eventually. And this always goes with very small steps. If you're not vigilant enough you may think there are no improvements while there actually are. They may be smaller than you hoped - thus potentially disappointing you - but if you notice them, celebrate them.

    Just keep spending time of taking the smallest steps you can take to make the improvements. Just keep at it and magic happens.
    I've constructed a three-part adage regarding improvement, it holds a somewhat cold truth, but shows the importance of consistent effort and persistence.
    #1: Things always take way more time than you anticipated beforehand
    #2: Things also take way more effort, blood, sweat and tears than you anticipated beforehand
    #3: However, time always moves faster than anticipated beforehand
    Living likes this.
  13. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Thanks for this brilliant post
    thebeg! And taking the time to answer in such detail all my points.

    I’ve been pretty pro-active recently but am feeling very absent from myself and very alone. I’ve been exercising, working hard, and have met a lot of new people through attending support groups, and I generally find people positive and determined, but this contrasts with how I feel about myself inside. I feel very stuck, afraid, positive and friendly on the outside but uncertain, suspicious and blocked on the inside, like I don’t know who I am anymore, and cannot work out if the things I am trying, experimenting with and getting myself involved in are really meeting and respecting my needs. I just don’t know.

    A life coach made me nervous by suggesting I needed to spend less time with these support groups and more time with passionate and motivated people who are living their lives. I get his point, but at this stage I don’t feel quite up to it. I do want to join a gym and get into shape though, and that might bring me into contact with different sorts of people.

    So for recent action and activity, I give myself 10/10

    But inner feelings, confidence, satisfaction, tending to my needs, 1/10 at best.

    I feel like a child who needs people to support him, guide him, help him, love him, show him the way. I am not able to admit this at my groups, that my feelings are a bit deeper than the usual social anxiety problems people discuss and the strategies they use. I feel really like a frightened child.
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
  14. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Have joined a gym! Woohoo. Never thought I’d do it. Feeling a little more determined.

    Intense and emotional day, I think I’ve been experiencing some severe p withdrawal. I have felt angry and manipulative towards women. This is genuinely shocking for me to experience, but I hope it will pass.

    As I’m trying to reflect, modify, change the ‘nice guy’ self, I have been forced to consciously confront some of the realities of my emotions, and this anger is becoming more apparent. This is fine, provided I don’t act on it and I understand what is going on. It is better to feel the truth to the emotions, it doesn’t make me a bad person. Years of using p instead of chatting up and pursuing the girls I like has plastered over a reservoir of frustration and anger that has slowly brewed under the surface. I must strap myself in for this withdrawal ride, as I know it’s gong to be challenging. I am surrounded by beautiful women every day, they are wonderful and gorgeous, but my lifelong inability to get close and feel at ease and act like myself has understandably caused me a great deal of private pain, every day, for years, as it would any guy.

    If I take a mature approach to this, I should be ok.

    Yesterday there were some drinks and after everyone had left I was alone with an attractive co-worker, and we had a friendly chat. I think she is the kind of woman who’s friendship is important for a man such as myself who struggles in this way, as she is attractive, very friendly and very grown up.

    We walked back to the station and she said ‘are you sure you’ll catch your last train home?’ I took it as an invite back to hers, but I said I’ve got time to catch my train and we parted. Doh! Anyway, it was only a friendly gesture to stay on her sofa bed, but my male brain always thinks it’s an invite back for a bit of fun!
    Last edited: May 11, 2018
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  15. Thebeg

    Thebeg Well-Known Member

    You could have asked "is that an invite?" :) Anyway, if the atmosphere between you two is good and she invites you over, that's definitely a hint that you can take a shot if you want.
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  16. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Thanks, I need to learn to take a few more risks like that. More missed opportunites than I care to remember!
  17. Living

    Living Active Member

    You know, I mainly do meditations focussed on mindfulness, but every now and then I do some other kind. Some of those I found most helpful are the ones where I put my focus on the idea that I'm not the only one suffering. We are often really focussed on our own problems, but that's only because that's all we really know and have to deal with. From that point of view it's very easy to believe that our problems are so much bigger than those of others, even 'exceptionally difficult';) But what do you really know about the struggles of other people? Perhaps that spoiled kid from down the road is having it's own problems that are very serious. Perhaps you don't see he does, but then again, a girl in some African war that has been the victim of rape and famine might not really understand your problems either. We all struggle in our own way and I think it's good to realize that.If you believe you struggle in an exceptional bad way you really put yourself behind. If you learn to see that just like all other humans you struggle and suffer the path to recovery will become more easy and also less alone.

    Isn't this all the more reason to learn to live without the support? I don't know your situation, but I do know that self-help and support groups can become a comfort zone that you should not want to be in. For me personally that's the reason why I don't plan to stay here very long. I would love to give back to the community and help others with the problems I have/had, but there is also a time when you really need to move on.
  18. Living

    Living Active Member

    I don't know if that was a hint, but it could have definitly meant a nice time. Having a good time doesn't have involve sex you know;)
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  19. cjm

    cjm Well-Known Member

    But it sure helps lol!
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  20. TheScriabin

    TheScriabin Active Member

    Just chatted up a nice blonde in the station! She had to leave to meet her friend but I’ve never talked to a hot blonde before! Was a friendly chat and I know she only left cos she had to. I’m not after getting phone numbers right now, but good conversation practice is still nice.

    :) :) :)
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