To: Frances_2008 - Thank you

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melodee
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Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 800
   Posted 3/24/2009 10:21 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Frances :)
 
Your post on trust was so wonderful I had to reply to you and thank you this way, if you don't mind :-) ,  as the thread has already been locked. 
 
Melodee,
I totally get what you're saying about family. I grew up in a very abusive home & am still paying the price physically all these years later (and perhaps emotionally, as well). It does get me down sometimes when I think about it, but for me I have had to almost vilify certain family members in order to move on. It was a hard thing to do & I still go back on it sometimes, but I have really had to draw a strong line & put the family in the enemy's camp. I wish I could just trust them to treat me lovingly & with respect, but it's just not in them to do so. Like you, I really wanted to be able to trust other people. I worked with a counselor who knew a lot about abuse (she was abused herself) & was able to talk to me about how I can test people & learn to trust them with certain things.

It is so hard when I'm having either a really great day or a really miserable day to not be able to tell any family members or certain friends about it, but I can now see that the times when I stick to that plan are the times where I really do get to enjoy my victories & find ways out of trying situations. I am very, very picky about my friends, but they are loyal & good friends and I am blessed to have them in my life. It is hard to trust myself to figure out which people are trustworthy & which ones are probably just going to hurt me but, as my counselor pointed out, I am actually quite good at getting a read on people right off the bat; the problem is that I often want to give people the benefit of the doubt even when there are plenty of red flags about them. It is hard for me to admit (even just to myself) that I don't trust someone b/c I feel like I would want them to trust me and not jump to conclusions, but I think we mostly develop pretty good instincts and just need to learn to rely on them more when choosing to whom we can to entrust our strongest feelings & deepest secrets.

Maybe that's not your situation at all, but it took me way too much time & effort to get to that realization ;) so I thought if sharing it with you could get you to a place where you can trust a couple good friends with your joys & sorrows a little quicker than I did, it would be worth the struggle I went through. Ultimately, there are good people out there. I think you must believe that if you are willing to confide in hotline volunteers & your doctors. And you're 100% right -- there definitely are good people in this world, but not everyone is one of the "good guys". Choose your team carefully. Trust your gut. Believe in yourself. Test people's trustworthiness by sharing smaller joys/problems with them at first. If they can be trusted with the small things, they can be trusted with the major ones. If they break your trust early on, at least it was only on something small, not something that will shatter your confidence.

Wishing you healing & freedom, and sending lots of hugs your way,
frances

  
Thank you so much for sharing your story, knowledge, and insight, Frances. blush Very thought-provoking post. I appreciate it very much. 
 
I too was brought up in an unhealthy dysfunctional environment, and I have also been in abusive relationships. I've tried so hard to become the person others wanted me to be, and yet they never made me feel accepted, like I was unable to live up to their expectations...even though I was giving 100% of myself.  :( I think I have always let these people take advantage of me and I finally realized recently that I no longer need to keep them in my life. I have learned to stand up for myself in similar situations although it is a lot easier said than done. We are often told to get rid of negative people and surround ourselves with positive ones who care. The problem is, because of my anxiety, socializing and meeting new people is terribly stressful for me. As I do not easily make new friends, if I keep losing people in my life, eventually, I will be all alone. It's not the process of ending a friendship, I fear, it's the aftermath.  smhair  
 
Your tip on friendships is very helpful. You are right. It's probably safer to allow the relationship to develop to some level before I decide to share deeper issues. Thanks again for your great reply, Frances.  
 
Lots of love to you my friend. :)
 
Melodee :)
 

 

Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2284
   Posted 3/24/2009 8:07 PM (GMT -7)   
Melodee,
I'm glad I could be of some help. I wonder if maybe you are selling yourself short about making friends. I used to say the same thing about myself. My family used to tirelessly reinforce that belief by saying things like that I wasn't good at making friends, that I wasn't social, that I didn't know how to talk to people ... and even when I would make friends they would discount those friendships by saying that the people who I trusted the most didn't really want to be friends with me, that they were just nice people who felt sorry for me or who felt a moral obligation to be nice to me. I would buy up all of their stupid, negative comments as if they were the gospel truth & would end up sabotaging the good relationships b/c I believed those horrible comments from my family. I would be left with manipulative, abusive people who had nothing to offer me.

After a lot of counseling, I realized that I was picking good people who I could trust to be honest. I was TERRIFIED to ask them what the thought about me. I was convinced they would all leave me. Well, they were brutally honest -- telling me that they thought I worried way too much & often thought the worst of people, but that there were also a lot of things they really admired about me and that once they got to know me they really enjoyed spending time with me. They countered all the lies my family had been telling me by sharing that they don't just make friends with everyone. I did lose a few friends. But I knew the ones that were left were really top-caliber people. I started with that small circle & built out from there. It really is easier to go out & meet new people when you know you have a few friends that you can count on to pick you up if something goes wrong.

Those close friends have been with me through thick & thin. Two years back when everything fell apart b/c I had stopped listening to my own heart & started listening to what my family, former pastor & acquaintances were saying about who I was. After all that happened, I went back to my small circle. I wouldn't share anything with anyone else at all for a long time. I stopped going to church. I stopped dating. I even started to stay home most of the time, even ordering my groceries over the internet b/c I didn't want to go to the store. But eventually, I realized that I had survived all the meanness of those people & that to win the war against them, I needed to prove them wrong. A couple of my best friends would come to visit me at home & we talked a lot. Then I started re-connecting with a couple more. I began going out with them to church & social functions. And eventually started dating again. I won't say that everything always works out perfectly for me, because it doesn't. What I can say is that I know that the strength in my soul, by faith in God & the healing I get from my closest friends have always been enough to bring me through the devastation of betrayal and out into the freedom of being able to live a full live -- the kind of life I really want to live. Ultimately, there are people out there who will betray you if you entrust yourself to them. You could just not trust anyone anymore ever, but I found that to be a very sad & lonely life. I really do believe that if you build your relationships more slowly, choose your friends more carefully, believe in yourself & stop listening to your family and other naysayers that you will find a very rich life waiting for you. I can only tell you that for me it's been well worth the minor betrayals to be able to find the amazing, beautiful, loyal, generous, loving friends that I now have in my life -- and I really wish you could share in that experience.

hugs & prayers,
frances

melodee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 800
   Posted 3/25/2009 11:49 AM (GMT -7)   

Dear Frances :)

Thanks so much again for the reply. If you don't mind me asking...Have you already told your friends about your anxiety issues? Do you tell your date about it too and at what point? I wonder how much you have shared with your close friends and how they have accepted your anxiety. That's like the greatest challenge for me - to tell people about my anxiety without having them judge me. In the past, I had friends invite me to their parties and barbecues, and I could never make it. Traveling long distances (b/c of anxiety and back injury) and being in crowds...is another of my biggest fears. I overcome one obstacle, then there is another one waiting for me. This is why I feel so hopeless sometimes and hide in my little shell, not being able to come out and take risks. I want to live my life to the fullest, as you say, and I have the desire in me. I have a long 'want-to-do list' and it's been sitting on my desk for more than a year, the list is getting longer, not shorter. :(  

Melodee


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2284
   Posted 3/25/2009 12:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Melodee,
I don't know whether or not I ever used the word "anxiety" with my friends. Most of them use the word "anxious" to describe me, but I guess I never really felt like it would be helpful to me to talk about it with them, no particular reason. I did tell friends that I felt deeply betrayed when the whole nightmare gossip-fest began 2 years back. My closest friends know about most of my past & that I have a hard time trusting people. I used to deal with stress by just "running away" when something would go wrong, but now I've learned that I need to at least tell people when they say or do something that upsets me b/c often they don't even realize that I was upset/frightened/etc and once I tell them about it they change what they are doing. It is a give & take and I do need to be willing to take more risks too. I let them know what my goals are & ask them to hold me accountable to reaching them. They don't let me get away with cop-outs, but they do slow down or choose smaller places or such in order to help me get used to the idea of being around new people. I really think that mostly it is something that is just clear to them that I get nervous about things, but it could also be that they think I am just really shy or something so prefer quieter, smaller groups to be around -- there are a lot of people like that. Still, I do occasionally go to larger concerts & such with my friends, but the deal is that we stick together during the concert & then usually I plan for a quiet activity afterward like going to a coffeehouse -- which helps me kinda wind down from all the stress of being in a large, crowded place before I have to try to go to sleep. I don't really tell my friends that, I just suggest that it would be fun to go out for coffee afterward & just hang out together.

I didn't tell most of the guys I was dating about my anxiety. Honestly, I didn't know them that well and didn't trust them. I kinda suspect one guy I dated was even more anxiety-ridden than I was. I went on a couple dates with him & the final one was a disaster so there's no way of knowing for sure, but I'm pretty convinced. The last guy I went with, though, was an old friend that I hadn't seen in years so I did know him better than most. I did let him know pretty early on that I have a neuro condition & need to have surgery often. He was really sweet & came to visit me in the hospital. I really had a hard time saying anything about fears, but after he shared about the rough times he had growing up, I felt it was okay to share a little of my background. I pretty much let him lead. I was also battling severe depression for a while & though I didn't tell him about it while I was going through it, after the fact I wanted to let him know what was going on so I did say a little about that things had really changed for me and that I wanted to really live my life and I wasn't sure how that might affect our relationship. It really wasn't a big deal. He asked if I was okay at the time, and I was, so that was it and he let it go.

With guys especially, I've often been told that if they can't solve it, don't share it. I think that's a pretty safe rule. For example, I could ask him to walk slower to accommodate my pain, but there really wasn't much he could do to keep me from having more surgery. He set a rule early on that he didn't want to hear about anything too sad if there wasn't anything he could do about it & that seemed like a fair rule to me. If there is something that your date can do to help ease your anxiety, I think it would be fair to tell him (with as few details as possible). Otherwise, it will just leave him feeling helpless & uncomfortable and that would probably just make you feel even more anxious.

Well, those are my thoughts anyways. There will always be obstacles out there. The only thing we can do is figure out whether to go over, under or around them. I get pretty overwhelmed too right now & am having a hard time b/c after all I did to get well, I now have lost my job & can't afford my meds, but I try to remember that I have made it through a lot of tough situations that I was sure I would never survive and somehow I will make it through this trial too. :)

peace,
frances

melodee
Veteran Member


Date Joined Oct 2008
Total Posts : 800
   Posted 3/26/2009 5:32 AM (GMT -7)   

Frances,

You have some great supportive friends. :) I'll have to find friends like that.

I think eventually, I'd want to share everything about myself to the person I wish to be with for a long time. Although I believe the friendship or relationship should develop to some extent before I decide to share my past with these people. In most of the relationships I was in, when I tried to stay secretive and mysterious (LOL), the guys wanted to know more about me, showed more interest in my past, and asked many questions. They were willing to listen and support me, but that was before my anxiety got worse. smhair You are right. It would be unfair to burden people with our personal issues.

I am sorry to hear about your job. Do you have other ways to cope with your anxiety without the meds? Like alternative therapy? Herbs, meditation, yoga?

Melodee


Tirzah
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2284
   Posted 3/26/2009 8:52 AM (GMT -7)   
Melodee,
Yes, I treat anxiety without meds. I don't tolerate the anti-anxiety meds well at all, so I have been off of them for some time & manage well enough. I am out of my pain meds & that is a hard thing -- no sleep, very hard to relax (heart rate is way up, bp is way down). I am trying to stay calm about it & remember it is just pain and that I will be okay, but it has gotten so out of control in the past & I have gotten bad infections from festering bed sores. I am working really hard to remain calm since the pain has not yet gotten to the point where I am bed-ridden this time so I am trying to think positive and hope that maybe this time will be different. It's definitely not easy, though.

I do agree with you that a significant other should know about your anxiety. I just meant that it probably doesn't need to come up within the first few months of dating. It was 4-5 months before I shared anything even with the one guy I really trusted. I kinda gave it to him in bits & pieces and still he didn't know the whole story. I think the whole "mystery" thing is a bit overplayed, and can't imagine living with someone like that, but I do try to be judicious about when and how much of my story I share. It is a lot to take in & no reason to share the whole thing all at once & overwhelm the guy and end up having him run out on me (it's happened ;). I imagine you're like me & probably mostly know what to do, it's just putting it into practice that's the hard part.
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