Jan. 18th, 2015

tranquilityseekers: blue angel staff (education)
I have been steadily doing self-therapy through quality psychological books and workbooks since the age of 17, and maybe longer. Right now, I'm going through the Emotional Resilience book by David Viscott, M.D.-- a psychiatrist. After reading the intro I was a little disappointed, because it seemed that his solution for over-sensitivity was simply to tell people the truth. I took a bit of umbrage to that, because I'm already pretty well-versed in expressing myself honestly, and I quite often get very badly burned in retaliation.

I finally picked it up and continued after skimming more through the pages a bit. Dr. Viscott does explain how speaking your mind can go wrong and what to do to avoid that more and so forth.

Okaaay....

Anyways, the point of chapter one was the process that occurs when we don't express our feelings at the time something happens and instead hold them in. Over time, your memory and the self-talk about the situation gets exaggerated and distorted, creating a situation ripe for "toxic nostalgia"-- which sets you up perfectly to seek repeating situations where you try to resolve the original issue OR you find yourself over-reacting and out-of-control when things finally do get blurted out later. Which makes everything worse, then you get rejected and angry at yourself-- so you hold it in next time until you can't anymore and the cycle starts again.

He also discussed how not being honest with yourself and others makes it easier to play victim and blame others for your own mistakes. Also, that often when people are unhappy they distract themselves with incidental trivialities to avoid dealing with what's really bothering them. People are so afraid of being rejected for expressing their true feelings that they cause themselves real pain, through guilt, anxiety, and repressed rage--.


I can totally see what he means with all that, and have studied such things in self-help work before, so none of this comes as a surprise. I've been trying to work out that "express and get rejected" thing in particular. I've learned to be honest, but gently honest-- most of the time. And for the most part it works out pretty well for everyday misunderstandings and grievances. But the sticking point seems to be power issues. For most people, if I get rejected, my life isn't thrown into disarray. But for dealing with issues with, say, my husband-- there is always this THREAT hanging over me that his moody reaction will lead to worse problems. He has his frustrations too, of course, and that doesn't help.

I'm pretty good at owning my own shit, though-- so that's a good thing! NOT, mind you, that I get much credit for it from others! In fact, one of the down sides of having insight is that you get to be very aware when other people are projecting their shit at you and playing victim (Mira, for example) and using any fault you admit to as ammunition and permission to just go on some relentless attack.

My issue now is that I have deep feelings of sadness and distrust towards others when it comes to deeper relationships. I can work on my own side of things, but I can't make other people do the same, and its reached a point where I don't expect anyone to even want to... which means I don't have the power to help the situation beyond a certain point. And I expect that point to be reached in almost every relationship, and thence to be rejected unfairly.

Yet the only advice for this situation from experts is "forgive and move on." Or, in extreme cases, dismiss and move on as I say! The part where I have been losing hope comes from the perception I've come to have that I will be be eventually letting go and moving on in every relationship prematurely due to irreconcilable differences. It doesn't seem as if there is such a thing as life-long relationships anymore. And that BOTHERS ME, dammit!

My expectations lower more and more over time the more psychological work I do on myself. That may sound the opposite of what you'd expect, but its true. The more I realize what goes on in people's minds and how to counteract it to be a healthier person, the more I realize the gulf that lays between those of us who make an effort and everyone else wallowing in their delusions and distortions. Since I have no power over anyone but myself, all I can do is try to explain things but be prepared to bear witness to other people's assholery!

I must confess a stark truth: I have no RECIPROCAL deep and meaningful relationships in my life.

I have deep attachments. I have great love for a few other people. I have respect and appreciation for everyone I associate with on every level. I do my best to be real and truthful and caring and playful with others. But I have nearly zero expectation of emotional reciprocation, beyond basic respect and affinity. (I know my husband, for instance, is trying-- which is why I'm not giving up there and why we're still friends and family to one another, despite ongoing issues.)

You might well ask me, "What does 'deep and meaningful' mean to you?" I think its pretty simple: a relationship where there is mutual respect and trust, leading to spontaneous expression, sharing of thoughts, and ongoing curiosity and concern for one another's personal sphere, and a willingness to engage on a level deeper than the everyday trivialities and distractions of life.

We're all time-crunched and limited with what we can offer others, but everyone needs at least a few people, maybe 2 or 3, in their lives that invest that much into growing with us as a friend and/or lover. I don't seek nor expect every relationship to be at that level of depth and investment. Of course not! There is room in every life for many different kinds of relationships. I'm dissatisfied, however, because I don't have even ONE that I feel meets that basic desire. Not one. I don't think its asking too much, but I begin to despair that its ever going to happen.

I put all this work into myself to be a better person and have a higher quality of life, but then I find I am pretty much alone for it and can't use it for much of anything except expressing myself in blogs where a few people peep in, read, and sometimes even comment. I would LOVE for there to be a 'real life' person near by who would simply listen to me about the sorts of things I write about here! Just that would transform my life. But there is no one in my 'real life' who cares to hear it. I haven't given up attempting to share these types of things with others. But having your thoughts and feelings met with polite indifference most of the time just fucking hurts and I get tired of it.

I would accuse myself of being too demanding, except that I'm not asking for anything I'm not offering. The result, I'm coming to witness over time, is that I'm ending up being something of a rescuer-- one with few material resources, some kind words and insight, but stretched to the limit with how much time and energy I have to dole out. I don't mind having some connections or relationships like this-- people have hard lives, face crisis, need emotional support and new ideas and I'm happy to offer what I can.

However-! I need a mutually supportive relationship. Where giving and taking is more equally shared or traded back and forth as we meander our way through life. Apparently, I'm not appealing enough, attractive enough, interesting enough or SOMETHING enough to persuade anyone else that the investment would be worth it. At least that's how it appears to me at this time.

My dilemma is how to handle the deep sadness that results from this. Do I continue to struggle and strive for better someday with someone? Or do I just accept this as my fate and settle into an existence of unmet longings? I go back and forth-- but over time, I'm giving up.

I just don't know how to give up without the sadness hanging on. I either need to learn to accept and not be sad about it, or make a friend who is more at my level of personal development. Until one or the other happens, I'm just going to be in a funk, apparently-- a years long funk.

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