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Trying to stay connected & feeling feelings


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Growing up, I was always told that the way I feel about things and people is wrong and criticized for not following "rules" of how to be a good daughter, sister, friend, etc. that I didn't know existed and was never informed of. It was not only in my family, but also being ostracized at school. No surprise that I ended with zero self-esteem and feeling like I don't matter to people, like I'm interchangeable, and like no one really sees me or even wants to bother. Even with people who I thought of as close friends, there was always a way I would be unauthentic and try to adapt myself to the person I was with instead of just being me.

It's gotten so exhausting. So last year, while trying to work on this, I ended up in a therapy group aimed at people with dysfunctional families to help us work on interpersonal relationships. It was terrifying and painful at the beginning, and still is in different ways. I just realized this week that the terror is changing.... and I don't know how to deal with it. Because now I actually feel a connection with the people in the group and that they actually really know me and care about me, and I just want to run away. Whenever people I've cared about have moved away, I've said all the right things about missing them, and I knew I would, but I could never really *feel* it. Now, just the thought of someone in this group leaving is devastating.

I'm really trying to stay here and work through this instead of running away and hiding (i.e., moving somewhere completely new and starting over). And I know this is good, in a way, because I've been trying to connect with my feelings and let myself feel them instead of constantly vetting them to make sure they're "ok" and if not repressing them. But geez, I don't know that I can handle feeling all of my feelings all at once :(

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I think that growing up in a dysfunctional family and having depression and/or other issues does make it hard to learn how to socialize naturally.  You're constantly worried that you're doing the wrong thing and that if anyone ever saw the real you....they would run.

I think it's good that you are feeling connected to these people. Connections can be scary because it makes us vulnerable. It opens us to getting hurt if we lose that person/people. But, I think like many things in life we have to risk hurt in order to feel happiness. Stay with the group and try and fight the urge to run. I think that as people we need connections.

I hope this was helpful.

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I struggle with this daily, I totally understand. The way I work through it, I do it one day at a time- one feeling at a time. If I feel a certain way and catch myself pushing away I reflect in and identify the feeling(s) I'm having. And then ask myself why or what is causing me to feel that way and work to change the way I'm thinking. No one wants to be hurt, no one wants to loose people- that's human nature. I've learned I internalize my feelings, making it very personal. I actively try to look at it from a different perspective after I identify what and why I'm feeling a certain way. Most of the time my conclusion is it's not personal, that someone is doing and going where life takes them. I rewire my thought process, telling myself I'm very grateful for how that person has impacted my life and allowing myself to feel joy for that person, instead of closing off, pushing or running away. It brings me peace, allowing that door to close on its own, on to the next. It also gives me more control over my own person, my thoughts and I truly- genuinely feel joy within my heart. It's a hurdle I deal with daily.  That's what life is about and it does get easier. I used to run, up and moving. And yes it is "easier", but no matter where you go this is going to be something you're going to face again and again, so ultimately it's only going to hurt you in the long run- temporary or immediate relief isn't always a good thing. I hope this helps. 

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