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It's time I grew up


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All my adult life I've blamed my problems and shortcomings on others; my family, my coworkers, the way my parents raised me. My spouse. 

Im both terrified of confronting and owning up to my problems and character faults, but I've never had more clarity that's what I need to do.

how do you move on past that? How do you rewire your brain and thoughts after you've shaped them in a negative way for the past 8 years?

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First of all, I commend you for having the courage to consider that you are ultimately responsible for your life. This is a very hard pill to swallow, and few of us would if it weren't a critical factor in our happiness. But it is, because without taking ownership of our condition, we become a passenger of happenstance and not the driver of our fate. Like all habits, you break them by denying them until your brain has rewritten it's crutch with the replacement action. So every time you fall back on "I can't" or "so and so and such and such made my life this way", you say to yourself "no, I made it this way and I will fix it". There are affirmations you can tell yourself to rewire your thinking. It will take time, and there are days you will relapse, but in time your rewritten thoughts will dominate. There are some great books out there about how to rewire your thinking, you should look into them. 

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The hardest part of it all is looking at yourself. In some cases, I think that you have to accept your own role in the situation, while in other cases it might be a case of working up forgiveness.

I'll use my life as an example. I'm over 50 and only recently taking this approach, so the hard wires are older than the Nixon administration.

Abuse and neglect from dad: When he wasn't swinging a mean paddle or belt, he was yelling and terrifying me. Since then, I've been a parent myself, and know how difficult and intimidating that experience can be. My Challenge is to forgive him via understanding. This is not to excuse what he did, but rather an effort to try to understand his position. He wasn't an all-knowing adult, and in looking at most adults these days, my disappointment is vast. He did his best, but didn't know how, and was probably afraid. I'm still working on this forgiveness.

Abuse from my now ex-wife: This is one where I pointed at her for years as my physical and psychological abuser. That was the easy part. What was hard was accepting the fact that I was always handing her the stick and then standing there while she beat me. It was my Codependency, which had been running unchecked for most of my life, and was probably a by-product of my relationship with my father. My Challenge was to accept my role, acknowledge my Codependent ways, and then start to work on what is causing this, so that I might not fall into another abusive trap again.

In the example of forgiveness, I'm still working on achieving my goal.

In the example of accepting my role in my problem, it's taking lots of work, but I can sense some progress.

It's not an adventure, and not glamorous. It's dark and dirty work. Silently looking inside myself is the scariest thing that I have ever done. Doing this hasn't solved everything, but I'll save my active issues for existing threads. Hopefully this was helpful.

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Both great responses!

morecoffee- how very right you are. Thank you for the encouraging words. I'd like to look up the Happiness Hypothesis on that. Also starting meditation and practicing positive affirmations.

 

lifeisatemporarydisease- thank you for sharing! I'm glad you could share that with me. It takes a lot of personal strength to forgive, and acknowledge ones own fault in a situation without giving the other a free pass. It's encouraging to know I'm not alone.

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Therapy, plain and simple. Seek out a therapist whom you feel comfortable being honest with, and be honest with them - and yourself.

There was a therapist I saw for years that I wasn't making any progress with, and looking back, I can see that it was due to my own inability to discuss what was really bothering me. We wound up talking about the weather and day-to-day activities on almost every session. Finally, after a 9 year hell of a marriage when I genuinely contemplated suicide, I saw a therapist instead. I told him on the first session that I was willing to admit my shortcomings, work on them, and to be a better person once therapy is concluded. I also asked him to push me and pull no punches; I personally NEED to be challenged in a way that makes me own up to my own thoughts, because for so long I was thinking for others and their needs. I can promise you, doing that alone was a HUGE weight off of my shoulders. I can't say the exact same approach will work for you, but the key is to be as honest with yourself as you can. It gets easier over time, believe me.

I wish you the best of luck.

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On 8/30/2017 at 4:09 PM, Abstract42 said:

Therapy, plain and simple. Seek out a therapist whom you feel comfortable being honest with, and be honest with them - and yourself.

There was a therapist I saw for years that I wasn't making any progress with, and looking back, I can see that it was due to my own inability to discuss what was really bothering me. We wound up talking about the weather and day-to-day activities on almost every session. Finally, after a 9 year hell of a marriage when I genuinely contemplated suicide, I saw a therapist instead. I told him on the first session that I was willing to admit my shortcomings, work on them, and to be a better person once therapy is concluded. I also asked him to push me and pull no punches; I personally NEED to be challenged in a way that makes me own up to my own thoughts, because for so long I was thinking for others and their needs. I can promise you, doing that alone was a HUGE weight off of my shoulders. I can't say the exact same approach will work for you, but the key is to be as honest with yourself as you can. It gets easier over time, believe me.

I wish you the best of luck.

Well said! I had a similar issue with my last therapist. We would just make small talk for an hour once a week, and while it was relaxing in a way I never left the room with any plans to improve or any real challenges. My new therapist is much better at challenging me. It's still the hardest darn thing for me to be vulnerable, to anyone, but I'm opening up little by little.

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I am new to this.  I spent all day Sunday on the couch, eating and watching TV.  It scared me.  So I got on this blog.  I'm on medication.  I am very old, divorced for 30 years, alone pretty much.  I'm a retired professional, but can't practice my profession.    I think that there are a lot of people my age out there, who don't know how to use a computer and cannot join this discussion.   I have a psychiatrist and a therapist.  Why am I so low?

Joanalie

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