Tag Archive: anxiety


Q&A: Self-Confidence

The one hundred-thirteenth question for the Q&A section of this blog is: “When did you have the weakest self-confidence ever?”

Oh, geez…this is a hard one for me. A whole bunch of answers pop into my head at once, and ranking them isn’t incredibly easy. When I really think about it, if you asked my friends when they thought I had the weakest self-confidence, I’m pretty sure their answers would be very different from the one I have to give here. Theirs would sound much more reasonable and logical than mine, but I do believe mine to be more accurate, based on how I actually felt.

See, it would stand to reason that the times I had the weakest self-confidence would be when I allowed myself to stay in abusive relationships, even after knowing they were abusive…and certainly, the last ‘relationship’ I was in would be a good contender in that regard…but I don’t think any of those were when my self confidence was the lowest. I think, in fact, that my self confidence was the lowest when I started to heal from those abuses, as odd as that might sound to say.

I’m not sure I really can (or even want to) explain why I feel that way in a way that will make sense, but what it comes down to is that when I finally got into a healthy, stable relationship with someone, who supported me and allowed me to be vulnerable to them…I got all kinds of fucked up. Apparently that’s a completely normal response to something like that, but at the time it really didn’t feel like it; it felt like I had finally found someone who loved and respected me and wanted to help me overcome my past, but that instead of being all I could be for them, I was a massive ball of anxiety and mental illness instead. The reason why makes sense; I was not at all used to having a healthy relationship and therefore had no idea how one would work, so I had to basically un-learn everything I had ever known about relationships for 28 years, and learn something entirely new, which is overwhelmingly difficult…but despite logic, it just felt, to me, like I was a horrible person.

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There is a lot more detail I could go into on this one, and part of me feels like I should, but most of me is just having a really hard time writing this, because I am massively sick and it’s messing with my brain something awful…so before I make this really weird or incoherent (I’m really just hoping I haven’t done that already), I’m going to end it. Sorry, guys; this might have been a good one, but I just don’t have it in me at all right now. Damn illness…

Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, and please feel free to post your own in the comments! :)

(Next question: “What is the most inexplicable thing you’ve ever witnessed?”)

Q&A: Jobs

The one hundred-third question for the Q&A section of this blog is: “What was the job you enjoyed least?”

I want to say delivering papers, because it required me to be up super early in the morning, lugging around a very heavy bag and then bugging people for money a few times a month…but unfortunately, I think I still have to say babysitting was the job I enjoyed least. I feel really bad about saying that, because the kids I babysat were wonderful, and could not possibly have been any better…I was just never good with kids, and I never knew what to do to entertain them. I always felt awkward and uncomfortable around them, and like I hadn’t done enough to make them happy throughout the day, but didn’t know how to change that. So it was basically a constant source of anxiety for me, that had me wishing I could go home every minute of the day…so yeah, we’ll go with that.

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Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, and please feel free to post your own in the comments! :)

(Next question: “When were you most and least selfish?”)

Q&A: Unattractive

The one hundredth (!) question for the Q&A section of this blog is: “Who was the least attractive person you were ever attracted to?”

I hate to say it, but this is a bit of a hard one for me, because when a relationship ends for me, once I get closure I tend to be completely incapable of finding that person attractive ever again. Not just “I don’t want to date you again”, but rather that I don’t really see what I found attractive about them in the first place. That is not all-encompassing, of course; usually we can remain friends, and I can see a lot of redeeming qualities in them (and some have so many that I will still “gush” about all their positive traits), but it certainly affects how I view them physically, because for me, physical attraction is largely based on my mental/emotional connection to an individual.

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That being said, there are a couple of people who popped to mind right away when I read this question, because the negative qualities that they had that broke us up are still quite apparent in them, to the point that I’m not sure how I ever “put up with” them, and of course, that makes them quite unattractive to me in the physical sense, as well. It is to the point, with a couple of them, that I just absolutely do not understand what I ever saw in them physically, because when I look closely at pictures of them now, I cannot find anything at all that I would be attracted to.

Now, I guess I should say that I have never dated anyone that I found unattractive before entering the relationship. My “tastes” are very broad, so I can find a large range of different types of people attractive, because again, it’s mostly based on personality for me anyway, so I found them all attractive when I was dating them. It’s just looking back on them now that makes me able to view them as unattractive.

But even though a couple of people came to mind when I read this question, there is only one person whose photos, if I see them, will consistently make me feel actively nauseous, and that’s the guy I very briefly dated before I met my current boyfriend. It’s kind of funny, because I’ve been in relationships where I have been raped, used and abused, yet I can still find those individuals more attractive than this guy. Why? Because he was a potentially very scary, and definitely very abusive jackass, who tried to manipulate me into believing he was otherwise (and that I was horrible), because he knew I would be vulnerable to that, given my history…and he let that show far too soon.

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When we first met, he seemed like the perfect guy; absolutely “too good to be true”…and he was. The first time I saw him, I found him physically attractive, and that only grew the more he shared with me, and the more I developed feelings for him, but through it all, I couldn’t shake this nasty little feeling of anxiety that I had about him. It was like he was saying and doing all the right things, and I knew I should trust him, but I just couldn’t bring myself to actually do so. Something was not right, and my gut knew it, but he kept convincing me that it was just the abuse from my past clouding my mind and making me doubt both him and myself. He kept assuring me he would never do those things, and that he didn’t know how anyone could. But still, I just couldn’t get comfortable with him.

In total, we only dated for about a month, and in that time, cracks had already started to show in who he claimed to be. He would get frustrated with me for not being able to make decisions that I had absolutely no basis with which to make, while he did, and he would push me into situations I was not comfortable with, like meeting my friends (which was a huge red flag for me; I’m usually very excited for my significant other to meet my friends, but in this case, I didn’t want him to at all, and kept trying to find ways to stop it from happening, even though I wasn’t quite sure why I didn’t want it…at least I did manage to lie my way out of him meeting my family), and then talk shit about those things (and my friends) later on. He preached “no judgment”, yet he constantly judged me and the people in my life, considering all of us to be “lesser than” because we weren’t as “worldly” as he was.

He also tried to diminish me by repeatedly pointing out things he liked or was interested in (activities, favourite foods, etc.), and talking about how disappointed he was that he wouldn’t get to enjoy those things because “I couldn’t” (because of fears, allergies, foods I disliked, whatever), even though in most of those situations, I tried and tried to get through to him that I wanted to try them. It didn’t matter what I said, or how much I genuinely wanted to try something (or could point out reasons he was wrong in saying I wouldn’t enjoy it, or modifications that could easily be made so I would); if it was something he really liked that he could find any way I might not like, he would essentially ban me from trying it so that he could continue to remind me of how much I was holding him back from the things he loved. Every weekend he visited, we had to have pizza, because he refused to cook for me because I “wouldn’t like what he likes” (even though he claimed to be a phenomenal cook) so it was “for my own good”, and made me very uncomfortable with the idea of cooking for him, because everything I liked was apparently so “bland”.

There were other red flags, as well, but the biggest thing really was how uncomfortable I felt with him, and how I very quickly stopped wanting him to come visit. I didn’t feel right about any of it, and I didn’t see how we could have any sort of future, but he kept telling me how good he was going to be for me, and how I was letting my anxiety hold me back, so because I didn’t want to do that, I stayed.

Then, on Canada Day, we went on a road trip to Six Flags, and that’s where it all fell apart completely. I won’t get into all the gory details, but suffice it to say, I almost had to find another way to get home, and his true colours really showed during that trip. I only made it back to Canada because I managed to convince him I still wanted to be with him, and that I was going to comply with doing the things he wanted to do…but once we were back, I dropped the act and told him “no” when he tried to force me to have sex with him instead of meeting my friend, who had cooked me dinner and was waiting for me (after already telling him no to his suggestion that he invite himself along), and that was the end of that. He was so pissed that I said “no” to him, that I never saw him again after that, aside from when we exchanged a couple of things we’d borrowed from one another (at which point I met him in the parking lot and didn’t even speak to him, because I wanted him to leave as quickly as possible). And I’m not sure I’d ever been happier than I was when I realized it was actually finally over.

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So, yeah. Too much, too soon, too scary, and I even got an infection (not an STI, to be clear :P) out of it in the end (which, of course, was all my fault according to him, even though the doctor said otherwise), and now, seeing pictures of him or thinking too much about what happened with him legitimately makes me feel like throwing up. I hate knowing he was in my life for even just as long as he was, and I think he’s the only person I’ve been with who I 100% wish I had never met. I know what I saw “in him”, but it wasn’t who he actually was, and who he actually is is by far the most unattractive person I’ve ever met. And that is all I’ll say about that.

Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, and please feel free to post your own in the comments! :)

(Next question: “What has been your most difficult breakup?”)

Q&A: Spontaneity

The eightieth question for the Q&A section of this blog is: “What is the most spontaneous you have ever been?”

I’m not normally a very spontaneous person, though that’s something I’ve been hoping for a long time would change about me…so it’s hard for me to think of anything spontaneous I’ve really done at any point before the past 8 months or so. I say that because I have done a few spontaneous things with my current boyfriend, since I met him, so I can go into a few of those here…but I still feel like there must be something further back that would fit better here. I’m probably wrong, though.

Anyway, the spontaneity with regards to my current boyfriend started, actually, the first day I met him, almost exactly 8 months ago. I was home with my son, trying to figure out what we would do for the day and chatting online with him (the man who would become my boyfriend), when he suddenly invited me and my son to join him and his son for a picnic play-date at a local park. Now, usually I would have instantly said no to a request like that, because I’d never met the guy so I couldn’t be sure I’d want my son around him, because I had no time to mentally prepare for meeting someone new (it’s surprisingly hard and anxiety provoking for me), because at the time I had lost my voice to laryngitis, and some other reasons that aren’t coming to the front of my mind right now but I know I had…but he assured me that the loss of voice was no problem, and that that would be a silly reason not to meet, and the attitude he had, combined with the things we’d talked about and how comfortable with and drawn to him I’d felt since we first started chatting, led me to say yes.

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In the time between saying yes and actually getting to the park, I thought of backing out multiple times, but by that point I’d already told my son what we were doing and taken him to pick up new sand toys to play with at the beach (there was a small one at the park we were going to), and I didn’t want to disappoint him, so I went along with it anyway. So, spontaneous action #1, which led to an amazing picnic, 6 hours together playing with the kids, and a plan to take the kids out on the harbour the following Sunday.

After that, the spontaneity continued with him asking me, late on Monday night (we met on Sunday), to go for a walk with him at a lake I’d never even heard of before, a bit of a distance from my home. The friend I was with when he asked this of me thought I was crazy for considering going, but go I did, meeting him at midnight in a grocery store parking lot. We ended up walking all around the lake and surrounding neighbourhood until 3:30 am, talking.  Our first date was that following Thursday, and was once again a situation where he asked me last minute if I wanted to go out with him, and I just couldn’t pass it up.

A couple of weeks later, we’d seen each other almost (if not) every day, and it was at that point that we got to talking about his motorcycle, and how much it meant to him.  Up to that point, I’d been very afraid of motorcycles, but I could see how much he loved it, so when he suggested we go out for a ride that night, after I told him I’d be willing to try it sometime…well, as you can probably guess, I did. At midnight that night, I hopped on the back of his bike, and off we went for a spontaneous ride. We were gone two hours, at least, and it was just fantastic. I’ve loved the bike ever since.

There have been some other spontaneous situations with him since then, but those are the most notable to me, and certainly stick out far better than any spontaneous situations I may have had that didn’t involve him. And let me tell you; I regret absolutely none of those spontaneous decisions. They were some of the best decisions in my life, and I look forward to more in the future.

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Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, and please feel free to post your own in the comments! :)

(Next question: “What was your most Freudian moment?”)

Q&A: Hard Love

The fifty-seventh question for the Q&A section of this blog is: “What is the hardest thing about love?”

This question is very well timed, as this is something I’ve had to deal with a lot lately.  See, I’ve been in many relationships in my life, but as much as I’ve been through and as much as I’ve thought I loved people before, I never actually had to face how hard love really is until now…because I guess I never actually felt it.  I mean, I loved the people I was with before, to some degree, but considering how significantly different I feel in my current relationship, and how much it has already changed for me, I have to think that there’s probably a pretty good chance that I was never in love before.  Or maybe it’s just that this is the first healthy relationship I’ve had in a long time, if it can be argued that I ever had one before it at all, so I’ve had to approach it completely differently than I did my previous unhealthy relationships.

Either way, as I said, lately I’ve had to face the fact that real love is not easy, but not in the ways I had thought before.  In the past, I let a lot of bad things happen in my relationships, because I completely misunderstood what people meant when they said that love and relationships weren’t easy, and that good ones took work.  I took that to mean that they required sacrifice, which is true, but not in the ways that I was sacrificing myself in the past…and that because a good relationship is worth fighting for, that that excused any amount of actual fighting that went on, because obviously we wouldn’t fight if we didn’t care about each other, right?  Yeah.  I was very naive, for a very long time, and things got pretty bad because of it. I let things get way out of hand, and stayed in situations I logically knew better than to stay in, because I thought that I must love these people if I was willing to give up so much of myself for them.  What I failed to realize was that if the relationships had actually been healthy, I wouldn’t have had to give up myself.

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Anyway, what is the hardest thing about love?  Being vulnerable.  That’s not something I’m used to.  In the past, I never really felt vulnerable in any other sense than that I knew that the possibility existed that the people I loved (whether my partner, friends or family) could die (which was and is something that worries me a lot more than it probably should on a daily basis); otherwise, while I knew that my partner could leave me at any time, I never really thought that they would.  See, in my previous relationships, no matter  how dramatic or horrible they got, I felt a certain sense of security in them, because I knew those partners needed me (for one reason or another), so even if we weren’t happy, it was less likely for them to leave unexpectedly.  I also never really gave my whole heart to those relationships, both because they were never really my ‘idea’ (that is, I was not the pursuer, and in most cases I actually wasn’t even all that interested in the person in the beginning, I just gave it a shot because I knew it was what they wanted and I felt guilty) and because I was never really all that happy in them, so I didn’t ever worry about how much the loss of them would effect me until it was happening…at which point the upset I felt was more because of how much I had invested into the relationship (time, money, energy, etc.) and how much I hated that I felt that much further from finding someone to spend my life with, than it was because I was actually sad to lose the person.

Ultimately, I knew none of them were “the one” for me, as much as I wanted them to be so I could stop starting over in relationships all the time, so I guess I just never gave as much of myself emotionally as I could have had I actually been in love with any of them…though of course I didn’t know that that was the case until I met someone I actually did fall in love with, and could see the difference.  And the main difference, of course, is how vulnerable I have felt since being with him.  It’s been almost crippling, at times, to be honest…and without the amazing support provided to me by both my lovely boyfriend himself and the best friend anyone could ever ask for (Mike), I would have run away from this relationship long ago.  And that would be the single worst thing I could ever do to myself.

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See, I’ve been through several abusive relationships, on top of a childhood that was largely good but also extremely screwed up in some ways (and, as I’ve learned, was perhaps even more screwed up than I consciously remember), so as a result, I have developed a lot of fear.  Fear of being cheated on, fear of being abandoned, fear of being left for someone better, fear of being abused again, fear of being taken advantage of, fear of taking advantage of others, fear of being abusive, fear of not being good enough, fear of annoying people, fear of being too damaged, fear of disappointing my partner, fear of confrontation, etc., etc., etc…I could go on for days with the things I fear.  The thing is, I didn’t realize how afraid I actually was until I was given someone to love who treats me wonderfully, because the fear of losing him is by far the single greatest fear I have ever had in my life, and has stirred up all those other fears so much that it’s been almost suffocating at times.  And yes, I have tried to run, and I am not at all proud of that, but at the time I didn’t know what else to do, and I thought it would be for the best for him if I left. Luckily, as I mentioned, my incredible boyfriend and best friend both stepped up and helped me see how much I was self-sabotaging, and have helped me find methods to deal with that, so I can move through the process of healing myself enough that I won’t be so scared and feel so vulnerable all the time.

Because, y’know, I really have never felt this vulnerable in my life.  This is the first relationship I’ve ever been in where I feel like I’m the one who loves more, and who is most definitely the pursuer and the one more invested in the relationship, and that is absolutely terrifying.  I am so afraid of screwing this up that even the slightest idea that he could be annoyed with or mad at me fills me with anxiety, and it’s only now that I have realized just how non-confrontational I really am.  I hate fighting, I hate drama; I just want everything to be happy and loving all the time…and I know that’s not possible, and I can accept that, I just really don’t want to do anything to make him leave me, and I’m so very aware, in this relationship, of how real a possibility it is that he will.  Why?  Because he doesn’t need me, he wants me.  There is nothing I can do for him that he can’t do for himself, and it’s very hard for me to accept that, because that means he’s only with me because he wants to be, because I make him happy, and…that’s not something I have ever experienced before.  I don’t know how to be with someone that actually wants me, and respects and loves me for who I am.  It’s 100% foreign.

So it’s a hard process, training myself out of past thought patterns and into better, healthier ones, and I know I’m going to feel very vulnerable and very afraid for a long time, but I also know he loves me, and I know he’ll always be there for me, so…I can do it.  It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it is also absolutely the most rewarding, amazing experience of my life, and I have yet to spend a single moment with him in which I wasn’t completely aware of how much I love him.  He is the most incredible person I have ever met, and I can’t imagine ever going through, with him, the things I went through with others.  Hell, we haven’t even been mad at each other yet, because we talk everything out so well. I can only hope to be lucky enough to make that last.  He is so worth it, and I am so grateful to finally be in a healthy, happy relationship.  It is more amazing than I even imagined it would be.

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Sorry for the incredibly long answer!

Check out Mike’s answer at http://emptystress.wordpress.com, and please feel free to post your own in the comments! :)

(Next question: “What is the cruellest thing a person has ever said to you?”)

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