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  1. - Top - End - #211
    Ettin in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Honest Tiefling View Post
    This is pretty much what I was going to suggest. A computer chat with or without audio might be different enough. I am pretty sure Alexa can handle calls as well, and screaming at a tube is quite different from calling! Another idea, if you both have a movie service, is to call while watching the movie. The movie might be enough of a distraction to work anyway.

    And if technology fails, consider writing him a weekly letter. Hard to do as frequently, but it feels personal for many people. Maybe send a small little gag toy or treat with it.
    Online gaming might also be a fun option. There are a lot of games out there that are fun for 2 people to play, and they typically come with a voice chat that you can use if you want.
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  2. - Top - End - #212
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Online gaming might also be a fun option. There are a lot of games out there that are fun for 2 people to play, and they typically come with a voice chat that you can use if you want.
    Or really any sort of activity to do together. Giving him something else to focus on during those times when he is uncomfortable may help him acclimate and become more comfortable faster.

    (Also, I don't know what age range he's in, or his level of comfort with computer games, but there are plenty of online multiplayer board and card games around as well. Some are free and web-based.)

    The vacation might help in this way. You have a reason to be together for a while (that isn't solely to see each other), and hopefully it will help him get used to anything that might make him uncomfortable.

    As for what to say, I think Tvtyrant is right. "I miss you and I miss talking, but I want to keep you comfortable and I won't force it" is the key point. Give him the decision for just how to proceed, so he can ease into things as he needs to. Obviously with your mother dying there's a trauma here that isn't just your transition, so you don't want to force things to go faster than he's comfortable as that can be counterproductive. But also he seems to clearly want to be involved in your life, as seen in the wedding story and the desire to email you a lot. Encourage that, and reciprocate the desire. Maybe he'll surprise you.

  3. - Top - End - #213
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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    So I dropped a metal bar a couple feet onto my left arm about four days ago, increasingly sure I have a minor fracture and entirely sure I can't afford to have it looked at. I'm hoping it is a bone bruise or I smacked the nerve really bad, it is fully operable and feels smooth when I grip it but my arm and hand hurt without having any noticeable bruising at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  4. - Top - End - #214
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    So I dropped a metal bar a couple feet onto my left arm about four days ago, increasingly sure I have a minor fracture and entirely sure I can't afford to have it looked at. I'm hoping it is a bone bruise or I smacked the nerve really bad, it is fully operable and feels smooth when I grip it but my arm and hand hurt without having any noticeable bruising at all.
    Right, so the big advice is to see a doctor, but you've stated your reasons there. I won't go further down that political discussion, especially since as a Canadian the topic is literally foreign to me.

    I'll say that usually (not always) a break will cause bruising. Nerve damage or muscle strain won't, but also don't usually last too long. But that's a big usually, and there's no guarantee. It could be lots of things, and nobody can diagnose it over the internet. (I think I'm already pushing the rules of the board by saying as much as I am.)

    You might want to splint it or keep it in a sling when you can, just to avoid damaging it further? General first aid for a suspected break is to keep it immobile.

    But really, the best bet is to go to a doctor, or at least find someone with first aid experience who can look at it for you. Is there anybody who could help you with the cost of a doctor visit? Are there any free clinics around? Maybe teaching clinics at a local university?
    Last edited by ve4grm; 2019-07-31 at 10:53 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #215
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    I would like to thank Honest Tiefling and FinnLassie for their support. I have lately felt more secure about teaching English to the pupils whose first language is English. I would say that your encouragement helped me to start a mental process that has made me a bit more determined. My classes will start soon, and I don't feel too anxious about them. I think it will be okay.

  6. - Top - End - #216
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Tvtyrant View Post
    So I dropped a metal bar a couple feet onto my left arm about four days ago, increasingly sure I have a minor fracture and entirely sure I can't afford to have it looked at. I'm hoping it is a bone bruise or I smacked the nerve really bad, it is fully operable and feels smooth when I grip it but my arm and hand hurt without having any noticeable bruising at all.
    Maybe on the positive side: My mom broke one or some of her metatarsal bones (middle foot bones) and refused to go to the doctor until weeks later. That being said she is old and knows her body, plus she is pretty robust (and got quite lucky). Please see a doctor. If you worry about being unable to pay, I read about American clinics knowing people can't pay the inflated prices so you can always negotiate the price (and you should even if you can pay them).

    I've read an example where someone literally got deducted 80% of a hospital admission (the remaining total of 20% was still too high but still).

  7. - Top - End - #217
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Stuff about therapy's still bothering me.

    I can start to understand the one guy who was so bad. I can't understand the others.

    How could so many people completely miss what was going on? Why did I waste so many years of my life going to the people who were supposed to help me? How do I even talk about it in a society that's insistent on telling me that I'm bad if I don't go to therapy and bad if I don't benefit from it? And again, how did the supposed experts so completely miss what was actually going on?

    It's clear to me now that a lot of the problem was that I was being treated based on faulty assumptions. Unfortunately those assumptions also meant that my own misgivings were seen as symptoms, rather than being taken seriously.
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  8. - Top - End - #218
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    DwarfFighterGuy

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    How could so many people completely miss what was going on?
    It's amazing what people can rationalize away. Just look at how many actors, athletes, comedians, musicians, whatever are skeevy people in various ways, yet still have fanbases that just won't believe it's true.

    In your case here, it's kind of absurd just how many did this, especially as they are supposed to be professionals, but also kind of understandable since it may have been perceived as not just a statement about the first guy, but an attack on the profession itself. People get defensive sometimes. It's super unfortunate that it happened to you in the context that it did.

    Not to excuse it in any way, though. It's bull and should never have happened.

  9. - Top - End - #219
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by ve4grm View Post
    It's amazing what people can rationalize away. Just look at how many actors, athletes, comedians, musicians, whatever are skeevy people in various ways, yet still have fanbases that just won't believe it's true.

    In your case here, it's kind of absurd just how many did this, especially as they are supposed to be professionals, but also kind of understandable since it may have been perceived as not just a statement about the first guy, but an attack on the profession itself. People get defensive sometimes. It's super unfortunate that it happened to you in the context that it did.

    Not to excuse it in any way, though. It's bull and should never have happened.
    I wasn't even thinking about the first guy. I was thinking about the issues with my mother. Like, when I started to bring up the idea that maybe there was something wrong there, I was encouraged to not talk about it because we didn't want to focus on the past. The message I got from therapy was "you believe there's an issue with this relationship because you're mentally ill."

    The reality - that I'd grown up with an abusive parent and was carrying the coping skills I'd learned in that environment into adulthood - actually made things make sense. The treatment I got seemed to be based on the idea that I'd suddenly developed issues as an adult. The whole experience of therapy has very much felt like "only a paranoid person could ever believe that what's happened to you could be possible."

    I think I somewhat understand what they were trying to do. They were probably right that I had some ways of coping that weren't helpful. The trouble is they were pushing me to use coping skills that had consistently had extreme negative results for me in the past, and then saying I "wasn't trying" or "didn't want to get better" if I didn't want to put them into practice. The same coping skills, in fact, that I'd both been repeatedly told I ought to be using and repeatedly smacked down for daring to actually use.

    I did want to get better. I just wanted a bit more assurance first that I was actually going to be getting better and not just blinding myself to danger. And the message from therapy was that that wasn't ok, there was obviously no danger and I was just being difficult. And I felt that "therapy is hard work sometimes" was basically a cover where any distress or objection on my part could be dismissed as me "not wanting to put in the work."
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2019-08-07 at 04:55 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #220
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    I think I somewhat understand what they were trying to do. They were probably right that I had some ways of coping that weren't helpful. The trouble is they were pushing me to use coping skills that had consistently had extreme negative results for me in the past, and then saying I "wasn't trying" or "didn't want to get better" if I didn't want to put them into practice. The same coping skills, in fact, that I'd both been repeatedly told I ought to be using and repeatedly smacked down for daring to actually use.
    Did you tell them this and explain WHY it was a problem? I mean it does seem mind boggling that multiple therapists would suggest the same thing, and they'd all react the same way to you explaining why that doesnt work....

  11. - Top - End - #221
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    WolfInSheepsClothing

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    So my wife went for a second opinion. The second doctor had like seven options for her, as opposed to two. The second doctor also had more information that sounded more correct for the two options the first doctor had.

    I think that my new procedure is to assume that all doctors are morons, vet their ideas thoroughly, and always go for more opinions.

    I have had so many bad doctors/dentist with my HMO . . ..
    Last edited by darkrose50; 2019-08-08 at 09:53 AM.

  12. - Top - End - #222
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    Did you tell them this and explain WHY it was a problem? I mean it does seem mind boggling that multiple therapists would suggest the same thing, and they'd all react the same way to you explaining why that doesnt work....
    To give an example:

    When I did start bringing up my mother, I got all the usual advice on dealing with relationships. Use I feel statements, try to compromise, that sort of thing. And I know I kept saying "no, I know that won't work." I didn't really know why I thought that, I just had this strong sense that it was a really bad idea that I couldn't explain.

    In retrospect, from my perspective, it's clear what had happened. There was nothing I could ever have done to fix the relationship with my mother. She simply doesn't want to relate to me in a healthy way. And she will take things like that and use them as ammo to hurt you and to restore the relationship dynamics that she wants. The therapist's advice wasn't safe.

    On some level I knew that things like that were a bad idea. But I still wasn't at the point where I could recognize why. As far as I knew my mother was a perfectly normal parent - and I think I was working off of the idea that the therapist had a fairly similar model of normal parenting to what I did. So to me the therapist was just pushing obviously bad things for some reason and it didn't make any sense.

    From the therapist's perspective, I'm guessing it looked like I was just refusing to take any of their advice. I got framed as being difficult. I felt like when I said "I don't know" it was taken as some sort of indication that I was hiding something from the therapist. I don't get the sense that there was ever any serious consideration of the idea that my instinctive response might be the correct one, or that I genuinely might not know. I got the same reaction when I said things like "I don't understand" - that it wasn't taken at face value and I just wasn't trying, when I actually didn't understand.

    This is all extremely common in abuse victims, by the way. You learn normal from what you're used to. I didn't explain why because I honestly, genuinely didn't know why. I wouldn't possibly be able to explain why until I had the chance to sort through things on my own without therapy interfering - a process that took quite some time even then. All I had at the time was "I know this is a bad idea but I don't know why", and that got consistently treated as me being difficult or uncooperative.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2019-08-08 at 12:05 PM.
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  13. - Top - End - #223
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    Griffon

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    After reading some newspapers this last weekend I've been feeling sad and on Tuesday to distract myself I did a websearch for more information about my best friend from elementary school who was my second D&D DM (his eldest brother was my first DM) who I met back in the ’70’s, who’s dead now, I saw a page memorializing him, he had beautiful second wife and kids whom I never met (I was at his wedding with his first wife, who later cheated on him and they divorced) he became a scientist (he seemed far more imaginative than me in our youth and I guess was smarter as well), moved to Santa Cruz, and died of cancer not too long ago.

    I looked up another friend from the same times who who’s mom became a junkie when we were teenagers and he moved into my Mom’s house so I moved into my Dad’s house because it was too crowded, when he turned 18 he joined the Marines, and I was a little glad to see him get out of town, but I couldn’t find any trace of him on-line so his fate remains unknown to me.

    And then I made a mistake that kept me from sleeping Tuesday night/Wednesday morning: I looked up the girl that came with me to my best friends wedding when I think I was 21 or 22 and she was 18 or 19, but we met when we were both still teenagers, and I fell for her hard (as only teenagers can) we dated a bit, in time she lost interest in me romantically (as most women do their men, but luckily for us men older women will resign themselves to staying with us sometimes) and I never fell as hard for another girl of women again including my beautiful wife who I met when I was 23 and have been with since I was 24.

    For around the second to last sort of “date” I had with the girl I’ll call “K” (when we were at the “just being friends” stage) she called me to invite me to a house party concert, and then when I called her back she was very angry with me because I called her by her childhood name, and not the new name she had chosen for herself of and I mostly decided then that it would be better to mostly curtail the friendship, though I saw her a few times afterwards, once when I was on a motorcycle that I was proud of and I saw her and said hello, once some years latet on an actual dinner for the two of us at a fancy restaurant (which we never did when we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend, mostly we just rode on my motorscooter) when she indulged my whim to try to LARP an adult “date” despite usually being too poor for such things, and the last time was at a bookstore that I was at with my future wife for a reading she wanted to attend, and I got in line to buy a book the cashier said my name (twice!) until I realized that the cashier was “K”, who said to me: “I thought you were moving to Seattle” and I replied: “I was there for months, but it was just too dark”, and I haven’t spoken to her again for decades, and I assumed that she moved out of town like most of the friends I had in my youth.

    Well…

    … “K” did go to college out of town, but she came back and has been teaching at a nearby university (the University!) for many years, and the reason she was easier to find out about on-line than my other old friends was she’s had five books published and a lot of articles on-line (some at websites and publications that I’ve read sometimes making me feel like a dunce that I never noticed her by-line.

    In many way my wife reminded me of “K” when we met, as my future wife was a student at the University law school, had ambitions to be a musician and a writer, had won some poetry competitions, was more educated than me and had impressive books – and after she met me she dropped out of school, never got published, the drummer of our “band” left, and my wife stayed in an apartment with me that had a leaking roof for 17 years, and for a year with me from jobsite to jobsite sleeping in a truck with a camper, we buried one son who didn’t live a year, had two other sons, and finally bought a house in 2011 when we were both past 40 years old.

    “K” instead became an academic, met and married a musician/composer when she was in her 30's, became a prolific writer (on banned topics, so don't expect a further hint of who), had no children, but has fame – yes it had been a long night and morning of reading!

    Reading first my old best friend’s accomplishments, and then my old girlfriend’s accomplishments, has made me feel pretty insignificant, but more than that it was like watching an It's a Wonderful Life-ish vision, but with the moral reversed as it’s made me feel that my wife could’ve done so much more without me, because I really did have a “type”: long dark hair, middle-class background, and my educational.and intellectual superior, and yes future Mrs. 2D8HP reminded me of “K”, and given what “K” accomplished and Mrs 2D8HP once had ambitions to, I’m feeling like I've been a bad influence and an anchor on my wife right now, and given our age and parental duties it's too late to fix that, though maybe it's just a mood of mine because of a lack of vitamins, or that I'm running out of room and places to hide all the books I buy (which is my main hobby) as I was already despondent regarding news from places that I usually regard as "There be Dragons", in any case - I'm feelin' down.
    You had kids and K didn't? You're ahead.
    The end of what Son? The story? There is no end. There's just the point where the storytellers stop talking.

  14. - Top - End - #224
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    Lizardfolk

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    After reading some newspapers this last weekend I've been feeling sad and on Tuesday to distract myself I did a websearch for more information about my best friend from elementary school who was my second D&D DM (his eldest brother was my first DM) who I met back in the ’70’s, who’s dead now, I saw a page memorializing him, he had beautiful second wife and kids whom I never met (I was at his wedding with his first wife, who later cheated on him and they divorced) he became a scientist (he seemed far more imaginative than me in our youth and I guess was smarter as well), moved to Santa Cruz, and died of cancer not too long ago.

    I looked up another friend from the same times who who’s mom became a junkie when we were teenagers and he moved into my Mom’s house so I moved into my Dad’s house because it was too crowded, when he turned 18 he joined the Marines, and I was a little glad to see him get out of town, but I couldn’t find any trace of him on-line so his fate remains unknown to me.

    And then I made a mistake that kept me from sleeping Tuesday night/Wednesday morning: I looked up the girl that came with me to my best friends wedding when I think I was 21 or 22 and she was 18 or 19, but we met when we were both still teenagers, and I fell for her hard (as only teenagers can) we dated a bit, in time she lost interest in me romantically (as most women do their men, but luckily for us men older women will resign themselves to staying with us sometimes) and I never fell as hard for another girl of women again including my beautiful wife who I met when I was 23 and have been with since I was 24.

    For around the second to last sort of “date” I had with the girl I’ll call “K” (when we were at the “just being friends” stage) she called me to invite me to a house party concert, and then when I called her back she was very angry with me because I called her by her childhood name, and not the new name she had chosen for herself of and I mostly decided then that it would be better to mostly curtail the friendship, though I saw her a few times afterwards, once when I was on a motorcycle that I was proud of and I saw her and said hello, once some years latet on an actual dinner for the two of us at a fancy restaurant (which we never did when we were actually boyfriend and girlfriend, mostly we just rode on my motorscooter) when she indulged my whim to try to LARP an adult “date” despite usually being too poor for such things, and the last time was at a bookstore that I was at with my future wife for a reading she wanted to attend, and I got in line to buy a book the cashier said my name (twice!) until I realized that the cashier was “K”, who said to me: “I thought you were moving to Seattle” and I replied: “I was there for months, but it was just too dark”, and I haven’t spoken to her again for decades, and I assumed that she moved out of town like most of the friends I had in my youth.

    Well…

    … “K” did go to college out of town, but she came back and has been teaching at a nearby university (the University!) for many years, and the reason she was easier to find out about on-line than my other old friends was she’s had five books published and a lot of articles on-line (some at websites and publications that I’ve read sometimes making me feel like a dunce that I never noticed her by-line.

    In many way my wife reminded me of “K” when we met, as my future wife was a student at the University law school, had ambitions to be a musician and a writer, had won some poetry competitions, was more educated than me and had impressive books – and after she met me she dropped out of school, never got published, the drummer of our “band” left, and my wife stayed in an apartment with me that had a leaking roof for 17 years, and for a year with me from jobsite to jobsite sleeping in a truck with a camper, we buried one son who didn’t live a year, had two other sons, and finally bought a house in 2011 when we were both past 40 years old.

    “K” instead became an academic, met and married a musician/composer when she was in her 30's, became a prolific writer (on banned topics, so don't expect a further hint of who), had no children, but has fame – yes it had been a long night and morning of reading!

    Reading first my old best friend’s accomplishments, and then my old girlfriend’s accomplishments, has made me feel pretty insignificant, but more than that it was like watching an It's a Wonderful Life-ish vision, but with the moral reversed as it’s made me feel that my wife could’ve done so much more without me, because I really did have a “type”: long dark hair, middle-class background, and my educational.and intellectual superior, and yes future Mrs. 2D8HP reminded me of “K”, and given what “K” accomplished and Mrs 2D8HP once had ambitions to, I’m feeling like I've been a bad influence and an anchor on my wife right now, and given our age and parental duties it's too late to fix that, though maybe it's just a mood of mine because of a lack of vitamins, or that I'm running out of room and places to hide all the books I buy (which is my main hobby) as I was already despondent regarding news from places that I usually regard as "There be Dragons", in any case - I'm feelin' down.
    Being as you are older and wiser then me I won't give you advice on this. I'm sorry that you are feeling down though.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Vibranium: If it was on the periodic table, its chemical symbol would be "Bs".

  15. - Top - End - #225
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Actually the above reminds me of a pretty common problem I've had in therapy - the sense that "I don't know" wasn't an acceptable answer. Trouble is that when I said "I don't know", I actually meant I don't ******* know! all the trying to get me to open up in the world or telling me therapy won't work if I'm not cooperating won't help if I actually don't know.

    But working with people who never seem to believe you doesn't help. The only message I got was that I was too bad and messed up for therapy. Because even when I told the truth I obviously wasn't doing it right. After all, they were the experts, and therapy works if you try hard enough. Only people who don't want to get better aren't in therapy.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2019-08-08 at 03:47 PM.
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Mostly i am just reading, but.. i just wanted to tell you all that i am sorry about so much that happens in your lifes.

    WarKitty, you've got so much bad luck with therapists that you should be about ready to punch through brick walls by now. I've got a similar treatment by my Mother, and got together with some bad and/or incompetent therapists, but i was never subjected to such a wall of harmful stupidity. I can only tell you that there *are* people out there who are competent and caring and compassionate, and i wish you all the luck in the world in finding them. In the meantime, i wish you strenghth for your journey of self discovery. My best friend walked it, and now she's showing me how to find my way.


    2D8HP, the "what if" - Game can become a seriously downward spiral. Some people will come ahead in a lot of ways; some will fall behind in others. All told, life is not fair or balanced. We should always look upwards, to see those above us, and to aspire to become better versions of ourselves in the light of their accomplishments, even if it never means shining for ourselves; but we do have a light in ourselves to warm us and our own. And reading that you bought a house, have a family - it would seem that you reached high and got a long way. You are far ahead in front of others in a lot of ways; and while that might not be enough to feel "good" about it, it cannot hurt to remember those good things in you life and feel "alright" about them.


    Tvtyrant, i sure hope your arm has become better and that the bones have set and begun to form a strong bond again. I literally can not comprehend how it must be not being able to visit a doctor whenever you feel like it because it would cost too much; having grown up in Europe, i am just lucky in that regard. I would urge you to not put pressure on your arm yet, even if it feels strong enough again to use it, and give it some more time. Good luck!
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  17. - Top - End - #227
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    @2D8HP: I know the feeling. And the "What If" game - but the real question that should be asked is: are you (you = 2D8HP + wife + kids) happy?

    As corollary: "Do I do my best do make 'us' happy?"

    The alternatives to the path we take in our lives are rather strange - when you stand at a crossroad, you usually see just one way street. When you turn to look back, there is a branching narrative. What was easy decision then becomes a tree of choices in hindsight.

    What if I did return the punch? What if I stayed with her? What if I chose a different work? What if I never married my wife?

    Valid questions - but they do not matter. Not any more (unless time travel gets real). What matters is - I do my best to make my wife happy. Not always - being a flawed human I fail due to laziness, my own comfort zone or inability to herd kids - but I try. Every day. And I support her. It's never too late to start writing books if she wants to - the question is: does she want to? If yes, support her. If not: find something else that can make her life better.

    So: stop thinking "what if". Change the viewpoint. Start asking "what can I do...?"... and do not ask us. Ask your wife.

    BTW: that's how my wife started with photography.
    Call me Laco or Ladislav (if you need to be formal). Yes, that is my name. Feel free to use it.
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    Actually the above reminds me of a pretty common problem I've had in therapy - the sense that "I don't know" wasn't an acceptable answer. Trouble is that when I said "I don't know", I actually meant I don't ******* know! all the trying to get me to open up in the world or telling me therapy won't work if I'm not cooperating won't help if I actually don't know.

    But working with people who never seem to believe you doesn't help. The only message I got was that I was too bad and messed up for therapy. Because even when I told the truth I obviously wasn't doing it right. After all, they were the experts, and therapy works if you try hard enough. Only people who don't want to get better aren't in therapy.
    I don’t know can be a valid answer to something factual or even to how or why you’re feeling something but its hard to say you can just leave it at that. Maybe Im misreading your previous post but if a professional suggests a course of action and you refuse it and basically tell them you dont know WHY you’re refusing it, I can see why they might consider you “difficult” if theres no further elaboration on the why. Just leaving it as “I don’t know” really shouldn’t be acceptable. That should drive them to probe and try to get to the bottom of things.

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    I don’t know can be a valid answer to something factual or even to how or why you’re feeling something but its hard to say you can just leave it at that. Maybe Im misreading your previous post but if a professional suggests a course of action and you refuse it and basically tell them you dont know WHY you’re refusing it, I can see why they might consider you “difficult” if theres no further elaboration on the why. Just leaving it as “I don’t know” really shouldn’t be acceptable. That should drive them to probe and try to get to the bottom of things.
    The thing is that probing always occurred with the baseline assumption that I really did know and needed to be encouraged to actually say it. When the truth was I actually, genuinely, 100% didn't know. Not just that I didn't know, but that to me it was like being asked "why don't you just try breathing water instead of air, you might find out that you actually have gills?" I didn't even understand why someone would suggest things like the therapist was suggesting - it was just so obviously off from anything I'd experienced that I couldn't even explain why it was off. (For a more useful example, imagine a therapist suggesting that you resolve a relationship problem by calling your mother an ugly troll and flipping her off. I imagine most people would have a hard time coming up with an answer past "because it's rude," especially if under stress.)

    That's really a key for me. I had absolutely no idea for all of this that there was anything abnormal about my family at home or about the cultural environment I'd grown up with. As far as I was aware I just was feeling anxious and panicking at random times for reasons that were completely mysterious to me. When I directly asked therapists why I felt that way it was brushed off as something I had to figure out and open up to the therapist about. I wouldn't be able to put any of it together without getting that key bit of information that something was actually very off about my own upbringing. I'd been over the question endlessly and had no answer. But I think therapists were still digging based on the impression that I had a fundamentally normal background and with a little encouragement they could get me to open up and tell them the answer. So the digging was very much digging based on the idea that I really did know.

    I'm also realizing that this was basically constantly triggering trauma reactions in therapy. Except, again, I don't think those were ever really caught. I tend to kind of shut down more than anything in situations like that, and then react very strongly later. It's not voluntary and without knowing what to look for I probably wouldn't even know that the shut down reaction is abnormal. (It's a reaction that makes sense if you're aware that I'm used to environments where showing the "wrong" emotions was strongly punished.) I apparently can be at the point where I haven't eaten or slept for 3 days from stress and still have therapists telling me that I'm only mildly anxious, even in the face of me trying to convince them that there's an actual problem. I think that was ultimately responsible for ending a lot of times, when the symptoms from uncontrolled reactions to the triggers were more than I could handle. But that all that was brushed off as "therapy is hard" and I was encouraged to work through it - again, looking back I think that the therapists were thinking I was blowing things out of proportion when I was actually understating them.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2019-08-09 at 08:37 AM.
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    To give an example:

    When I did start bringing up my mother, I got all the usual advice on dealing with relationships. Use I feel statements, try to compromise, that sort of thing. And I know I kept saying "no, I know that won't work." I didn't really know why I thought that, I just had this strong sense that it was a really bad idea that I couldn't explain.

    In retrospect, from my perspective, it's clear what had happened. There was nothing I could ever have done to fix the relationship with my mother. She simply doesn't want to relate to me in a healthy way. And she will take things like that and use them as ammo to hurt you and to restore the relationship dynamics that she wants. The therapist's advice wasn't safe.

    On some level I knew that things like that were a bad idea. But I still wasn't at the point where I could recognize why. As far as I knew my mother was a perfectly normal parent - and I think I was working off of the idea that the therapist had a fairly similar model of normal parenting to what I did. So to me the therapist was just pushing obviously bad things for some reason and it didn't make any sense.

    From the therapist's perspective, I'm guessing it looked like I was just refusing to take any of their advice. I got framed as being difficult. I felt like when I said "I don't know" it was taken as some sort of indication that I was hiding something from the therapist. I don't get the sense that there was ever any serious consideration of the idea that my instinctive response might be the correct one, or that I genuinely might not know. I got the same reaction when I said things like "I don't understand" - that it wasn't taken at face value and I just wasn't trying, when I actually didn't understand.

    This is all extremely common in abuse victims, by the way. You learn normal from what you're used to. I didn't explain why because I honestly, genuinely didn't know why. I wouldn't possibly be able to explain why until I had the chance to sort through things on my own without therapy interfering - a process that took quite some time even then. All I had at the time was "I know this is a bad idea but I don't know why", and that got consistently treated as me being difficult or uncooperative.
    That... makes a lot of sense as to why your experiences were so bad, then.

    Ideally, a good therapist might have been able to draw this out of you and realize (or bring you to realize) what the truth of your situation was. Obviously that didn't happen, and only happened with time and distance. There is a thing in therapy that a therapist can only work with the information they are given, and whether the patient is unwilling or simply unable to provide that info doesn't really make a difference. How your therapists dealt with this fact, though, was obviously poor.

    What this makes me think, however, is that if (if, not when) you decide to try therapy again to help with your active anxiety issues, you now know the root of the issue and how to articulate it, and can likely have a much more productive conversation about it, hopefully getting better results.

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    I’m feeling like I've been a bad influence and an anchor on my wife right now, and given our age and parental duties it's too late to fix that, though maybe it's just a mood of mine because of a lack of vitamins, or that I'm running out of room and places to hide all the books I buy (which is my main hobby) as I was already despondent regarding news from places that I usually regard as "There be Dragons", in any case - I'm feelin' down.
    The grass looks greener on the other side. This is so very true.

    I have gluten intolerance and I have not really been able to eat gluten for about 10-15 years. I recently found some enzymes that fixed this more-or-less . . . they might cause acid, gas, or leave me feeling tired . . . but I can eat a g-- damned waffle! So at my hotel at GenCon I made me a waffle . . . they are not anywhere near as good as I remembered . . . nor as good as I imagined that they would be lookin' at all my friends and family enjoying those waffles over the years.

    I was chased though high school by a the girl voted most attractive in my class. I kick myself sometimes for not letting her catch me. I bet that if I did let her catch me that my life would not be any better than it is now, and perhaps it would have ended up even worse.

    Also once you can afford something, getting it is not as fulfilling as you would think. Your imagination makes the thing WAY better than it is.

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    The thing is that probing always occurred with the baseline assumption that I really did know and needed to be encouraged to actually say it. When the truth was I actually, genuinely, 100% didn't know. Not just that I didn't know, but that to me it was like being asked "why don't you just try breathing water instead of air, you might find out that you actually have gills?" I didn't even understand why someone would suggest things like the therapist was suggesting - it was just so obviously off from anything I'd experienced that I couldn't even explain why it was off. (For a more useful example, imagine a therapist suggesting that you resolve a relationship problem by calling your mother an ugly troll and flipping her off. I imagine most people would have a hard time coming up with an answer past "because it's rude," especially if under stress.)
    Perhaps I did misunderstand then. The examples you give here aren't simply saying "I don't know". They are giving brief reasons for not doing something. Because its rude seems like a perfectly normal reason to give (particularly to the example you gave). But in such a case presumably a therapist would dig in to WHY you thought it was rude etc etc.

    That's really a key for me. I had absolutely no idea for all of this that there was anything abnormal about my family at home or about the cultural environment I'd grown up with. As far as I was aware I just was feeling anxious and panicking at random times for reasons that were completely mysterious to me. When I directly asked therapists why I felt that way it was brushed off as something I had to figure out and open up to the therapist about. I wouldn't be able to put any of it together without getting that key bit of information that something was actually very off about my own upbringing. I'd been over the question endlessly and had no answer. But I think therapists were still digging based on the impression that I had a fundamentally normal background and with a little encouragement they could get me to open up and tell them the answer. So the digging was very much digging based on the idea that I really did know.
    I mean this in and of itself is shocking. Background and family interactions seem like they'd be pretty key to understanding how a person thinks/feels. None of the therapists even asked about your familial interactions? That definitely seems like gross incompetence.

    I'm also realizing that this was basically constantly triggering trauma reactions in therapy. Except, again, I don't think those were ever really caught. I tend to kind of shut down more than anything in situations like that, and then react very strongly later. It's not voluntary and without knowing what to look for I probably wouldn't even know that the shut down reaction is abnormal. (It's a reaction that makes sense if you're aware that I'm used to environments where showing the "wrong" emotions was strongly punished.) I apparently can be at the point where I haven't eaten or slept for 3 days from stress and still have therapists telling me that I'm only mildly anxious, even in the face of me trying to convince them that there's an actual problem. I think that was ultimately responsible for ending a lot of times, when the symptoms from uncontrolled reactions to the triggers were more than I could handle. But that all that was brushed off as "therapy is hard" and I was encouraged to work through it - again, looking back I think that the therapists were thinking I was blowing things out of proportion when I was actually understating them.
    I can certainly see how this could have negative impacts on prior therapy sessions and how, if the therapist was unaware, it would simply seem like you not participating. But this seems like something you could bring up, up front with a therapist, at least in a similar manner to what you brought up here (though I suppose you may have already tried that with less success...)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chen View Post
    I mean this in and of itself is shocking. Background and family interactions seem like they'd be pretty key to understanding how a person thinks/feels. None of the therapists even asked about your familial interactions? That definitely seems like gross incompetence.
    It was brought up, but generally my reports that everything was pretty normal were taken at face value. There wasn't any of the type of thing that would reveal differences that I wasn't already aware of. So much of it is in little things that if you don't see the manipulation under the surface you'd think it was all normal.

    I can certainly see how this could have negative impacts on prior therapy sessions and how, if the therapist was unaware, it would simply seem like you not participating. But this seems like something you could bring up, up front with a therapist, at least in a similar manner to what you brought up here (though I suppose you may have already tried that with less success...)
    I mean, at the time, I brought up what I knew. Again, at the time there was a lot that I wasn't aware of. But I know I definitely expressed that something wasn't right, and that I felt like I couldn't handle it, and it wasn't really taken seriously. It just seemed to reinforce the idea they had that I didn't really want to do any work in therapy.

    I wouldn't trust someone in person with all of this, I think, unless I had known them for several years. The times I have have gone very badly. It's definitely a thing that therapists can freak out on you.

    I've had other things repeat that pattern too. Like I remember several cases where the therapist wanted me to do something, only it didn't make any sense to me at all what they wanted me to do. It's been a while, but one I mentioned before was that I'd consistently get the question "What part of your body do you feel anxiety in?" And it didn't make the slightest sense to me. But when I'd say that, they wouldn't explain or clarify, I'd just get told to try. Except it didn't make sense, and just randomly throwing out words didn't seem like trying, but I literally didn't know what else to do. Except they insisted that I had to just try in a way that made it obvious that they thought I did understand on some level when I really didn't.

    I eventually read a book that explained the same question in a different way and suddenly it made sense. But therapists seemed to jump straight to the idea that my saying I didn't understand was some sort of psychological block to be worked through. Not that I honestly didn't understand.

    I wish I could explain how it felt, though. It was like having someone hammer into you, over and over, see, you're so broken and worthless that not even the professionals could possibly believe you could actually be this pathetic. And then everywhere else you might turn for support telling you that you don't deserve anything until you go to therapy and you must just be a bad person if therapy doesn't work for you. And the only possible solution is to keep going to the people who don't believe you or really listen to you until somehow it magically turns around and works.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2019-08-09 at 07:29 PM.
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    I do also wonder sometimes if gender factors played into all this, too. I've noticed a lot of screening even now assumes gendered violence patterns. So I'd come up as a false negative if they're looking for an abusive father.
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by WarKitty View Post
    I do also wonder sometimes if gender factors played into all this, too. I've noticed a lot of screening even now assumes gendered violence patterns. So I'd come up as a false negative if they're looking for an abusive father.
    It's a sad truth that we tend to assume the man is the abuser even in cases where it's the woman, especially in our family courts. That doesn't seem to be the case here, though; thinking the father is abusing you when it's your mother wouldn't produce a reaction more akin to "she's just not trying".
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by HalfTangible View Post
    It's a sad truth that we tend to assume the man is the abuser even in cases where it's the woman, especially in our family courts. That doesn't seem to be the case here, though; thinking the father is abusing you when it's your mother wouldn't produce a reaction more akin to "she's just not trying".
    I meant more in terms of overlooking the potential for my mother to be abusive. Not that they thought that my father was abusing me, but that that's the only avenue of abuse investigated. Like being asked how my father treated my mother but not vice versa as a way of checking if I'd grown up around domestic violence - you'll get a false negative on the question "did I grow up around domestic violence" if you do it that way. Or overlooking potentially dubious things my mother did, or my own reports of how I felt about her, where they wouldn't have been overlooked if I'd reported that my father behaved the same way.
    Last edited by WarKitty; 2019-08-09 at 09:12 PM.
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Quote Originally Posted by 2D8HP View Post
    That it could be far worse is obvious, I pass dozens of the tents of the homeless every work day, and I can remember when the noise in the apartment grew too much and we lived in a truck for a year, but somehow the gratitude I should feel for what we do have doesn't come, but the tears do.
    Some advice I came across today that may help you in this time (and perhaps others in this thread)

    https://twitter.com/TheRaDR/status/1...670718464?s=19

    As for your son, one thing I can recommend when he looks at courses is to look at doing smaller course loads, especially to start with. That can give him time to adjust to the rigour of University without being swamped right out the gate. Depending on what he's looking at (and your University) he might be able to do some prep work to allow him to ease into university courses (might only be a thing in Maths though).

    University is hard yes, but I'd say the trick is to find something that gives you the will to keep on at it. Otherwise you'll be stuck at the end with a really expensive sheet of paper.

    Not sure what other resources are available for you but if he doesn't have a solid picture of what he wants to do, things searching things such as "what can I do with X degree?" is a good start.

    On that particular topic I can help a bit more, as I am now 6 years into post secondary school/work, though some specifics may be different from university to university.

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    No advice please, but I just want to say that I am. So. Tired. Tired of narcissism. Tired of trying to converse with a narcissist. Exhausted trying to not make the narcissist berserk forcing me to cut ties. Absolutely enraged that the narcissist uses my nephews as weapons to gain power. So. Damn. Tired.
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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    @WarKitty:

    Dunno how the phrase it, but we're having some fragments of a conversation on certain topics on this board for quite a while now, enough for me to try and voice an opinion.

    I get the feeling that you're going at the whole therapy thing with the wrong kind of expectation. Us humans are able to withstand a gratuitous amount of mental and physical punishment, both physical as well as mental and still continue of functioning more or less quite well in a sense (both despite and guided by the multination and damage we have suffered).

    Any therapist worth their salt will look at you, how you are right now, how you "deviate from the norm" right now and not care about how you got there, how it was your mother, but see the "broken you" and aim to "fix this" as sorta-kinda a mental triage before tackling any deeper issues.

    Let me tell you about my experience. I'm "broken goods", ok? My psychic scars run deep and I've developed ways and means to cope with everything that came up, up to the point that I thought I suffer from a "bog standard depression" and needed help - well, turned out that it wasn't and I couldn't get it, at least not in the easy way I hoped for, akin to getting a broken bone set.

    All I can tell you, there is no cure. Your mum or mine, it doesn't matter who ruined us, it matters how we cope with the resulting scar tissue.

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    Default Re: Personal Woes and Advice 6

    Thanks, Florian - that actually means a lot.

    I think the damage to me isn't so much from therapy being ineffective. It's from getting blamed for it not working. Some of that comes from in therapy - being told that "therapy is hard" when you've been pushed past what you can handle, or being told "you're not trying" or "you're not ready to get better" when you actually are trying. A lot of it also came from outside therapy itself, but from seeking support in other places and being told that I wasn't welcome if I wasn't in therapy because if I wasn't in therapy I was just whining and not actually trying to get better. Or being told that my descriptions of treatment that were further traumatizing weren't valid and that I was doing things wrong by criticizing the experts, or even that I was harming other people because my criticisms and search for the answer might deter other people from getting the help they need. The whole thing came together to form a big mess that said "If you don't get better in therapy, it's all your fault and you don't deserve any help from anyone else." There might have been a nod to the concept of fit, but there wasn't any real acceptance of the possibility that the professionals could simply be wrong.

    I suspect for me, the current insistence that cognitive behavioral therapy is apparently the treatment for anything and everything did not help. (Seriously, it's a bit ridiculous - I always suspicious when a new treatment seems to work for everything under the sun.) For me, CBT was an almost perfect mirror of the language my mother and others used to convince me that the problem was really all with me. Getting away required pushing back hard on a world that was insisting if I'd just fix my distorted thinking I'd realize how much she actually loved me and everything could be worked out.

    I know I asked, directly and multiple times, what the difference between a cognitive distortion and a rational reaction to a bad situation was. The question was always dodged, and I was redirected back to whatever distorted thinking pattern the therapist wanted me to learn about. To me, all that talk about distorted thinking was just too much like the justifications I'd heard for abuse, and therapists were always dodging the question and changing the subject when I tried to get an explanation for the difference. But my unwillingness to put my objections aside and just go along with what the therapist wanted, with no real explanation of how it worked or why it was different or any attempt at talking about my own problems with it, made me be considered difficult and resistant. The message was very much that, since I was in therapy, I needed to suppress my own concerns and my own desire to keep myself safe and just do what the therapist said.

    I'm starting to see other research, now, that suggests that there are other cases and people in the profession are starting to realize it. There are other people like me who end up with a giant pile of diagnoses, heavy drugs, and not much else from the mental health system. Studies that specifically look for trauma in people often find it, but it's not uncommon for therapists not to look, and your standard depression or anxiety treatments tend not to work unless the therapist is specifically trained in dealing with trauma. Most aren't. But I think the public perception is still that just seeing "a therapist" will overcome everything.
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