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  #1  
Old 9th September 2015, 15:16
tryinghard tryinghard is offline
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Default Epiphanies

I thought it would be good to have a thread of stuff we learn - not necessarily achievements as such, but similar: realisations that change the way you look at things.

Here's been my big one over the last year that I have been surprised I've never noticed before: It's not my responsibility to enjoy someone's company.

About 18 months ago, I was never having fun and I thought it was my fault. I was socialising, but I never enjoyed it. Then I started to meet people where it was simple and easy. In their company, I simply enjoyed myself. I wasn't doing anything differently at all. Then I realised: I'm not actually compatible with half of my friends. It's not my fault I'm bored or I'm not having fun, we're just not right for each other, and I have a lot more fun when I'm around people that are more like me.

Since then, I've started to hang out with a whole different group. The friends I spent most of my time with 18 months ago, I almost entirely avoid now. They're not bad people, I just really don't enjoy their company, and that's no one's fault, it's just that we're not right for each other. They have a different way of socialising that doesn't suit me. It's oddly hard to remember, though, that when I'm not having fun it's not because I'm doing something wrong, it's because I'm not having fun and that's fine. I am allowed to leave. It isn't some kind of failure. I guess it goes back to the old adage: Before you label yourself with low self esteem, make sure you're not just hanging around with arseholes. My lot aren't really arseholes, they're just insecure themselves, but they have a habit of putting others down a lot or interrupting or controlling each other/manipulating, and all that negative communication meant I wasn't having fun. It was tiring and boring to me (but to them, it was salacious and interesting). The people I hang around with now are not interested in manipulating people or controlling others or putting others down. They're happy to just bond of commonalities and talk about politics and science, which is lovely. I have a lovely time.

Anybody got any others?
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  #2  
Old 9th September 2015, 16:04
umm umm is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Qute similar for me: just flat-out refusal to think I am at fault, and that if someone is being funny with me, it's their problem. And as you say, not grovelling for people's company and being okay with being alone.
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  #3  
Old 9th September 2015, 16:55
Nat36 Nat36 is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Great thread idea

We really are similar again tryinghard as I've had a change of perception as to the people I spend time with as well for almost the same reasons as you describe!

One epiphany that I've had in the last few years is that I'm not responsible for the feelings of others. Pre assertiveness, I used to have anxiety about "causing" emotional upset in other people if I said or did something they disagreed with or challenged them about something. This stems back to childhood experiences for me and became something of a core belief. Now I recognise that I can challenge people or openly disagree with them (without apology!) and how they react is up to them. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying this gives me a licence to going around being rude and a complete shit to people. However, if people are being rude or inconsiderate to me then I will call them out on it and make it clear I won't tolerate it.
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  #4  
Old 9th September 2015, 17:03
tryinghard tryinghard is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

^Ooo! Yes! That's similar to an epiphany of mine too - people don't die of emotional pain. I am not going to go around basically crippling everyone I know if I point out that I was upset about something they said. If they say something upsetting and I say 'I was upset by that' they will not bend over double in shame, fall to the floor and claw at it screaming and crying.....which was genuinely the image in my mind. I feel shame extremely sharply, which motivates me to try and always be 'good' to avoid it (I would actually be clawing at the floor crying...in private, of course); but other people just shrug their shoulders and say: "Oh right, sorry, I didn't intend to upset you" and then they move on...they don't sit there blaming themselves, in agony, which is why I never told people when they upset me before. I just didn't want to put them through that...incredible the first time you do it and you feel that fear you've just murdered someone's soul and then they barely flinch
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  #5  
Old 9th September 2015, 17:06
umm umm is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Another thng I think is useful is to practise letting of small amounts of steam regularly rather than in one big go. Calling someone out when they upset you, even if you do it lightheartedly, is better than it turning into years of misery.
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  #6  
Old 9th September 2015, 17:12
umm umm is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Sorry, I have another point, which for me was very illuminating and which I frequently go on about here which is about getting my head around interpersonal power dynamics. I used to be horrified / terrified by people's behaviour because it seemed so monstrous. I couldn't believe the reasons people did what they did but then one day I squared up to it which kind of led me to some uneasy conclusions about human nature but on the other hand having this knowledge - about why people do what they do, which seems to me to be summed up best by people's desire for power, and on the back of that whether power is necessarily bad - made me feel a little stronger, as if forewarned was forearmed.

Sometimes I listen to my thoughts about this stuff and think I sound like a paranoid jerk but other times I think I'm on to something. Things are complex, I guess, and need comprehending with a fine tooth comb as it were
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  #7  
Old 9th September 2015, 17:16
LonelyBoy LonelyBoy is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

I think Epiphany would be a good name for a girl.
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  #8  
Old 9th September 2015, 18:32
tryinghard tryinghard is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Quote:
Originally Posted by umm
Sorry, I have another point, which for me was very illuminating and which I frequently go on about here which is about getting my head around interpersonal power dynamics. I used to be horrified / terrified by people's behaviour because it seemed so monstrous. I couldn't believe the reasons people did what they did but then one day I squared up to it which kind of led me to some uneasy conclusions about human nature but on the other hand having this knowledge - about why people do what they do, which seems to me to be summed up best by people's desire for power, and on the back of that whether power is necessarily bad - made me feel a little stronger, as if forewarned was forearmed.

Sometimes I listen to my thoughts about this stuff and think I sound like a paranoid jerk but other times I think I'm on to something. Things are complex, I guess, and need comprehending with a fine tooth comb as it were
I know what you mean, actually. I think I assumed we'd all just grow up and when we were all adults everybody would be sensible. I remember being bitterly disappointed at the age of 21 when I was meeting people much older than me that still behaved liked 14 year olds. I just assumed everybody would grow out of it and I went through a couple of years of misanthropy because I felt people just didn't behave properly and I was the only one in the world who knew how to be moral and good.

I think I then just grew up a bit myself and realised that all these people doing all these things are doing them because they feel insecure. I guess that 'power' thing is something invented by insecure people who feel like there are two ways to be: in charge of others or powerless, which leads to all those interpersonal struggles you see everywhere - all the infighting and playground politics, all the stuff that I used to turn my nose up at and be appalled by. But I guess I just have compassion for those people who are stuck in that fight, now. I understand them. I can't help but think they must be exhausted, and it is difficult for me to really grasp why they carry on and why they don't just change so they don't have to be in this constant conflict. But people is people and some people are just going to be different from me. I don't think everybody is out for power. No one likes to feel power-less, and that comes from making sure you are treated as an equal (which means leaving behind anyone who doesn't do so or being assertive), but there's no need to fight for power because you already have it. My solution to the horror I felt at other people's behaviour was to hang out with people like me instead. I enjoy being around people who are just accepting of others and compassionate. I don't enjoy feeling like I'm in the middle of a power struggle...but I feel sympathy for those who are trapped there.
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  #9  
Old 23rd September 2015, 01:23
tryinghard tryinghard is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

My mate just neatly explained me to myself:

ME: Kind of not looking forward to leaving my job because I have friends here and it's not normal for me to make friends at work. Don't know how much I want to sit on my own all day in the new job. I know I must be being irrational, but I just kind of assume I won't like people - like they're all idiots.

HER: You don't think that might be a defence...

ME: Well, maybe...

HER: Because if they're all idiots and you're not going to get on anyway, then the stakes are really low aren't they? No need to feel anxiety around them.

ME: Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.....

Basically, my mate just explained to me the single reason behind:

- Why I assume I won't like (all) people and do not seek people out
- Why I find it difficult to leave people I do like, even if I don't feel particularly attached to them (stay with boyfriends I don't love etc...never actually bother to invite my colleagues out anywhere because it would not occur to me...)
- Why I am never anxious around strangers.

Who needs therapy? I should just go to my mate's house.
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  #10  
Old 23rd September 2015, 01:30
man afraid of his horses man afraid of his horses is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryinghard
My mate just neatly explained me to myself:

ME: Kind of not looking forward to leaving my job because I have friends here and it's not normal for me to make friends at work. Don't know how much I want to sit on my own all day in the new job. I know I must be being irrational, but I just kind of assume I won't like people - like they're all idiots.

HER: You don't think that might be a defence...

ME: Well, maybe...

HER: Because if they're all idiots and you're not going to get on anyway, then the stakes are really low aren't they? No need to feel anxiety around them.

ME: Aaaaaaaaahhhhhhh.....

Basically, my mate just explained to me the single reason behind:

- Why I assume I won't like (all) people and do not seek people out
- Why I find it difficult to leave people I do like, even if I don't feel particularly attached to them (stay with boyfriends I don't love etc...never actually bother to invite my colleagues out anywhere because it would not occur to me...)
- Why I am never anxious around strangers.

Who needs therapy? I should just go to my mate's house.
Can i borrow this friend?

I might break them.
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  #11  
Old 26th September 2015, 11:30
Coffee Coffee is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

This is an awesome idea for a thread!
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  #12  
Old 7th October 2015, 13:06
Richard Ingate Richard Ingate is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Quote:
Originally Posted by tryinghard
I thought it would be good to have a thread of stuff we learn
I like the idea of this thread. I would add to it by saying that it is not my fault, it is not other people's fault. We are all inncocently living in the feeling and thinking of the moment. Thought passes through us all. We can learn to 'navigate' thoughts and feelings better though. When we act from low states of mind it tends to create a lot of mess!
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  #13  
Old 9th November 2015, 17:26
tryinghard tryinghard is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

My major epiphany of the day:

Why do I need self control and what is the value to me?
My brother put it well when he said that in our family we do not talk, we 'school'. There is a continuous game of 'who's right?', and she/he who is not 'right' loses. The person who is right has the ball in their court and all of the power. To be 'right' you need to be rational and together. If you show any emotion you lose all credibility - your words mean nothing, you're hysterical, woman. So you have to make sure you control every impulse and emotion to make sure you remain credible, otherwise you lose the ball.

At primary school I always saw myself as 'outside of the game' because I noticed social pecking orders etc. and thought it was silly and 'beneath me'. I felt like an objective observer of this 'childish' game and that I was somehow above all that (I was a cock back then). I probably do that to some extent now. He/she who shows emotion loses, and I win (unless I show emotion, then...I lose, obvs.)

Despite this I seem to know when to fake emotion for my own good, but only with the right people.

But the point is, that I saw myself outside of the game when I'm actually inside the game. I'm still playing a stupid game that started when I was a child, so I should quit it. I'm tired and I don't enjoy my life, and I'm just obsessed with holding a stupid ball and not letting anyone take it away from me.

I thought I need to tell my therapist this, but didn't want to, because by volunteering information like this I am 'giving him the ball'. Sometimes I withhold information from him because I don't want him to win. I do that with my parents. I only give information if it is novel to them, showing that I am more knowledgeable. If I believe they already know the information, I seem late to the game, so it is more important to disprove what they know or to dismiss it as unimportant. As I think my therapist already knows all this about me, my temptation was to just not tell him, or to tell him in a dismissive way and then explain how 'I always knew that anyway and it just didn't occur to tell you until now and I'm on it so I don't need your help with that'. My fear is his smugness as he thinks 'well I've known that for AGES, but I guess you needed to take your time getting there'. But all of this is just me trying to hold onto a silly ball, so perhaps I just try and let go of that and my first challenge can be to have a normal discussion about this with my therapist instead of trying to withhold stuff from him. Including telling him why I would be tempted to withhold stuff from him.

*pretends like she's totally going to do that, but is somewhat unconfident that will happen in the moment*
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  #14  
Old 13th November 2015, 18:54
tryinghard tryinghard is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

I need to stop looking at all this as a 'survivor' or 'recoveree' or whatever. Not because I won't completely recover - I could still completely recover and never have to think about mental health again - but because I have focused on recovery for 16 years and that's over half of my life, I need to reconsider whether or not it is helping.

I think I should shift my focus to accepting and managing my current reality, even if that means being mentally ill (for now), because there is no rush to recovery, I've got the rest of my life, and I can just accept where I am now and consider how I can make myself as comfortable as possible in my current state of health rather than trying to fix it all the time.
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  #15  
Old 17th November 2015, 19:24
Armadillo Armadillo is offline
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Default Re: Epiphanies

Similar to what other people have said really.

I realised some time ago that I don't have to communicate or give any energy to people who are toxic. This includes my parents and sisters for far too many reasons to mention, and it was breaking contact with them that brought me to this 'epiphany'. Previously I used to keep people in my life simply because of past bonds that had since become broken, but I felt obligated in some way to respond to them. Life is a lot simpler now
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