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Old 06-29-2011, 10:52 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
3,388 posts, read 1,828,132 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razz2525 View Post

DH and I also acknowledge though that as cathartic as that may have been, it broke the seal on my ability to keep calm, so now I'm quick to be impatient, quick to get annoyed/angry, which frankly scares me sometimes when I can't seem to let go on silly/snotty things my 4-year-old may do. I sometimes act like what he's doing now is the person he's going to be so I lecture him like he's 10. I'm not necessarily happy with this new self also because although I can express myself better, it's usually a negative emotion, not a positive one. I get snappy with my kids far quicker than I should, and I wish I could have some of that, "let me ignore it and let it roll off my back" part of my personality back, even if it wasn't 100% real. So although I'm not nearly as repressed anymore and am able to understand why I feel the way I do, I'm still not satisfied with myself at all and I expect people to disappoint me in some way, shape or form.
Kudos to you for having so much insight into what you are feeling and how it developed. IMO, it sounds like what you need help with is developing some coping skills for when you experience negative emotions, such as frustration, envy, guilt/shame, sadness, what have you, and in figuring out how to acknowledge your feelings (validate yourself) while also acting effectively (i.e., it can be valid to feel angry but may not be effective to act on it).

Also IMO, there is no shame in seeking a therapist's help in learning new skills that we have not acquired through our lives thus far. You mentioned wanting to change your mindset on your own without a psychologist - I am wondering if that goes for all therapy and what your concern is there?

IME, humans tend to operate on a bit of a pendulum - as you described, having your feelings more buried or repressed and now having them very close to the surface. Over time, we tend to balance out and I applaud your efforts to find some ways to do so. I don't have any specific titles mind, and self-help books tend to be all over the map in how useful they are, but perhaps something looking at tolerating/managing negative emotions, changing thought patterns/attributions, or figuring out what the function of the negative emotion is and how to effectively fill that function/solve the problem situation that led to the emotion? NIMH and the APA websites may have some general recs for materials to read, although perhaps not as specific as what you would be looking for.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:01 AM
 
10,155 posts, read 11,617,357 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razz2525 View Post
This may not be entirely suited for the Parenting forum but I've noticed that I've always felt that what I had or did wasn't exciting enough or good enough, and I want to nip it in the bid now that I have children. DH makes a joke of it, calling out my envy by saying out loud, "I already feel the hate", when he gets upgraded to a first class flight when he travels, or if I find out a friend won something in a raffle, and we laugh about it, but I really need to change my thought process.

When I was little, my mother heard me come home and talk endlessly about this person in elementary school who played "Fur Elise" on the piano, or someone who did a backflip, or someone who did horseback riding, ice skating, etc., so in that order, she got me piano lessons at 5 years old, then gymnastics classes, then horseback riding lessons (those didn't last long when the horse ran away with me), and then ice skating lessons. The only thing that I stuck with through all of that was the piano, and that ended when I went away to college, because I really didn't enjoy it. I went to music school on weekends, and although I loved singing, I hated the piano.... always did... The point of my mother doing all that was to show me that there was nothing to be envious of the other girls, that they weren't doing something *I* couldn't do, but I think it backfired. It didn't lessen my envy at all, but actually made me want to morph myself into everyone else, and continue to be dissatisfied with myself. I did that freshman year college, spending money I didn't have using my first credit card on clothes, to look fashionable because other people were. Meanwhile, I'm the one in debt!!

I still have those feelings now when I wonder how parents have a standing date night with a babysitter every single week without fail, the annual vacation, or have kids who just love veggies and listen all the time to their parents without tantrums. I had a beautiful birth 2 years ago but when the pain kicked in, I wasn't able to keep my concentration and be completely calm. I pulled it together but it wasn't perfect. So when I read about those moms who had completely calm, pain-free births, where the kid pops out and the mom has a smile on her face, I feel that I somehow failed. Just most things make me think "I wish we lived there," "I wish we had that house," "I wish we could take a vacation," "I wish we could afford to keep our kids in school and not disrupt their lives.." I know a teacher who's a single mom and lives with her parents in a small house, no yard, hardly makes any money, but is so happy and always talks about how much she appreciates her life.

I need to find out how to appreciate all that I have and all I've done in my life. Don't even get my started when I read about old collegemates who've written books, worked overseas, started foundations, did a marathon, etc. I've just had to stop reading these alumni updates because it depresses me, like being a mom with a regular full-time job is somehow less than. Barring a psychologist, is there a way to change my mindset on my own? I do not want to be secretly wanting or feeling inadequate when I'm trying to instill confidence in my kids. Sooner or later they will pick up on it...
Envy is caused by being focused on others and not focused on yourself. This extreme external focus magnifies your weaknesses, whatever you perceive them to be.

You can only fix this issue by taking note of what you do have, and what is good and positive about you. You also have to focus on what you want out of life and structure your life around those issues.

NOBODY no matter how much money they do have can have EVERYTHING they want. In order to live a happy and fulfilled life you have to figure out what is really important to you and make that happen for you. You have to focus on what YOU WANT not what others have. You cannot be happy if your entire existence is based on someone else.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:11 AM
 
2,728 posts, read 2,719,701 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Momma_bear View Post
Envy is caused by being focused on others and not focused on yourself. This extreme external focus magnifies your weaknesses, whatever you perceive them to be.

You can only fix this issue by taking note of what you do have, and what is good and positive about you. You also have to focus on what you want out of life and structure your life around those issues.

NOBODY no matter how much money they do have can have EVERYTHING they want. In order to live a happy and fulfilled life you have to figure out what is really important to you and make that happen for you. You have to focus on what YOU WANT not what others have. You cannot be happy if your entire existence is based on someone else.
Is this something you learned on your own or were you guided there? I ask because, now that I know what I know, I understand why my family did not guide me here. It was because they didn't know either.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:14 AM
 
Location: The Hall of Justice
21,316 posts, read 19,467,394 times
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I agree that you seem to have some good insight into your feelings and behaviors, but as you know, recognition is only the start.

If you don't mind my asking, how old are you? I think it's very natural for adults to have periods of emotional transition, even upheaval, where they question who they are and what they have accomplished. We accept this in children and teenagers, and the "mid-life crisis" is a well-known stage that many people go through. The person I am now at 37 is not the same person I was at 27. I married on the younger side (22) and went from living with my parents to living with my husband, who was my age, and we had two children over the next two years. We had a lot of growing up to do, which we probably should have done first, but you can only move forward, you know? I am more patient now than I was then, and it's still something I struggle with. And I have gone through periods of increased self-doubt and confusion, just as you seem to be doing.

A couple days ago, my husband--who went back to college to finish his degree--told me that he realized he doesn't want to pursue a degree that will help him move ahead at his current job, because he doesn't particularly like his current job. He wants to pursue a degree that will help him do what he wants to do, so that he can switch professions and feel more satisfaction in life. We talked about it, and I agreed. I am also planning to go back to school in the fall, and I decided that I also will pursue a degree that I can use in the life we are working toward. Sometimes people feel stuck and unhappy, and they will have stages of emotional transition. We all--hopefully--keep growing as people.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:17 AM
 
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desiderata - by max ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:18 AM
 
2,728 posts, read 2,719,701 times
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Most people have good insight into their feelings. From what I read and from my own experience, we were taught to ignore them or believe that we shouldn't have them. That is where the problem is.

Kudos to the OP for starting a thread and asking for help. It is not easy to put such feelings into words for all to see.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:23 AM
 
43,017 posts, read 50,800,906 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crisan View Post
I do have to wonder, is this something you learned on your own or were you guided there? I ask because, now that I know what I know, I understand why my family did not guide me here. It was because they didn't know either.
I think it's natural for some people though. I don't recall any specific guiding. I'm almost incapable of envy. When I hear good things happening to others, I'm happy for them. I've always been taken aback when others have been jealous or envious of me. My children's God Mother did that to me once. I was so excited that we were going on our first big family vacation, something we could never afford previously, and she just nastily chopped my excitement down with an off handed remark deeply rooted in jealousy. It didn't make sense to me because her family took fantastic vacations every year. Maybe I simply learned from my parents by example, they weren't jealous or envious people either. But it's not like there was an effort involved. I didn't have feelings of jealousy I needed to learn how to squelch. I don't recall ever feeling jealous as a child.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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I first read the poem "Desiderata" when I was 12, and it has helped me immensely over the years.

I do think it is a natural human emotion to feel envious when you see someone with a nicer car, or taking a nicer vacation, or with a nicer home.

But over the years, time and time again, it has been shown to me that this is erroneous thinking.

When I was in college, I knew this girl who was so beautiful. She was in the "best" sorority. She dated the Quarterback (he is now head coach of that same football team). She was rich and so pretty.

I was jealous; I couldn't help it.

That Christmas, I found out she was going home with one of the girls in the dorm. Her parents were divorced and neither her mother nor her father wanted her home with them for Christmas.

All my envy disappeared.

I have similar stories--like the girl with the huge engagement ring and the BMW who got divorced after 2 years.

It is very true that you do not know what goes on behind closed doors.

Also, you do not know the path that others have to walk.

I believe we all have a journey set before us.

You need to find out what YOUR journey is supposed to be, and quit thinking about what other people do or not do, have or do not have. You are not walking in their shoes.

Meanwhile, we were robbed recently. We live in an expensive home (we rent it for a very good price, but real estate wise, it is expensive). Maybe the thieves thought, wow, they have so much, they can afford to get a new lawn mower.

Well, um, no, it may look like we have a lot from appearances, but that lawn mower was a gift. We scrimp and save to send our kids to private school. I sell on Ebay to earn money for next year's clothes.

My point is, "don't judge a book by its cover".

Focus on what you can do--volunteer, find a church, and get counseling.

Good luck.
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:31 AM
 
43,017 posts, read 50,800,906 times
Reputation: 28812
Quote:
Originally Posted by calgirlinnc View Post
desiderata - by max ehrmann

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is perennial as the grass.

Take kindly to the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Max Ehrmann c.1920
Oh, the memories!!!

My mother had a framed Desiderata hanging on the wall at the kitchen breakfast bar.

Throughout my entire childhood, I read Desiderata while eating my breakfast every morning!

Maybe my mother did have more of an impact than I realized!

Thanks for posting the poem!
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Old 06-29-2011, 11:33 AM
 
10,155 posts, read 11,617,357 times
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Originally Posted by crisan View Post
Is this something you learned on your own or were you guided there? I ask because, now that I know what I know, I understand why my family did not guide me here. It was because they didn't know either.
I think I learned this on my own, however, my own nature is to be internally motivated so it is easier for me than for people who are externally motivated by nature. They need some sort of external "push" to get going. Most of us need some sort of external motivation sometimes but some people are naturally more self motivated than others.

For someone who is solely externally motivated it is important to learn what motivates them and to CREATE external motivation themselves.

I think it is very important for you to learn about yourself. If you are externally motivated then learn what motivates yourself and create those external motivations for yourself. You cannot change your nature but you can create a world that allows you to be more successful.

I think the OP needs to do the same thing.
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