skip to Main Content
  • Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)
  • Profile Photo
    avacad0
    Participant

    I am struggling very much around a certain family member who has a very difficult personality. So although I have come a long way in setting up boundaries around this person, I still find myself so uptight and tense even at the thought of having to cross paths. In my mind it’s as if I am entering a lions den. I get overwhelmed with my feelings. I am trying to understand how others deal with such people. Do they disconnect or do they manage to stay neutral around them? I wish I can be stronger and not get so swept in emotionally.

     

    Profile Photo
    alwaysworried
    Participant

    I think i can safely say that i know the struggle. I think it’s a tall order to expect not to feel any emotion swell up around this person. If you can maintain your own even though you feel emotions bubbling that seems like a great and healthy accomplishment. I know when i do this, i am proud of myself. Usually, I’ll say something i later regret or I’ll run away from the person which in the moment makes me feel better and “safer” but in the long run it’s unhelpful because the next time i’m in that situation I again feel like i need to physically escape in order to feel okay, and physically disappearing is inconvenient and emotionally unsettling. When i can stay in the situation and let the emotions wash over me like a wave and maintain calm and composure i feel best and strongest. Sometimes, it is best to get away if I know i’m not going to be able to maintain composure in the situation so it’s definitely not a one size fits all answer. Good luck to both of us over the next few weeks of holiday and lots of family time 🙂

    Profile Photo
    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you! that was so validating. I actually was better then I expected to be. I kept repeating a silent positive mantra in my brain which kept me pretty grounded while having to face this person. But it does take a toll on a person emotionally. Negative people have the power to do that. Later when I wasn’t around this person anymore my emotions came crashing in on me and I was left with all the remnants of that encounter. Just curious am I the only one with all these crazy emotions that overtake me when encountering the slightest complications in relationships and interactions? I get myself into such hot water emotionally. I wish I can be more level headed and not get so carried away. It has caused me such heartache and pain……

    Profile Photo
    Chavy
    Participant

    Hi @Avacad0, this situation sounds quite hard, but it sounds like you’re really dealing with it effectively (even when your emotions felt overwhelming). I think it’s really amazing that you were able to stay effective and grounded while saying the mantra in your head! I’m a very sensitive person as well and my emotions effect me a lot. So, you’re not alone in that! Are you talking about family members? I tend to get very very emotional (feeling hurt, upset and angry) when someone insults me too (especially family members where you can show your hurt more…;). I also WISH I was more grounded and more regulated. Something that I’m learning and trying to do is to ride the wave of emotions and let them wash over me. I know, much easier said than done. Have you ever learnt the module of DBT called Interpersonal skills? The skills are really good. And, as with everything, so hard to do 😉

    I also want to agree with @always worried that in the short term, running away or not dealing with hard situations is easier, but doesn’t help us in the long term. I resonate with this so much as I tend to “run away” from difficult situations. Just recently, I was eating with my family when my phone rang. I picked it up (it was a good friend whose hard to reach) and went to the kitchen to talk. A few minutes into the conversation, I started feeling anxious, like i had to hang up. I told myself to ride the wave of emotions (a DBT term) and stayed on the phone a minute or 2 longer. I felt quite good. (It was a very short conversation with a good friend, but my emotions have been very intense lately and are…)

    Profile Photo
    alwaysworried
    Participant

    Ditto to both of you. Yes, i think it’s normal to get overwhelmed and like @chavy said it’s what you do with it in the moment and after that matters most. Running away physically and emotionally is always easier and tempting in the short term but unhelpful long term. @Avacod0 i wonder if you felt the emotions hit after because you were gave yourself more exposure to the triggering person / situation? If so, that would make great sense, no?  I also really like the mantra idea, would you mind sharing the mantra you said?

    Profile Photo
    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    I did do quite a bit of exposure. And I stayed very separate emotionally. The mantra that I kept rewinding in my brain was that I am okay and that another person does not have the power to determine my value. And I kept thinking about all the positive things that I have in my life.

     

    Profile Photo
    anonymous
    Participant

    In response to avacad0's post #4631:

    You are so very normal, and human! Its amazing that you were able to think positively while in the situation!!

    I find myself becoming very overwhelmed, and being not myself(worse than when I was living home),and it takes a while for me to get back to myself, even though I’ve been working on this in therapy for a while. I came to the conclusion that because i am not there constantly, although I know things didn’t change there, every time I go back I become disappointed. But when I was still home I was to busy protecting/surviving that I didn’t realize how disappointing it is. Sometimes a day after being there I suddenly feel moody , for no apparent reason, I do try to go least possible.

    Profile Photo
    Chavy
    Participant

    I’m also really impressed that you – @Avacad0e were able to keep telling yourself such a positive and empowering mantra while dealing with this other person. Could I ask you how you did it? Meaning, how you kept repeating that mantra while focusing on dealing with your family member? I would find it hard to balance both. Also, I think it’s so normal to get moody when around your family – even if there aren’t any changes. The whole idea of being with/around them and all the dynamics can affect your mood. It sounds like you’re doing really good! 🙂

    Profile Photo
    OnAndonAnon
    Participant

    @avocad0, you’re not alone in this!

    My ex has that affect on me. I could probably be more accurate in saying that I react to my ex in that way as in truth it is <i>my</i> trauma response, not her toxicity.

    My body physically reacts in fight/flight/freeze. My body senses the danger of interactions with her and puts me in a heightened state of alert. With that comes adrenaline coursing through me to protect me.

    So overreacting, being overwhelming and needing time to ‘come down’ is so normal. Obviously I want to keep getting better at my reactions, but I also want to keep getting better at accepting that becoming ‘activated’, is a normal response to crazy.

    Profile Photo
    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    This person is a huge trigger for me for very many reasons. Because I am the codependent type and she is very tough and controlling the combination of our personalities awaken huge pain for me from my past. I used to try to save the entire world until I reached a point of such anxiety that I couldn’t function anymore. I am now so much more aware of toxic relationships (for me at least) that when I come across such a person I know that staying separate is the only way for me to stay sane emotionally. Many people in my life are not very happy with the “new person” that I have become. This person is actually mad at me for sticking up for myself and is constantly trying to bury me emotionally by saying really negative things about me. I figured out a way to deal with her that I appear extremely reserved and nonchalant around her, so that there is no way for her to even have any meaningful or confrontational conversations with me. It is hard work being that I am by nature an extrovert who loves to join discussions and have a good time. So being that I am acting so vague and distant I keep my mind occupied by all the good that I have going in my life. It keeps my thinking positive and grounded.

    Profile Photo
    alwaysworried
    Participant

    In response to avacad0's post #4636:

    Love that mantra, and that you also used gratitude to stay present, very cool!

    Profile Photo
    OnAndonAnon
    Participant

    Many people in my life are not very happy with the “new person” that I have become.  

    Boy do I relate! I’ve changed in so many ways – from the way I see myself and act, to the clothes I wear – and one of the greatest changes is that I care less about how people see the new me. It sounds like you’re there too and I’m super happy for you about that!

    This person is actually mad at me for sticking up for myself

    It seems like she’s realized she lost control over you in the ways that used to work and that she’s struggling with that new reality. Keep up your work to keep up her struggle!

    Profile Photo
    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Yup that is the way I perceive it too! Thank you!

    Profile Photo
    Dr. Joanne Royer
    Participant

    @AvocadO what a situation that we’ve all been through. it’s a tough one. For me I needed to take a huge step back and ask myself is it me or is it them. I chose “them”. Here’s what I mean.

    As much as I’d like to, I realized a bit ago that the only person I can control is me. I’d like to say to the difficult person in my life “get a grip, knock it off, you’re such a _____” but in the end they still have complete choice over their mood, their thoughts, their action. I also realized the amount of power I gave to this person. My whole day or even perhaps weeks before, knowing I would be around this person, consumed my thoughts and emotions, I had dread, already irritable, and hadn’t even seen them yet. I was anticipating their actions….oy. what a tiring amount of negative energy that only made me miserable (and I’m sure those who had to be around me) ….all because of this person’s negative attitude!  then I realized, they probably don’t have a clue. They are miserable and wear their misery to share with me! I realized I wanted to stop empowering them and empower myself. I chose to deliberately choose how I wanted to feel around this person. I then had power of my thinking, what I would choose to think in order to feel that way. For example. I wanted to be more understanding. Understanding that they themselves are miserable. Awful way to live. how can you share happiness when you are miserable (and if you’ve been miserable its really hard to be around happy people – so they try and share the misery). So at the day of the event, and some days leading up to it when I felt my energy turn (to the negative), I chose to think “I’m going to work today with ____ to not take on her unhappiness. How hard it must be for __ to be so unhappy. This thought helped me feel more understanding. Then when I was in front of ___ I found that I was more open, less tense, and brought a piece of compassion into the room with me. The result? A huge difference in how i acted and how I was left inside after the event was over. I didn’t wear any negativity inside after the event. ……I hope this helps. That person’s problematic disposition, isn’t at all about you. its all about them. Empower you, not them.  make it a great day for YOU today.

    Profile Photo
    avacad0
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you for all that information and validation! I totally agree with everything that you wrote. I would love to bring some compassion into the room when I am with people who are unhappy or just miserable. But at this point I am saving all the compassion that I possess for myself. I need to focus on my needs right now (as selfish as that feels) I hope in the future to be able to share some it with the people who are struggling in this area.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)

You must be logged in to to reply to this topic. Not a member yet? Register now!

Back To Top