Thanks for this link. I have a terrible time controlling my obsessing about POAs. When the fantasy seems good I obsess, when I worry they are losing interest I obsess, & when it ends I obsess. None of it is productive and I just take time away from my life. My therapist suggested that I am trying to live a fantasy with these men because that's how I saw my mother live her life and I use them as an escape mechanism from my life as an adult. It never occurred to me that I would do that. Meanwhile, I'm getting older, not living a full life, letting my responsibilities slide, and essentially not living up to my potential because I am trying to figure out some BS about another unavailable person.
I get stuck in a nasty feedback loop and start to believe the stories I've made up about these POAs, what's wrong with me, and if I'm doomed to live out my years this way. The obsessing alone is an escape mechanism. I downloaded and am reading a book called The Dreamer & the Fantasy Relationship by Natalie Lue. The writing is a little hard to follow sometimes, but it is making so much sense and I'm feeling some relief that there were at least enough people like me for there to be a book about it.
One of the most helpful books I've ever come across for obsessive thinking that is not written for obsessive thinking but rather is actually written for negative thinking and anxiety is David Burns' Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy book. Everyone on this thread needs to buy this book as a gift to themselves for the holidays. And read the ENTIRE THING. DOn't give up. Don't be ADD. Don't put it down from boredom after a few short chapters. force yourself to read the whole book
From Susan . . . I agree with LJ. This was my first book about cognitive based therapy. When medication for depression did not work Burns came up with this. It works.
CBT stems from positive thinking which was introduced in the first American self-help book, Poor Richard's Almanac, by Bejamin Franklin. Replacing thinking with prayer, Mary Bake Eddy founded Christian Science based on positive thinking. There is also the Christian classic, The Power of Positive Thinking, by Norman Vicent Peale.
Today most self-help authors mention CBT or PT as a healing agent. Burns expounds on this. He also has a book for couples and about self-esteem.
LovelyJune, I'm only a quarter of the way into Feeling Good. It seems I read this book, or tried to, several years ago. I suppose this student wasn't ready for the lessons. Oddly, just reading the reasoning behind why my troubled brain may be experiencing distorted thinking was helpful. I am using the tool of countering my distorted thoughts with a rational response. This can take some work because I have been thinking like this my whole life and my first response usually feels rational, even though it can leave me feeling lousy.
By applying what I've learned so far to my latest breakup, which is currently dominated by anger, I'm able to see that my anger at what I perceived as an injustice on his part was adaptive. If forced me to look at where my standards had sunken, the type of guy he really is, and to finally break away from him. However, the anger that has been eating away at me, making want to cry when it enters my mind, and keeps me awake at nights is no longer useful. It's maladaptive at this point because it's only hurting me and creating angst that's not leading to any productive problem solving. I'm never contacting or seeing this dude again and there is nothing to work out with him. The anger has no further purpose.
What I am reading now in the book is about empathy. Seeing that my POA was worried about wasting his life on a married woman, missing opportunities, and ending up alone is not hard for me to do. Plus, he is an alcoholic and porn/sex addict so his perspective will be different than mine. The other side to that is he wanted to hook up with local babes and keep me in the dark about it so I would continue to see him. This part feels too personal for me and I'm not there yet. I was operating under the assumption that if I played the role of long-suffering, adoring, sex kitten, that would be good enough for him. Now, since it wasn't good enough for him, then I must not have been good enough. I think this is the essence of how my self-worth is beat up right now.
I'll continue reading and look for more tools that may help me combat this.
Post by Loving My Life on Nov 27, 2013 14:01:20 GMT -8
bigolmess, Yes keep reading, you are making a lot of sense, and you will get too where you can let go of your anger and even though you don't want to hear this right now, if you can forgive your poa, and pray for good things to happen to him, and do this for about 2 weeks, he will no longer be on your mind. I thought this idea was crazy when I first heard about it in AA, but it does work. This is the resentment prayer process.
And you sound like you did a lot of the same things that I was doing for my poa, I became the person that I thought he wanted, and I lost my self respect in the process, and my self esteem was at the bottom, but with time and a lot of positive self talk, I have finally turned the corner on this. I know I was not the person that my poa wanted me to feel like, I am somebody, I am not trash, and I also know that he was reflecting who he really was on me, and he wanted me to feel useless and worthless because this is who he was, not me.
And it took me a few years to accept all of this, but I kept on reading and as painful as all of this was, I am the better person now for accepting this, and knowing that it had nothing to do with me as a person, and I know my poa is a very sick man, and I continue to pray for him on a daily basis, but he will never be a part of my life again.
Do your daily affirmations and stand in front of the mirror and start telling yourself how much you love yourself, and you will start feeling and believing this.
Acceptance was the answer, and we have to surrender to our anger, and we learn how to forgive, we forgive for our benefit, not the person who harmed us, they are sick as well.
Loving my life, Interesting you said that about resentment. Two days ago my friend who is 2 years sober told me to pray that my POA receives everything he needs just as I would want for myself. It seems it wouldn't be a far leap from letting go of the anger to wishing him love, happiness, & any good thing he wants, but the chasm seems quite wide right now. I spent so much time and energy supporting this guy emotionally, worrying about what destructive thing he would do next, & rescuing him when he inevitably needed my help. In my mind, this was his motive to trying to hang onto me while he was getting his jollies with other women. That I made a pretty decent lifeline. For me, it's strange to go from hoping everything stays right in his world to hoping he is living a life of quiet desperation. I can go through the motions of praying for his well-being, but it doesn't feel honest and I'm not sure how it would work if it's not in my heart. Is the one of those things that the behavior comes first (praying for him) then I will start to feel it (letting of the resentment)? It has felt good the last day or so of continually reminding myself that anger now is not purposeful. It's kind of like when you leave a job and then you still think/worry about some task associated with it, then it occurs to you it's not your burden anymore.
LovelyJune, You were right about pushing through the book. It can get tedious at times and feel like too much work. I keep reminding myself what you said about not giving up on it and that my not wanting to continue is a part of my escapist tendencies. Right now, I'm reading about getting to the root of what bothers us about our thoughts; what are our assumptions and how are we operating from them. I expect some insight from the approval and love addiction chapters.
Post by Loving My Life on Nov 28, 2013 9:09:24 GMT -8
bigolmess, It also sounded strange to me as well to pray for someone who I had a resentment against, because my normal behavior was to hang on to the resentment and stew over it for weeks and months, but recovery taught we how to forgive, this does not mean I forget, or that I will allow this person back into my inner circle, but it gives me freedom from the bondage of this sick person actions towards me. And I also look at it from the perspective of what would have happen to me, if when I first reached out for help, if they had of turned their backs on me.
So this whole idea is too teach us to be tolerant and patience with all people, no we don't have to accept them, or like them, we just have to be tolerant, and it frees us in the process. I very seldom get angry anymore, and it is truly a blessing.
When I first started praying for the people I was angry with, the feelings did not automatically disappear, but a few days down the road, it would hit me, that I was not thinking about them, and half of the day was gone, so I kept praying. I don't have the answers to why this happened, but it did work, and I found some peace.
One day at a time :-) :-). . .We can do together, what we could never do alone. :-) And a problem shared, is a problem cut in half. :-) :-)
Anger is another form of obsession and attachment and I believe there is lots of strength in letting the anger go.
Sometimes a little well dosed anger can help us letting go or stop us from fantasizing. But there is no good coming from revenge fantasies, extended furious rage or the actual attempt to hurt him or do him harm. Even if we succeeded, we would only keep ourselves attached and obsessed, just with a more negative force than dreaming about love. I think it would change who we are if we allow to remain in resentment and anger for prolonged periods of time.
Having said this, I still carry TONS of anger and resentment for my father and have no clue how to let go of that. It's so easy to understand and forgive anyone else, except him. I believe this is part of what is standing in my way and I have talked about this for years. Much of the reason I am obsessing are connected to that. I believe if could let go of the anger I feel for my father, I could let go of the obsession and fantasies, too. My father is the one who originally drove me into the fantasy world. I just need to find my own way back out of there.
Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more. Men were deceivers ever, One foot in sea, and one on shore, To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so, but let them go, And be you blithe and bonny, Converting all your sounds of woe Into hey nonny, nonny.
Post by denverdignity on Jul 16, 2015 9:55:14 GMT -8
Im buying this book on my trip this weekend, I need it... Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
This book is dense so don't be afraid to skip forward before you give up on it. Consider taking notes and commenting in your journal.
Just remember, Burns is one of the pioneers of cognitive behavioral therapy which believes mood swings can be treated by identifying triggers and thinking positive thoughts. This is an old philosophy which comes along in a new package every twenty years. I can post a list if you want. From the Bible, 2000 years old.
Post by runnybabbit on Jun 7, 2016 21:04:52 GMT -8
I have to admit too. The good obsessions are nice. It's a great distraction and it's a way of wishing it all into existence. What if this POA did this or that and how would it make me feel especially if it was good. Obsess by watching movies making myself believe for two hours that's me and they are my POAs. But then when those two hours are up, what's the next movie? What if every movie is seen too many times?
It is hard to let go of any outdated defence/ survival mechanisms and I understand why someone would want to keep some of them. It is scary to let go of the old when the new is unknown... "Who will I be without my obsessions and fantasies? How will I survive in the ral world that seems so scary?"
One step at the time, with lots of support and patience for the changes that take time.
Yeah. Especially if it's something you've known your whole life to run from abuse/neglect. It's easier that way.