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Vulnerability...

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by I'mStillStanding, Mar 2, 2019.

  1. I'mStillStanding

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    As you can tell I do have a bit of time on my hand. The last two days I have tried to rest a bit. I’m still down here and actually spending more time with my grandmother. While she’s sleep I get in the hospital bed in the closet. And just relax. It’s been nice not having to find something to do. If I wasn’t in there I’d feel bad sitting around and isn’t be up doing something.

    I love her! It’s been a minute since I read the poem but immediately started reciting my favorite parts. I did go over and read it... considering you pointed out her past (which I was aware) and what I’ve been dealing with before all this it really meant a lot more to me than it ever has. Thank you for that! I have book marked it and am going back to it later on to read it again when I have privacy and can really let go.

    I loved the article. I actually laughed at the stripper reference. In my normal life I’m not generally modest. As I said I like to get reconginzed on things. When I cook, projects, gifts, crafts, etc. But this is different. I like how she described it. It’s like paying a debt. I feel that while my family hasn’t been perfect they’ve been there for me when I needed them. Its kinda what you do. And I believe what you put out you get back. Growing up in church one lesson that stuck with me was that when you do something and want to get praised by man that’s your reward, but when you do something without the desire to be recognized or I’m the shadows you’re laying up a blessing in heaven. This is one of those things... I feel it’s something I’m suppose to do... I feel it in my core. So it’s kinda selfish I guess my dodging thank yous... I’m protecting my blessings hahahaha. This makes me sound crazy I know!

    This is very true! And right on... I’ve been shrinking myself for a while... well prob my whole life... but it seems since coming out it’s been even more. I still am over the top and all, but I bland myself down so much! My self esteem sucks and I don’t see how or why anyone would love me... I guess because I struggle loving myself and I have no idea where that came from but there it is! I need to work on this for sure... outside of this situation.

    I don’t know how to handle support. I’m use to being the support. So it’s not comfortable to depend on anyone. Often when I try I am very disappointed because I’m let down...

    I have had them pick up a few things (for me to cook lol) but I do lead in with this each time.
     
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  2. I'mStillStanding

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    Went to therapy today. First thing she said was I look like I have not slept in a week... this is just a polite way to say you look like shit. I let her know I have not really slept and she was very concern. I’m not sure if it was for my well being or because I looked a complete mess. I thought I looked good lol I mean I tried to dress and all.

    Well duding the session she wasn’t too happy at the idea that I’m fine with what’s happening with my grandmother. She did the whole... how do you feel about that? I don’t feel anything at the moment. I mean everything’s off. I think that’s why I’ve kinda been reaching out on the apps maybe... wanting to feel something! She agrees that’s not a great idea!

    She said we wouldn’t push it today as long as I knew we would have to deal with it when things settle down... I know that is a must. Just at the moment I’m scared if we did push I’d fall apart and that’s not an option. I know my family... I’ll be calling the funeral home when the time comes, calling everyone else, reading the eulogy for my brother (he will do the service and I’ll just look over it) I’ll help my sister with the obituary, I’ll make the flower arrangements, make sure the food is logged for thank you notes (though my sister will do those), make sure the clothes are ready, getting appointments for hair and nails for mom, etc. my plate is full and I can’t add break down... there’s just no time! And that’s just what’s to come... I’m busy dealing with what it’s happening now too.

    I did learn that I clearly don’t have an accurate understanding of normal behavior between guys (straight specifically). I shared with my therapist an encounter I had this week with a guy I said is straight. After she composed herself (I found her outburst refreshing as I needed a reason to laugh and her laughter just caught me off guard) she said that wasn’t normal behavior between friends especially ones who are straight lol. Well it wasn’t unusual to me because I’ve not had many close friends, and even fewer who were male and it seemed very normal lol because it was definitely not out of my norm of experiences... at least I walked away smiling at how even with all this going on there is still humorous things that happen to me and I’m oblivious to it not being normal haha!
     
  3. Chip

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    There's an old saying... "The graveyard is full of indispensable people". I'm in no way suggesting that you don't take on the responsibilities you've described above. What I'm pointing out is you have a choice. You might have the attitude of "Well, if I don't do it, no one else will." and while that might be true, I'm sure if you were in the hospital, unconscious, someone else would step up and do these things. So likely the reason you're the only one who does these things is because you've allowed it to become that way.

    And that's part of setting boundaries. (This goes back to codependency, which I think we talked about earlier.) If you simply said "Sorry, I'm not in a space to do this", I'm sure it would still happen. Someone else would eventually step up. Now... they might get mad at you for "not doing your job", because that's what happens in dysfunctional codependent family units with a caretaker/savior. They might guilt/shame/pull every tactic in the book. But it's entirely reasonable for you to set a boundary and say "I'm not in a place to do this, someone else will have to do it."

    At a certain point, if you want to work through this, you have to learn to be OK with other people being angry at you, otherwise they will forever be able to use anger, guilt, shame to get you to do what they want. It's an incredibly powerful means of control. Until you realize what it is and decide to change. Again, I'm less suggesting you take a different action in this particular situation, and more suggesting that you think about it, perhaps talk with your therapist about it, and begin to decide what, if any, change you want to make in the future, so that the next time an issue like this comes up, you can choose what you want to do about it.

    It can be pretty eye-opening when we discover that our world view may not be accurate in a lot of areas, as a result of experiences we've had. It's also sort of refreshing to be able to look at and reframe our experiences and expectations.
     
  4. I'mStillStanding

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    I just always been the one to do these things. I mean... I keep it together so it’s easier for me to handle the details. I feel like I was groomed for it lol I started helping mom with baby showers and weddings when I was like 7. I remember staying up all night once decorating and rolling meatballs for a wedding at our church. I loved it. And then as I got older I was always the one who did the hospital visits and cooked for families and visited and such. It’s just kinda become my thing... and it is a control thing for sure. But I think it’s control on both ends. The idea of me giving up control is terrifying. But I want to be able to do that... it’s stressful and honestly it would be nice to be able to lean on someone right now... but the thought of that... anxiety attack!

    I can do this... in therapy I said this. Like I’m not in a space to really work through everything. I’ve got to figure out how to do it for myself for sure!

    So you’ve meet my mother?
    Hahahaha

    This came up in therapy. My great aunts are mad at me. I have been watching over my grandma because last week they came in and was pulling on her trying to make her sit up. When they left she said they hurt her so bad. The next day I started standing over her while they’re here. When one suggested we try and get her up, I said... NO! We don’t do anything unless she asks, and even then we have to be mindful there are limits. They’ve been mad since because I’ve made it clear no one is to wake if she’s resting, etc. So clearly I don’t mind people being mad about boundaries when they have to do with others... this was pointed out by my therapist today. So why do I have a problem with people being upset by boundaries set up for myself? I don’t know!

    There’s a bunch I want to change. I want my own life. Free from fear of judgment for being myself. A place I feel safe and can just breathe. I’m scared now about how I’m gonna get that... mom lived with my grandma and now is gonna want me to stay with her forever! I’m nervous about how I’m gonna get my freedom with this happening...

    It really is lol. I love discovering new little things... and finding out how naive I really am is very interesting honestly.
     
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  5. Chip

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    It's control... but it's also worthiness. My guess is that you've attached some or much of your worthiness to being the one that swoops in and solves these problems. You probably got praised immensely for helping out with those things, and either not praised at all, or shamed/guilted if you attempted to set boundaries and not help out. Those messages -- partiuclarly when we are young -- are incredibly powerful and shape how we experience the world around us, and how we view our own worthiness.

    You have choices in every circumstance. You can simply decide you want your freedom. You can move somewhere where you aren't close by. You can set a boundary and see your mother once a week or once a month or whatever. The thing is. you have to set the boundaries.
     
  6. OGS

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    I'm totally with Smurf on this one. In my experience people really do want to help, but a lot of the things people really need are either not immediately evident or they are a bit presumptuous to just assume. My parents were those people who always took care of everyone else. And then my Mother was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemo and radiation treatments--like twenty-five years ago when the treatments often killed you before the cancer did. And she was just wiped out and it went on for months. And she'd always kind of been what kept my Father going (twenty some-odd years later when she succumbed to the cancer, my Father only made it a little over a year) and it all ground to a halt. And family pitched in, but everyone had their own lives.

    And really quick my parents decided, you know what? We really need help, and people keep asking... And we're just going to let them all help. And they just did. And word went out that not only did the ####s need help, the ####s would actually accept help. And people came out of the woodwork. It's scary when the people you care about have awful things happen to them and it makes people feel helpless, and I think a lot of people genuinely want something they can do to help. In all seriousness different families brought in meals every night for three months. Two ladies in the neighborhood traded off coming in to tidy up. The neighborhood kids got together and did the yard work. People ran errands and drove them to appointments. People would come in and just sit with my Mother so my Father could just get out of the house from time to time. A neighbor lady who was a hair stylist came to the house several times to cut and style my Mother's rapidly fleeing hair. A neighborhood man who owned an automotive shop upon hearing they were having car problems declared that would probably be his fault. He had apparently prayed there would be some way he could help the ####s and well, he supposed that had probably broken their car. I'm not sure he really believed that was what had broken it, but he did send someone up to collect the car and look after it. One week my Father made it to church and was overheard saying something about how he missed my Mother's baking--six families showed up that night with homemade baked goods.

    I'm not saying you have to go all in like my parents did. But just when people offer try believing them... and be specific.
     
  7. I'mStillStanding

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    This really jumped out at me... in fact, I actually have spent my free time going back and reading over this entire thread. I’m very frustrated at myself (not just for of all the stupid mistakes) because I feel like I’ve spent the last month wasting everyone’s time whining about the same shit. I’m sure y’all are way over me at this point... I’m kinda over myself honestly.

    I do appreciate every thing you guys have said... all the advice and encouraging words. I’ve taken a lot to heart and it may not seem like there’s been much movement, I feel like there’s been some progress on the inside.

    I’m not done here (this thread) at all. It’s become my go to place to really organize my thoughts on this topic and it’s nice having the log and feed back.

    This is what I want ultimately. It seems like such an out of reach goal at the moment. With what’s happening, my anxiety issues and all, finances (I laughed out loud at this because it should be singular haha), my mom’s health issues (physical and mental), etc.

    I’ve spoken to my therapist and know I’ve gotta get some plans in place. Things that make it less daunting. Like steps that are realistic and achievable moving me towards this goal. And I actually think what I’m working on in therapy is going to go a long way in building my self esteem, self confidence, getting my anxiety under control and really get the ball rolling on the other stuff.

    I’m making a list of things we’ve talked about in the thread to discuss in therapy (I’ve been doing this and surprised I’ve not mentioned it yet). This is on the list for sure. Steps I can take to make it easier for me to set them up for myself.

    I’m gonna need you to define this for me... lol I’m joking. No I’ve never felt like I belonged. Always kinda been the outsider and the odd ball. So the areas that I shared interest with anyone in my family I kinda obsessed about because it felt like... finally I belong! Maybe belonging and worthiness are mixed together for me...

    This makes me sound like such a prick! Mainly because I can’t say you’re wrong. I do like being there and helping people when no one else is. I’m not doing it to be thanked or anything. I don’t have some hero complex in a way that I want recognition. I guess it’s more about, I know what it’s like wishing someone would come in and help me out when I was in need and not having anyone there... I hate seeing others going through anything and not reaching out and trying my best to help in some way.
     
  8. I'mStillStanding

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    Ok... as uncomfortable as it makes me... I’m gonna do it. My dad’s most recent ex wife (I got custody of her in their divorce) has asked four time in the last week what we need (or if I needed anything)? She told me she’s gonna come out and visit Saturday and wants me to let her know if we need anything. I’ll ask for something... like to eat... rotisserie chicken and potato salad, or spaghetti, or something... cheap!

    Good lord just the thought of this is literally causing my heart to race I’m not even lying... like beating out of my chest! But I promise if I don’t die of a heart attack before I will ask for something...
     
  9. Chip

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    Can't speak for anyone else, but this thread, and the material in it, is super useful not just to you, but to hundreds or maybe thousands of people who are reading it now or will in the future. And actually, you're not whining about the same shit... you're progressing. Believe me, there are people here on EC who talk in circles for months, sometimes longer... and those do get tiring. But you're not in that category.

    And that's what it's all about!

    Belonging and worthiness are deeply tied to one another. When we feel like we belong, then we feel valued, which is a key part of feeling worthy ("enough") When we are "fitting in", we're being someone we aren't, which creates/increases shame, and makes us, as Brené puts it, "hustle for our worthiness".

    That's super perceptive, because that's pretty much what drives all codependency and unhealthy helping behaviors; we're trying to provide to others something we want, or didn't get, ourselves.
     
  10. I'mStillStanding

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    Going back and reading the full thread I’ve seen some progress for sure. It’s just not as much as I’d like. Slow and steady winds the race... but I’m an Aries so I like things to happen rather quickly hahaha

    I do this for sure. I work hard to feel like I have a place in my family, my friend groups, etc. I often get frustrated because I feel these relations become very one sided at times... but that just makes me want to try harder...

    I really do wish I had someone come in and rescue me as a kid from what was happening. I wish someone would have stepped in when I started getting tormented in 5th grade. I wish someone would have let me know it was ok to be gay all through middle school and high school and that being gay didn’t make what happened with that family member ok. I wish someone would have stepped in and said, “hey you don’t have to be anything other than yourself...” I wish someone was there when I was dealing with my illness and my family’s illnesses. Or my grandfather and dad’s (step dad) deaths. I wish like hell there was someone here now I could sit with and just cry about what’s going on. Tell how frustrated I am when mom says things like I have no idea how tired she is because I asked her to come and talk to my grandma who’s very confused and really wanted to see her this morning. Or how frustrating it is that it was said I don’t understand how exhausted they are because I’m not pulling their load... I don’t compare what I do, carry, or feel to anyone. It’s not fair. But I just wish I had someone who was here for me! Most importantly I wish I knew how to let someone be here for me... because I have no idea how to do that. I don’t know how to lean on someone... I don’t want to burden them, I don’t want to ask for help and seem like I can handle what I should be able to, I don’t want to have to trust someone with my secrets!
     
    #110 I'mStillStanding, Apr 5, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2019
  11. I'mStillStanding

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    I did it! I’m literally shaking so bad and my heart is beating out of my chest. I did have to take a Xanax because I had a little panic attack after I asked but I did it. My step mom (dad’s ex wife) said she was coming and wanted to know what I needed. I said it would be amazing to have something like a lasagna that way I didn’t have to worry about cooking today. She said no problem. The. She stopped at the store and messaged me... she said I know you keep a running list of things you need to pick up when you go to town what is on it I’m gonna grab it before I come. I sent her the fee little things I had (I’d went yesterday afternoon so it’s a short list right now).... I told my family next time someone’s says can I do anything I’m gonna take them up on their offer... maybe... I don’t know this one was so hard I swear it was like coming out all over again... I wish you could see my hands!
     
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  12. Dionysios

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    There is a saying, "Ask and you shall recieve." So glad that you spoke up to your stepmother. *smile* Most people seem happy to help others in need. While people have many talents, few are mind readers. We need to speak up when we require some help.
     
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  13. Chip

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    I hope you can realize how huge a step that was for you... and also, that you can realize that, putting yourself out there, people stepped up and did what you asked. In a way, it is like coming out all over again. And letting the family know that you'll be taking up their offers is awesome, as it, in a way, sets up some accountability for you, plus giving you permission to actually ask for what you need when they offer to help.

    This is a really enormous move forward for you, and I hope you can appreciate the fact that you've done this. Continue doing it, and I promise it will get much easier with time.
     
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  14. I'mStillStanding

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    Thanks :slight_smile: I mean no one has to read minds hahahaha but we are southern so bring tea and fried chicken... sure I couldn’t eat any but it’d feed the family hahaha :slight_smile: but my step mom brought a big lasagna for them and a gluten free for me... she also brought me several gluten free things I’ve been out of for a few weeks and haven’t even thought about asking for. I’m more concerned everyone else has what they need I’ll find something you know... but I’m super happy she brought all that for sure :slight_smile:
     
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  15. I'mStillStanding

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    It was a difficult thing for sure (which I’m gonna share my thoughts on that in a moment). It’s was one of the most uncomfortable things, asking for help! It paid off for sure with what all she brought. She brought stuff specifically for me I hadn’t even thought about and didn’t ask for: gluten free bread, pastas, flour, etc. These things never crossed my mind because they are things only I need or use. My focus is always in the group as a whole... so I was super thankful.

    I feel like a dumbasss after comparing the two. I came out and know how hard it was (I was married when I did it). This process of trying to figure out how to be more open has been excruciating but it’s not the same. I also feel ridiculous making such a minor thing seem so big... but I am happy to do some baby steps in moving forward :slight_smile:
     
  16. I'mStillStanding

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    Yesterday should have been a good day. I mean goodish. Considering what we are going through I’m not sure good is the right word. Anyway, with asking for help and getting it I was happy (after my panic attack lol) that I’d kinda over came that issue (again I know it’s silly but I was happy). For some reasons though, yesterday was the gang up on me day.

    My uncle decided two days ago he wanted biscuits from a fast food chain and got them (he got extra so there was some for people to eat yesterday morning). I can’t eat that because, well it’d kill me! So I still have been making my breakfast. And two days ago I actually split mine with my mom even though she’d had a biscuit already because she thought mine liked better lol and said it was much better. Well yesterday I came down and said I was gonna attempt to make my version of huevos rancheros. I’d never had them and always wanted them. So I pulled the stuff out, I knew my uncle and aunt didn’t want any they were already warming a biscuit. So I asked my mom. We had a conversation about how I didn’t have a recipe and I was just winging it. She didn’t want to risk and opted for the biscuit. My sister also decided not to be adventurous and have cereal. So I made it for myself. Y’all it was soooooooo good. I had read a lot of recipes and all so I had an idea how to do it but didn’t follow anything. Well when I sat down everyone was curious and talking about how “Bobby Flay” can’t just have a normal meal it’s gotta be gourmet every time. Mom starts fussing that I didn’t make it for everyone. I said y’all ate biscuits I asked if y’all wanted this and we had a whole conversation and you said no. We had a huge fight.

    Fast forward to after lunch... I’m asking my sister about some of my grandmother’s medication. No one was tracking it and it was getting frustrating having to chase people down to figure out when was her last dose given. So I started logging it and having everyone else log it. I’m exhausted and a little out of my mind. I’d looked at the log for for two hours and couldn’t find one medication. Finally found it and realized I’d missed a dose. I was asking her to make sure I wasn’t confused... she stormed out pissed like I had criticized her... um no. I even had said I’ve been so out of it I can’t believe I missed her dose. I felt bad that I had thrown the schedule off and now she’s being rude to me for trying to make sure I’m not making a mistake?

    Then dinner rolls around. Round three... I was reheating the lasagna and it was taking to long for them. I was getting my grandma a bowl and mom was complaining and I snapped a bit. She asked what’s with my attitude... I said sorry I’m just exhausted. Well, she’s like you’re exhausted? Ok we are all exhausted and we don’t go home and lay down at night and you’re gonna say your exhausted? I’m thinking no but you’ve slept the last 6 hours non stop? I didn’t sleep but 4 last night sooooo.... but I didn’t.

    I’d had enough. I finished dinner, cleaned the kitchen and did the dishes. I told everyone I had to wash some of my clothes and I went home about 2 hours earlier than I had been. I was able to get several loads of laundry done but felt guilty the entire time for not being down here... I mean I live like less than 100 yards away... but still...

    I’m not sure how much longer I can’t keep this going. It’s like the pots boiling over and I’m doing everything I can to keep the lid on it... therapy isn’t till Thursday and I don’t see things becoming less stressful. I’m gonna do my best to keep my head down, not say I’m tired, make sure I’m upbeat enough to keep it moving but not so much it’s disrespectful to what’s happening... and take my Xanax... that’s all I know to do at the moment!
     
  17. Dionysios

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    You often think of the needs of others. You have to think more often about your own needs. Make sure the next food request is gluten-free - perhaps a rich chocolate cake made from almond flour. Yum!
     
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  18. smurf

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    Keep in mind what Chip said earlier. When you start setting healthy boundaries people will lash out. When it happens, think of those words and remind yourself that you are doing the right thing and they simply have to adjust.

    Do not let them bully you into putting your needs last. You did nothing wrong.

    So proud of you!! This is huge!

    You listened to your body, you noticed that nothing was going to change so you simply took yourself out of the situation and took care of yourself. That's simply amazing!

    Keep at it. You will feel less guilty the more you do it and the more you notice that those breaks will allow you to keep going and allow you to feel less exhausted long term.

    Keep listening to your body and take care of it :slight_smile:
     
    #118 smurf, Apr 8, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  19. I'mStillStanding

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    I really do mainly think about what the unit as a whole needs. Since I’m the only one gluten free, I hate to ask for that stuff. I know it’s a bit more and honestly I do worry people will say yea it’s gluten free and it not be. I’ve actually had that happen. They apologized when they saw I was in the hospital and was like... I didn’t know it was like that bad I’m sooooo sorry.
     
  20. I'mStillStanding

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    I didn’t even see this as a boundary honestly. I offered to fix it for everyone and had pulled the stuff out to make it for everyone. No one wanted it so I made it for me (again it was sooooo good I love sriracha so I used it and a bit of blue berry preserves in with the tomato, onions, and peppers hahaha). Then when they saw it they wanted it. Honestly I’d have given them mine and went back and made some for everyone one no problem, but instead of asking she attacked me and it was just out of left field and blew up.

    I hate this phrase. As an adult I feel silly when I think I’ve been bullied. But honestly that’s been my entire life. It was the “joking” making fun of my ears that I remember first... I literally have horrible self esteem issues and one of the first things I see that I hate is my ears. My family made fun of me so bad about that. But I do often feel bullied... it sounds very weak and horrible saying it but I do. If you mess with my family, I’m reading to go to war... for my self I tend to keep my head down and move along.

    Again it’s silly but I am kinda proud of myself for just saying I’m over it and leaving for me...

    I actually did it again last night, not angry just left early to go and do some things for myself. I didn’t feel guilty at all last night actually. That guilt thing faded very quickly hahahaha

    This is dangerous... my body is telling me to eat the plate of gluten free cookies I made myself... the scale is saying you’ve already had banana nut pancakes and two cookies... you done for the day! Lol how I’ve not gained any weight in the last two weeks is beyond me... everyday I get on the scale I’m like oh lord please help... and it’s not going up hahahaha it’s not going down which sucks but as long as it’s not going up I’ll be ok another day or so....
     
    #120 I'mStillStanding, Apr 8, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019