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#460448 - 02/10/14 07:10 PM How to continue progress?
AndyS87 Offline

Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 310
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Hi guys,

So I don't deny that there has been growth and progress in many areas of my life after going in to therapy, but it seems I'm stuck at the moment.

I have never been able to figure out self sabotage. I don't know why I do it, and no matter how hard I look for answers, I can't seem to find any. I routinely procrastinate on projects - it is true that I work better under pressure, but not always. There are times when not knowing how I'm going to get things done when timelines are tight crushes me so badly with anxiety that I freeze. I try to move myself into action so that I can become motivated, but I get derailed by these mini panics.

When this happens, as I'm sure many of you are familiar, I feel like I'm about to die. I am not suicidal and would never take any action that I thought would end my life, but sometimes I feel the only way to snap me out of these moods is to do some sort of light self harm or cutting, just to provide enough pain to snap me out of my panic. Obviously, this is NOT a healthy way of dealing with these situations.

Any advice?

#463412 - 03/30/14 01:32 PM Re: How to continue progress? [Re: AndyS87]
FormerTexan Offline

Registered: 09/12/04
Posts: 12137
Loc: Denver, CO
"I have never been able to figure out self sabotage. I don't know why I do it, and no matter how hard I look for answers, I can't seem to find any. "

I don't know if this will resonate with you, but see what you think.

For myself, it started in large part by realizing I deserved better, that I was just as worthy for something better as anyone else. That did not happen overnight though. It took a long time to undo those "old tapes," those messages that were drilled into me by abuse that said things such as "I deserve what I got," or "this is the best I will ever have." It takes time, but those old tapes can be replaced with better messages.

I hope this helps.
Money talks, but all it tells me is goodbye.

If I could meet myself as a boy...

#463420 - 03/30/14 06:23 PM Re: How to continue progress? [Re: AndyS87]
mattheal Offline

Registered: 06/10/12
Posts: 142
Loc: Ohio

The fact that you can even see this issue is a testament of growth. I often find myself in the position where I may understand that I have a behavior gap, but have no idea how to bridge it. In many cases, I feel like I have a reflexive response, which as Former TX mentioned, is a reflection of my negative feelings of self worth. You have identified the issue, and now I think it is a matter of identifying a healthy way to prevent it, such as a breaking down the work into smaller tasks so that you can see each bit of progress. I wish I had and could share the answer with you, but at the very least hope you will see that recognizing the problem is a big step and something you should add to the significant win column as you consider your healing.

I know that you will find a way to overcome this obstacle. After all, you have already overcome more significant obstacles than most people will face in a lifetime.
It's okay to find the faith to saunter forward
With no fear of shadows spreading where you stand
And you'll breathe easier just knowing
that the worst is all behind you
And the waves that tossed the raft all night
have set you on dry land
- The Mountain Goats - "Never Quite Free"

#463453 - 03/31/14 09:24 AM Re: How to continue progress? [Re: AndyS87]
don64 Offline

Registered: 10/09/13
Posts: 1106
Hi Andy,

I've lived with self-sabotage my whole life. I'm 64, and began to remember sexual abuse from my father 11 years ago, and sexual abuse from my mother about a year ago. The final pieces are finally coming into focus for me about my dependency issues and self sabotage. My mother systematically terrorized me into submission as a sex toy from infancy until around age 3 1/2. She had two younger children to work with by then. I was dealt with violently during potty training by both parents. My father most likely violently raped me again at age 8. That is still totally blocked, but it feels to me it probably happened.

My immature brain processed that any personal passionate response could be lethal. My immature brain learned that sustained personal focus could be lethal. So, the self that developed was one of fear, anxiety, and eternal vigilance. Finishing any project was pretty impossible for me, as the message written in at almost the level of instinct was one of extreme danger lurking everywhere and in everything.

I've never cut on myself, but certainly thought of it many times as releasing pressure and somehow feeling it would somehow allow me to actually inhabit my body--make me feel real.

I've had a lot of therapy and many other personal development experiences, and they all have served me well. I'm happy to report that I continue to grow, and with the memories of my mother's sexual abuse, physical abuse and torture beginning to surface I am seeing much improvement in my thinking. It feels like an exhausting process at times. But, I continually see progress with my thinking and continue to piece together an authentic ME. It is well worth all the time and energy taken to get where I am today. I have to remember frequently to stop when I need to, to rest when I need to, and persist when I need to. I read somewhere that strength and stamina are one. So, remembering the story of the tortoise and the hare, I do my best to set a pace that keeps me rested and hopeful. It has taken many years to release the panic that drove my life. But, all the hard work I have done is cumulative. The most important part for me is that I have continually accumulated skills and tools with which to work with my weak and underdeveloped places. At 64, I am pleased with the elegance of the process. I NEEDED everyone of those tools to work with the issues that finally felt safe to surface.

Sending you love and support,

Divine Law is not judgment or denial of self truths. Divine Law is honoring harmony that comes from a peaceful mind, an open heart, a true tongue, a light step, a forgiving nature, and a love of all living creatures. Jamie Sams & David Carson, Medicine Cards

#463947 - 04/11/14 12:26 AM Re: How to continue progress? [Re: AndyS87]
AndyS87 Offline

Registered: 12/12/08
Posts: 310
Loc: sorry, but I don't say on the ...
Thanks all for the support. Since November, things have gotten interesting. Weirdly, it was like I got burnt out on being worried about everything. You could say I got sick and tired of being sick and tired I guess. I am becoming more aware of these thought patterns though - I get stressed about something, immediately take up a fatalistic outlook on my future, and worry about things I can't do anything about at that time. The time I spend doing that totally distracts me from actually getting things done, and is in fact what I am doing right now.

So, I'm gonna go try to relax, but thanks for the help!

#463959 - 04/11/14 12:25 PM Re: How to continue progress? [Re: AndyS87]
OCN Offline

Registered: 02/05/13
Posts: 400
Loc: Western Europe
Seems like you're experiencing pretty much the same issues as i do Andy.

I know that i have the negative belief that i'm not good enough. Not sure if it originated from the abuse, probably it got strengthened by the abuse but existed before.

This is i guess how most of us are raised. We are taught that we should show some behavior which is called good, and we should not do some things which are bad in our parents/teachers/etc view. But we are children and don't understand these concepts yet. So we try to manage as good as we can, which means denying parts of ourselves. Cause we are so dependent on other people while we're young, we see them as all-powerful and all-knowing. So if we get a punishment, we think we deserved it and take this into account with our behavior.

There is nobody to blame for this really, cause our parents were taught the same. I have noticed for myself that it's very hard to break through the myth of not being good enough. Even though i rationally know that i am good as the person i am and always have been good enough, there is always that small voice inside telling me what i did wrong, why i should be afraid and all the rest.

At this time i am a little stressed out over worrying about my sexuality and i recognize the patterns you are talking about in your last post. And i think the good thing is you are starting to become aware of the patterns. Thats a MAJOR step! It all starts with becoming aware of what is going on inside.

Originally Posted By: "AndyS87"
[..]worry about things I can't do anything about at that time

One thing to bring to mind which might help you (comes from Shantideva, a Buddhist philosopher from the 7th-8th century):
If there is a problem you can do something about, then start acting to solve the problem. So there is no need to worry about the problem, if you can do something about it.
If there is a problem you can do nothing about, you won't be able to change or fix it. So there is no need to worry about the problem.

Perhaps its helpful to you

Wish you all the best Andy!


Edited by OCN (04/11/14 12:30 PM)
Trust me, you are worth it to love yourself!

I now know who I am - I've never been anybody else!

#463963 - 04/11/14 01:49 PM Re: How to continue progress? [Re: AndyS87]

Registered: 08/31/11
Posts: 3825

I am glad you are aware of your need to self sabotage. I believe the abuse leaves many of us feeling worthless, that the abuse is all we deserve. When life begins to go good we somehow retreat to that dark place.

I remember as a child praying to die, but like you I could never take my life. I even wrote the prayer down and would recite it each night. Praying I would not wake. The pain and memories of the abuse were so vivid. After a few years I stopped reciting, life looked good and I was happy--had friends in high school, college, work and to this day they are part of my life. But there were times when I would feel weak and down. I would have the nightmares, I had to drag myself out of bed. I was not happy, feeling that I was being overlooked at work and in my home. Somehow I got unstuck.

I had a fainting condition in my early 40's, neurocardiogenic syncope. The doctors had difficulty controlling the episodes. I was unable to drive a car for over a year--until I had been episode free. I was a guinea pig--the doctors not knowing which medication would work. During this time I felt low and the nightmares of the abuse returned--and I had thought I had them under control, but they continued and I felt violated. As I got better they began to subside, and then I started to move forward.

Nine years ago the feelings of dying entered my mind. Hope one night I would close my eyes and not awake. I never thought of suicide, because I could not do it. It was a very difficult time, triggers of the abuse were everywhere. I was hearing the words of the abuser, being reminded I was worthless, never did anything right, everything I did was flawed, I never gave everyone everything they wanted along with physical attacks. All reinforcing I did not have value. I only thought, why can I not sleep forever so the memories and nightmares would stop. I could not sleep. It took about eight years, therapy, hospitalizations, doctors, dissociative fugues and episode to overcome these feelings. More importantly leaving the home and not having contact has been a blessing in disguise. There is also a void, but feeling happy, safe and loved helps to fill the void. Their acts, words and being ostracized were not there. I began to hear positive comments and support from others.

Why I continued or how I progressed I cannot truly know. I believe leaving such a negative environment and surrounding myself with kind and compassionate people allowed me to live. I also believe the validation I received during a meeting with the parish and Diocese about the abuse was a catalyst. Today I am beginning to focus on the future, motivation is returning and I have dreams and goals. For eight years I had difficulty focusing on day to day activities, finances and myself.

Andy, remember your environment and those around influence you in many ways. Positive and caring people can go a long way.

It is a battle to progress but do not give up, you have come so far and this being stuck is temporary.

I believe no one is worthless, but some how the first time I was touched and violated by the priest, my mind changed to allow me to cope and live. Unfortunately it leaves us fragmented and with negative thoughts of ourselves.

Keep moving forward, you will find the right motivating factor--take a look where you were and are today, be proud of everything you have achieved in healing.


#464415 - 04/22/14 06:38 PM Re: How to continue progress? [Re: AndyS87]
jas4159 Offline

Registered: 06/16/11
Posts: 483
Loc: New Hampshire
Andy you should read my blog. i can so relate. self sabotage was the cleverest of my tools for self punishment and not achieving my full potential. This being said as my recovery has progressed it has changed so much for the better.

keep asking and the answers will come.



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