Author Topic: Embracing The Dark Side  (Read 113 times)

Twoapenny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2753
Embracing The Dark Side
« on: January 08, 2019, 08:41:11 AM »
Hi everyone,

A belated Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.  I have been popping in to see what everyone's been up to and I'm glad to see you all.

I've been thinking a lot, largely spurred on by Dr G's book.  It got me thinking about, not only other people not hearing us or recognising what we think or feel, but also how - for me, anyway - I don't listen to myself or how I feel.

Or to put it another way, what I've realised is that I don't allow myself to see or hear my dark side.  Negative emotions don't feel nice (we all know that) and I feel that there is a societal attitude towards certain feelings or emotions not being nice or okay.

I also feel that there's a big emphasis within the self help/therapy/getting better market on things like positive thinking, gratitude, mindfulness and so on - taking control, other people only spoil our day if we let them, it's up to us to create our destiny and so on.

That has got me thinking about why we don't engage with our dark side more and why it isn't considered a favourable way to deal with problems (or perhaps it is and I just haven't discovered that yet).  But it led me to pondering an experiment, as quite honestly, the approach I've been taking for the last twenty years clearly isn't working.  My life feels like it gets worse and worse, I feel worse and worse, and then on top of that I feel guilt for not feeling/coping the way I feel I ought to.  So I've decided to plunge in to the negatives and just accept them.  I'm trying not to label them or attribute them as good or bad.  I'm trying just to sit with the feelings and not keep trying to make them feel better.  I wonder if I ought to think about them as people, or little angry children who aren't being heard or seen or noticed.  But I feel like I need to focus on them being there, rather than trying to banish them constantly.

So I'm going to start a thread of negativity :)  Just something where I can write down things I feel angry about, sad about, frustrated with, resentful of and so on, without context or trying to see the bright side, or looking for a way to change it.  Somewhere that I can let those emotions and thoughts be heard and just be themselves.  If anyone wants to join me in a festival of grumpiness than you are very welcome :)

So - my resentments so far today (there have been a lot!).

Having to do everything for my son.  It's his first day back to college so we are back to micromanaging the mornings.  I get him to do as much as possible for himself, but almost everything has to be supervised, prompted, reminded, supported and so on.  So it's a lot of work and I find it stressful, especially first thing in the morning when I really don't want to be doing it at all.

Getting ready for the evening before going out in the morning.  One of the things I wanted to try and do this term was go for lots of long walks.  There are lots of beautiful places around here, but they aren't walks my son can manage.  I thought I would try to spend the time he is at college outdoors, exploring beautiful places that he can't get to.  If I'm out of the house all day, I need to get the washing out before I go, get the dinner ready (or I will just eat crap when we get home later because I won't want to start peeling veggies).

Realising that, having rushed around this morning because I wasn't going to come home during the day, I wasn't going to have time to go for a walk because I had jobs to do in town (that I can't do with son in tow) and then I had to come home to wait for the shopping to be delivered.  By the time that was done there wasn't time to go off trekking before I have to go and pick him up.

Parking up in town, looking at the beautiful sky, the gulls on the river, the church spire in the background and feeling sad, angry and resentful that I can't spend the day photographing it, or writing, or just being out walking in it with nothing else to do.

Having a nice chat with the guy in the health food shop and coming out wishing I had someone to love and have nice chats with, every day.

Getting home and just wanting to scream, "I hate this house!".  I do hate it.  I've cleaned and bleached, I burnt scented candles and sage, I've rearranged the furniture a dozen times, I've put bright posters and wall hangings up, hung drapes of fabric across doors and it is still hideous.  It feels like a grotty student multi let that I'm being forced to put up with and I hate it.

Still having a never ending stream of paperwork to deal with, all of it tedious, unpleasant and upsetting, all of it necessary because other people don't do what they're supposed to.  I am apocalyptically angry at the public sector workers who keep creating more work for me and the lengths I'm having to do to to counteract it.

I feel both angry and sad that I felt my only comfort earlier today was to eat.  I didn't feel there was anyone I could see or speak to who would just hold me and tell me everything's going to be alright (even if it isn't).

I felt huge anger, resentment and disgust at the number of homeless people I saw in town today.  One is one too many, particularly in this area where most of the housing is holiday homes and much of it stands empty for many months of the year.  I feel sick that the popular view seems to be that stuff matters more than people and that some people should have more than one home while others don't even have a room in a hostel.

I feel enraged at my mum for choosing her husband over her kids and it makes me all the more angry because he is such an unpleasant little man.  She didn't even pass us over for someone incredible and charming - just whoever was happy to move in and pay her bills.

I think that is all for now :)  I have to say I do feel better for just writing it up and not trying to cure it, rub it out or justify it - or needing to have someone say it's okay?  So maybe embracing the negativity will help.

If anyone else wants to jump on the grumpy train then do, and I will start catching up on all the other threads (Skep has probably built another house over Christmas :) ).  Best wishes to all of you for 2019 and thank you for still being here xx xx

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6180
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2019, 03:07:17 PM »
The negative belongs too, Tupp.  It's part of us, and should have a place.... not be banished, IME.

Noticing it, without judgement as you say, and attending to it... just listening, and letting it know it's a part that belongs, has helped me when facing debilitating anxiety.

I don't notice it helping so much, in daily life, though I'm sure it's got to be helpful at some level.  I'm just not there yet.

I have Dr. G's book, and have read the first pages only.  I'm looking forward to sitting down with it, giving myself time, and really seeing it.  I've been pretty overwhelmed lately, and am grateful you started this thread, ((Tupp)).

Welcome back,
Lighter





sKePTiKal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3857
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2019, 03:53:44 PM »
Tupp, I'm also in favor of this plan. Despite what people will say, what we've been taught - those uncomfortable feelings are still a part of us. And trying to avoid or deny them, usually makes me more miserable.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.

Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11196
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2019, 01:43:13 AM »
I really missed you, Tupp. I'm so glad you're back.

I doubt I'll be the best help with this, because I fear my own darkness.
It can take me under.

So even though I can deeply empathize with all of that pent-up, legitimate, righteous anger...knowing your story as we do how could we not? I don't know that I ever could intentionally welcome my own, sit with it and befriend it.

So what I'll do is be a loving witness, and never judge you for your reality. I have a lot of faith in you, and hope for you. And great frustration that your life is more challenging than I can sometimes comprehend.

I do know there is relief ahead, excruciatingly ahead...but I am holding tight to hope that you'll reach that relief before you reach the end of the rope.

Vent on, sister.

With love,
Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6180
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2019, 07:55:56 PM »
Hops:

I sometimes believe our fear of our dark side takes up the energy we need to make peace with it.

Sometimes. 

Lighter 


Hopalong

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 11196
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2019, 01:31:20 PM »
That's probably true, Lighter.

Tupp, I especially like the utter honesty of what you wrote. Type away.... I'd rather read it all than be missing you. Your full humanity is welcome on this side of the screen. Who said humanity is always perky and pleasant and martyred? Half of humanity is in a righteous rage half the time. Periods without anger and grief (look at the U.S. for a macro example) are fortunate. But it takes a lot of guts to look at the dark side. How could it ever change if it's never faced truthfully, especially when external conditions are beyond control? You awe me still.

I like the clarity you've made key here--a thread for facing darkness, not whipping out cleaning rags to polish it away before it's even greeted, acknowledged, accepted as one of our bones.

love
Hops

« Last Edit: January 10, 2019, 01:45:16 PM by Hopalong »
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Twoapenny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2753
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2019, 06:03:07 AM »
That's probably true, Lighter.

Tupp, I especially like the utter honesty of what you wrote. Type away.... I'd rather read it all than be missing you. Your full humanity is welcome on this side of the screen. Who said humanity is always perky and pleasant and martyred? Half of humanity is in a righteous rage half the time. Periods without anger and grief (look at the U.S. for a macro example) are fortunate. But it takes a lot of guts to look at the dark side. How could it ever change if it's never faced truthfully, especially when external conditions are beyond control? You awe me still.

I like the clarity you've made key here--a thread for facing darkness, not whipping out cleaning rags to polish it away before it's even greeted, acknowledged, accepted as one of our bones.

love
Hops

Thanks, Hops, I have missed you too :)

I understand what you say about being frightened of the dark side; I always have been as well.  I think possibly it's partly societal - as children we aren't generally allowed to express ourselves fully when feeling unhappy or angry (possibly more so for women).  Partly it's always been the fear of what happens once you take the lid off that particular box.  I always remember a therapist saying to me that once you get the lid off you can't always get it back on and that can be hard.  So there's that issue, because dealing with pent up, unpleasant emotions - the angry kind that make you want to lash out and swear and be unreasonable and punch people - is really hard when you've also got to be around people and not be unpleasant and angry at them because it isn't their fault that x happened to you and you feel bad because of it.  Plus there's just coping with the day to day work, kids, money and so on and so we do push it aside.  And of course there is the family element; we were supposed to be happy and make everyone else think we were happy - no negative emotions allowed.  So there have just been years of swallowing things up.

But I think where I've reached my tipping point just lately is that I feel I have spent my whole life clearing up other people's mess.  An actual event is a good analogy here.  When I was four, my mum and dad had a row and she threw his dinner at him.  It hit the wall, the plate smashed and everything fell on the floor.  He went to the pub and my mum went to her room and cried.  I, apparently ( I don't remember this; my mum told me the story) cleared up the food and the broken plate and then went to comfort my mum.

I kind of feel like that is a loop that has been played throughout my life.  Both parents focused on themselves and not me.  They should have been looking out for me and thinking about me, but they weren't.  My best interests were not at the forefront of their minds.  They both, literally, created a mess and then left me to cope with both the practical and emotional fall out from that.  And I feel that that has happened to me in many different forms and many different ways ever since.  All the therapy, self help books, endless amounts of soul searching and self improvement over the last twenty years has helped to deal with my co-dependency and my boundaries are better, but it hasn't stopped these 'someone else made the mess, you clean it up' situations.  Sometimes it's practical - every house I move in to is filthy and has an overgrown garden.  Every house I leave is spotless and in good working order.  Whoever moves in to my last home gets a lovely clean house to unpack in and a garden that they don't need to think about for a least a couple of weeks.  And every place I move in to takes days of cleaning, bleaching and tidying, not to mention endless trips to the dump to get rid of other people's rubbish (because of course, I took my own rubbish to the dump because I wouldn't dream of leaving it for someone else to deal with).

And it's made me wonder if the only thing I haven't tried yet - accepting the dark thoughts and the feelings of hate, resentment, anger and so on - is the one thing I need to do?  It does feel scary.  I feel guilty for moaning about things because I do appreciate that there are always other people in a far worse situation.  And I do still appreciate the day to day things I do have - a home, a car, enough money to pay my bills and so on.  But I feel like I need to give the other stuff free rein for a while.  My genuine mind set is that I hate social workers and doctors.  I have resisted allowing myself to feel that for many years, because the logical part of me knows it isn't sensible to hate thousands of people because of the job they do.  The sensible part of me knows that individual people have behaved very badly within those professions.  But I'm also aware that they can do it because those sorts of professions allow that sort of abusive behaviour to take place.  The professional is always believed over the parent.  Professionals are aware that a parent whose child is seriously ill or disabled will not have the time or energy for endless complaints and battles so they know that piling on the pressure can make a parent back down or give up.  They also know that, a lot of the time, parents don't see what's being written about them (you have to make a specific request for copies of your own notes) so they can write up all sorts of bullshit and pass it on to others and make them see you in a different light.  Usually I make myself focus on the 'well they're not all bad' approach but at the minute I'm allowing 'they are all arseholes and I hate them all' to take precedence.  What's interesting to me is that my thoughts won't change the way I behave around them - I'm still polite, provide information, turn up on time and so on.  And that made me wonder why I've resisted those thoughts for so long, because I do feel better for thinking "F**k you" to just about everyone, even though I don't say it and they have no idea I think it :)

Lol, I'm rambling, I'm not even sure that made sense.  But essentially what I'm trying to say is that I was always very scared of letting any dark thoughts out but now that I have it actually feels quite nice?

Twoapenny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2753
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 06:06:25 AM »
The negative belongs too, Tupp.  It's part of us, and should have a place.... not be banished, IME.

Noticing it, without judgement as you say, and attending to it... just listening, and letting it know it's a part that belongs, has helped me when facing debilitating anxiety.

I don't notice it helping so much, in daily life, though I'm sure it's got to be helpful at some level.  I'm just not there yet.

I have Dr. G's book, and have read the first pages only.  I'm looking forward to sitting down with it, giving myself time, and really seeing it.  I've been pretty overwhelmed lately, and am grateful you started this thread, ((Tupp)).

Welcome back,
Lighter

That's what I'm trying to do, Lighter, is just notice it and accept it without labeling it good or bad.  I do know - from many years of past experience - that I can control myself, however I feel.  So I don't feel scared of losing control and hurting myself or someone else, even thought I feel that some people deserve a slap :)  But I think that's what I'm finding interesting at the minute; how I can be in a dark place mentally but still be able to be a normal human being.  I wonder how much of my positive thinking has been an act to try to distract me from myself.  Probably a rabbit hole too far there :)  But yes, it doesn't feel bad to be doing it and just thinking yep - that was crap.  He's an arsehole.  And not trying to pick in to it too much xx

Twoapenny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2753
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2019, 06:08:34 AM »
Tupp, I'm also in favor of this plan. Despite what people will say, what we've been taught - those uncomfortable feelings are still a part of us. And trying to avoid or deny them, usually makes me more miserable.

Thanks, Skep, I think that's it - we are taught to keep those sorts of unpleasant things in.  And it isn't pleasant to listen to people who moan all the time; we all know what that's like!  But I think there's a difference, isn't there, between the general moaners and complainers and genuinely having horrible feelings that have been cause by horrible people or events and needing some way of letting them out and dispersing them so that they don't keep bothering us.

Twoapenny

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2753
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2019, 11:42:56 AM »
Well bizarrely Embracing The Dark Side seems to be going well for me!  Perhaps I should really go for it and start dressing as Darth Vadar or something?

I had an appointment with social services yesterday.  You all know my previous interactions with them have been horrendous and it brings up so much stuff for me.  I realised that my anxiety tends to present more as an all over feeling of paralysis and I get a lot of joint and nerve pain when I'm anxious.  I was sick several times the day before because I was dreading it and I made no attempt to make myself feel better or to deal with it in a healthy way or to change the way I thought or felt.  I just got on with my day, feeling dreadful, and feeling resentful that other people's past actions were still having such a negative and debilitating effect on me.

I got to the office yesterday and memories of taking my son into a social care centre when he was four and we were homeless started flooding back, and I let them.  The rude, obnoxious social worker who told me I should go back to where I came from if I didn't like it there and who, after I explained tearfully that my mother and I had fallen out because when I told her my step-father abused me she took his side, told me that if I asked for help from them they would take my son and place him WITH MY MOTHER AND HER CHILD ABUSING HUSBAND.   And then when I walked out, two other social workers chased us down the street and persuaded me to go back inside, saying they would help us.  And then they handed us back over to that vile woman who fabricated an entire case against me (all thrown out; I proved every word she said was a lie).  I took my lovely, sweet, brain damaged boy back in to that revolting lair because I was still so concerned with being 'nice' and doing what I was supposed to that I ignored every bit of me that was screaming 'Run!' and I let that woman destroy my career, my confidence, my sense of self and my relationship with every member of my family.  She set the stage for every single problem that we've had since.  Eleven years on and her actions still cause problems for us now.  So I let it all wash over me as I sat waiting to be seen and when the (new) social worker came in to fetch me I didn't smile at her or shake her hand and say nice to meet you.  I made no effort to be polite, friendly or 'nice' and I didn't try to hide my anxiety either.  I explained my son's disabilities to her, told her I was not prepared to care for him once he turns 18 and generally kept everything business like - and it was fine.

I think in my mind I have this thing that I need to have a Pollyanna type approach to everything in life, making life easier for other people, more agreeable for them, and that somehow I have to keep my mind clean and shiny, too.  But this week has showed me that, actually, just being polite and punctual is enough; I don't need to worry about other people and what they think or need and I don't need to put myself under pressure to be or feel a certain way.  As long as I'm polite then really that's all anyone else has a right to expect of me.

Bizarrely I've also had several emails from people from my past; I only saw them today because I don't use Facebook much anymore.  A couple of them have been there for a few weeks.  One's okay to reply to; he's an ex boyfriend and we catch up every now and again so he's 'safe'.  But I looked at the other two and thought - do I want to get into any sort of contact with them again?  And the answer is no, not really, so I've just ignored them.  And it doesn't feel bad xx

lighter

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 6180
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2019, 12:59:07 PM »
Hi Tupp!

Your post is timely.... I'm working on not feeling responsible for other people's feelings too.... how I appear... helpful.... earnest, bleck.... pleasing.  Bleck. 

I can see how we present ourselves for inspection.... give people the idea we're interviewing for approval.... judgement, and that's why we get so much of it.  Particularly, for me, when I'm not in control... when I need help,  which I've never been comfortable asking for or accepting in my life.

.

I don't think most people are thinking about it, most of the time.  I think our behavior, manner, and words PUT that in their heads.  Example, that doesn't hold a lot of trauma or emotion for me, is the woman responsible for setting up delivery on the kitchen I purchased from the Re Store when I was purchasing this house.  THE RE STORE! 

My sister was all... "Why is she being SO MEAN to you... you're so nice to her!"  I was too nice, too helpful, too willing to let her treat me poorly.  WTH?  This situation helps me understand why I've experienced bullying in school, the workplace, from attorneys and the contractor....  and I'm not always in that mode, and it's important for me to notice that 

It's typically when I NEED someone's help... mostly.  When I'm not in control, and many times at the mercy of.  BTW, this woman charged me for delivery of the kitchen, made the date, then cancelled it, without warning, bc I didn't pay another 15.00 or so dollars for adding small items to the already scheduled $300.00 delivery. 

She claimed I didn't pay ANY fee, then went about charging me hundreds of dollars for "storage" after we'd made the first available delivery date, and the delay had nothing to do with me.  She brought in the manager and set him on me... this very nice, hippy man, who I'd always got along with was threatening me with more storage fees, and being very mean, while charging me $300.00 above what I'd paid!  And I paid it!  Under threat of flaking out, failing to make another delivery date, and being charged more!  The hippy man was MEAN TO ME!  And the bitch smirked, while looking on.  Her handywork.  SMIRKING. 

Turned out this woman had put my delivery fee at the bottom of my 4K invoice.... and we all 3 missed it, so sure was she that I'd just refused to pay the $300.00 bc I'm, what?  A very bad person... someone who refused to take care of business, when in fact I'd gone out of my way to set up delivery ahead of schedule, unlike most people who purchase, then go back and set up delivery days later.   Being accused of actions that are opposite what I actually DID, being punished, and humiliated for the opposite of what I DID..... while many people I worked with at the Re Store looked on with wide eyes... some with pity..... while allowing that bitch to treat me that way.  I ALLOWED her to treat me that way.

My sister finally went in FOR ME, and on my behalf,(learned helplessness much?) pointed out the invoice payment on delivery fee, and cleverly, without emotion, worked a deal where the bitch didn't have to admit to her boss what SHE DID, and I ended up getting delivery for free PLUS came out another $300,00 ahead, which I was conflicted about,  frankly.  It didn't come out of the bitche's pocket, and the hippy manager still thought I was a flakey person trying to take advantage of The Habitat For Humanity people.... him.  Them.  I was there all the time, and didn't feel better till the owners son, who I got along with very well, said the bitch was always a bitch, and it was like a pat on the soul to receive. 

And why did I allow this.... invite this treatment?  Whatever in the world would create that frame of mind IN ME, to allow it... I asked myself this.  I was purchasing a house, we had a tiny new puppy in our rental, I had a 12yo child traveling to MAIN for a summer camp, on a plane all by herself... so far away!  And I was dealing with a crazy making contractor, and another contractor dealing with cancer AND trying to pack up, and move, while DOING a lot of work on the house myself... my head was spinning.  I was overwhelmed, and unable to stop, and re center myself. 

I'm not always scattered.  I KNOW when I'm feeling confident, and carrying myself with authority.  I know when I'm not, but it's recent, and your thread helps me cement it in place. What it IS, and what it's not... what I fear.... what the shame whispers it IS. 

Realizing we're not centered is important.
::nodding::
 Stopping.
 Learning to re center ourselves....
then proceeding is a thing

::nodding::.

You did this when you decided how you'd deal with that lady, and recent appointment.  For yourself.  You showed up on time.  You were polite.  You were centered, and focused.  That's a skill we need to cultivate... getting ourselves calm.

 It's happening at a mid brain level.  Our access to logical problem solving frontal lobes isn't available. Our amygdalas kick in, hijack, and we're not even aware most of the time.  We have to be aware.  We have to calm down our brains, gain access to the logical frontal lobe, THEN proceed knowing stress, and old crisis can knock us off center again, and we CAN deal with it. 

Judging ourselves, is not helpful, IME.

I'm glad you changed up how you felt about that appointment. 

You rock, ((Tupp))

Lighter

sKePTiKal

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3857
Re: Embracing The Dark Side
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2019, 07:17:27 AM »
Lighter, that a great example and explanation of what/why we do such things. To go a bit further:

Because of our childhood situations, I think we learned to do this to keep ourselves SAFE. To "manage" those adults who were dangerous to us, as best we could. It's dysfunctional for US.

I have a variety of that reflex, too. But in business, wearing that "hat", I have skills that deal way more effectively with that kind of thing, without working at it too hard. It's when it's interpersonal relationships, that I allow myself to be treated that way.
Success is never final, failure is never fatal.