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Getting close to rock bottom, advice?

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by learningmore, Apr 24, 2023.

  1. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter


    Had TMS symptoms for as long as I can remember.

    In the last 3 years I have learned my mom is a narcissist and my dad is an enabler. It's all coming together.

    I have been in therapy for about 10 months, but just this week fired my therapist because he was invalidating.

    The more I learn, the more I see, I am just full of rage. I went from being a loving person (people pleaser) to just angry all the fucking time. I am currently living with my parents for various reasons, but one of which is to help my pop who has Parkinsons.

    I strongly believe my dad has Parkinsons BECAUSE of his relationship with my mom, btw.

    She belittles him on a daily basis. I don't even want to get into it.

    I'm so angry all the time.

    My mom is becoming meaner and meaner by the day. My poor dad just takes it and tries to appease her.

    I just want my dad to SEE what is going on (because I see him as a victim even though I recognize, cognitively, that he is just at fault as much as she is for enabling the abuse).

    My health problems are appearing more and more frequently despite (most) tests being normal.

    What steps can I take?

    I have no money for things like TMS therapists. I am on government insurance at this time.

    I am angry almost constantly when I am home. My mom is an attention seeker who is disgusting and mean and LOUD on purpose just so people pay attention to her. There is no calm when she is awake.

    I do not have the finances to move out.

    Why am I living at home? I ran a tech agency for over a decade but it recently fell apart due to various reasons that we'll call pandemic and me basically having a breakdown due to stupid emotional problems related to me being codependent.

    What books do I read.

    What workshops do I do.

    What journaling do I do.

    I am scared to death I'm going to get some problems like my dad due to my daily stress and life and codependent tendencies. But mostly, I want to feel good. I'm so tired and angry all the time. I haven't felt "right" in 3 years and have had stupid lingering injuries for years before that.
  2. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    I’m sorry for your situation. It is a hard one, and I suspect it’s difficult to show yourself compassion because of living in an un compassionate environment. A dear friend has parents in the same situation as you are. I suspect the increasing upset of the Mom is stress, fear and anger. She can’t control the situation of her ailing husband and has lost any bit of self-control. My friend’s Dad won’t rock the boat either.
    It’s good that you can recognize and feel your anger. It’s tough when it doesn’t dissipate. It can become another distraction - any all-consuming emotion can, like fear or sadness. Sometimes anger can even mask other emotions - so why not explore if you are feeling several conflicting emotions all at once. Dr. Hanscom writes extensively about held anger in some blog posts that you can find on his Back In Control website. Your library might even stock his book, which has even more good info. Both talk about is own anger experiences, and gives steps on how to deal with these feelings when they get “stuck”.
    He also writes about the difficulties of victimization we can hold, and how self-compassion is needed to replace self blame.
    This website offers free programs - scroll down to the bottom of this page and see them listed: https://www.tmswiki.org/w/index.php?page=The_Tension_Myositis_Syndrome_Wiki (The Tension Myositis Syndrome Wiki)

    I know you’ve been around here awhile, you know many of the books and resources, you just need to employ their strategies, find ways to reduce your stress load - maybe get outside when you can. Meditate if that works for you, engage in some of your interests -even if it’s a challenge right now.
    It’s great you see some of your personality traits like co-dependancy, and you can work on changing that. But you can’t change your Dad, nor force him to see what he is not ready to. You can become an example by changing how you deal with stress and old behavior and thought patterns.
    I commend you for deciding you want to take the steps to work on such challenges.
    Ellen and JanAtheCPA like this.
  3. Booble

    Booble Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'll respond more later but quickly wanted to say something about this:
    "My mom is becoming meaner and meaner by the day. My poor dad just takes it and tries to appease her."

    I had that that same Mom and Dad. Both since passed.
    I held a lot of anger about my mother's treatment of my dad. And then one day I had the opportunity for a wonderful talk with my Dad. He said that he made peace with himself regarding my mother and that he CHOSE to be with her. For whatever reasons of his own. He loved her. Despite all. Maybe it was his own psychological issues. But it was a choice. His choice. It wasn't for me to interfere or try and help or to get upset about it. He was a grown man. And he chose to be with her. Regardless of how she treated him.

    Knowing that really helped me shed my (hidden) anger about this.

    I had a friend that also had a similar situation. Her dad said to her, "Your mother and I have been fighting long before you were born. Don't worry about it."

    With my mom, I was eventually able to understand that she is (was) human too. She had her own psychological issues and damage. Sometime we hold onto the childish belief that our parents are superheroes. That they are perfect or that they should be. Nope, they are just damaged people like the rest of us. Going through life however they can.
    Ellen and JanAtheCPA like this.
  4. Duggit

    Duggit Well known member

    John D. Sarno, M.D., The Mindbody Prescription in a Q & A part of the book:

    Q: I know I’m angry. I can feel it. In fact, I often show it. Why do I still have pain?​

    A: Because the anger you know about and express is not the anger causing the pain. TMS is a response to anger-rage generated in the unconscious (in which case you are not aware of it), or conscious anger suppressed. TMS is not a response to conscious anger felt or expressed.​
  5. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'll agree with you about this. So will Gabor Mate, MD.

    Acknowledging your fear that you might end up like your father is the first step towards travel a different path. I don't think it is inevitable by any means!

    But you've got work to do.

    Forgive me if I repeat something you already know, but here are some thoughts:

    Dr Hanscom on anger is a great recommendation.

    Dr Mate has written and spoken about caretaker syndrome, which you might find extremely relevant to your current situation, which is horrifying on many levels.
    His seminal book is When The Body Says No, which is also seen in the titles of his many videos and interviews on various topics. Just google "Gabor Mate caregivers"

    Answer the ACEs questions and read the accompanying article at the link. I think it's helpful to delineate and quantify just what you're dealing with.

    It really all goes back to childhood. My observation from almost twelve years on the forum is that the greatest recovery by people with seriously dysfunctional family backgrounds is achieved by individuals who are willing to not just acknowledge their adverse childhood experiences, but to deeply and emotionally access and feel the rage, fear, grief, and loss that they experienced as young children. It's not easy to do this. It requires a lot of very scary vulnerability, and if you are still able to engage a new therapist, it may take the skills of someone with training in early childhood trauma and family systems to get you there.

    You are not alone. Your situation is the same as a number of others, current and past, who struggle mightily with anger and resentment along with frustration about their lack of progress. The big obvious commonality is seriously dysfunctional childhoods. The less obvious commonalities are victimhood and lack of self-compassion (eg, your self-blame for "stupid emotional problems") and a brain that is extremely resistant to looking at emotional childhood content.

    I don't know how far you got in the SEP or if you ever worked on it, but there's a powerful writing exercise, which is the well-known "unsent letter" technique. I believe it's self-explanatory. The point being, of course, to write to any other person all the things you want them to really hear from you - all of it, without any editing, without any proofreading, no stopping to think about it. Just keep writing until all the shit comes out. It doesn't need to be legible because no one else will ever read it, including you because you can destroy it whenever you want. Write to both parents about how it felt to be emotionally abandoned by each of them, albeit in two very different ways.

    In fact, you really hit the nail on the head when you brought up validation, or invalidation. You might also write to yourself, about how you feel about being invalidated - and be sure to start with how easily you invalidated yourself in your post - with that comment about your "stupid emotional problems".

    Question: Is it ironic that you fired your therapist for the same reason?

    Finally, write to your very young childhood self, and write about the same thing, which is how emotional abandonment felt when you were so young and vulnerable. That's where it all started, when your parents, in their different ways, failed to live up to their obligations to protect and cherish you. It's really the ultimate invalidation, isn't it?
    Ellen likes this.
  6. tgirl

    tgirl Well known member

    I began reading Gabor Mate’s book, but I have to say I found it a bit depressing. The idea of one’s past dictating present or future health is disconcerting, even though I’m sure it’s true. I guess I just don’t want to read that. Having an anxious nature already, this is something I just don’t need to dwell on.

    I’m not sure if it’s just me or if others feel the same way, but at times when I experience a prolonged physical symptom that is upsetting I worry that I’ve had this sort of thing for so long (and yes, I had an anxious upbringing) that maybe I’ve already done irreparable damage . I definitely don’t want to lose hope. I’d love to hear if this is an innate fear that others experience.
  7. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    I completely agree that Gabor Mate's "stress kills!" message is just about the worst thing for this personality type. Although Dr. Sarno was interested in why the brain could choose a serious disease, it's much more calming to realize that even symptoms of extreme pain can be perfectly benign.
    Sita and tgirl like this.
  8. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Isn’t Sarno’s message a message of hope? That Matte sees this personality type involved with dis-ease without mind/body awareness, Sarno sees the reversal of dis-ease with mind/body awareness.
    Few TMS practitioners say they help guide patients with serious conditions through this process, but there are a few now seeing remarkable results.
  9. AnonymousNick

    AnonymousNick Peer Supporter

    Oh yes, this comment was meant to be in support of Dr. Sarno's hope and a criticism of Gabor Mate. The benign and/or reversible nature of many of the symptoms is what Sarno was so brilliant at uncovering. Never read any of Mate's books, but I've seen some interviews and it's sometimes some pretty gloomy stuff. I don't remember who Sarno was quoting, but he said "it's never too late to have a happy childhood." Quite a contrast. :)
    tgirl likes this.
  10. Booble

    Booble Beloved Grand Eagle

    "It's never too late to have a happy childhood" is kind of brilliant. Especially because often the slights that unconsciously give us all the pain and suffering are really quite small, despite them seeming gargantuous to our little selves inside.
    AnonymousNick likes this.
  11. Cariad

    Cariad Peer Supporter

    Dear @learningmore , I just want to say I hear you! I absolutely agree - my father got Parkinsons after a lifetime with my Narcissistic mother - the pair of them seemed locked in a battle to get the other to look after and, I guess, 'parent' them - and I swear my father subconsciously thought 'She'll have to look after me if I get really ill!' (Of course, she didn't - she mistreated and belittled him and got him into a care home as soon as she could...). It's awful to see, isn't it? And you want to stop it, but they are their own, adult couple, in their own marriage. It's not your 'job' to fix it. I've had to unlearn that myself.

    I like @JanAtheCPA 's suggestion to do the Unsent Letter. I journal a lot about things, but it does feel rather like taking off layers of varnish over time rather than any great one-time revelation that 'fixes' us. It's still good though. I can't afford therapy, I believe that the wrong therapist would do me more harm than good, and at least, in my journal, I can validate myself.

    And while I agree with Gabor Mate, yes, I too found him a depressing read! There seemed to be a lot on how and why people get ill, but not on how to get better... Sarno and his supporters seem much more positive about recovery. I wonder if Steve Ozanich would be useful for you?

    I totally understand your anger and the fatigue and the 'not feeling right' thing too - classic TMS. I bet they've parentified you through their life too, and living with them is the worst for that - I hope your circumstances change soon. In the meantime, perhaps you can learn to 'grey rock' the situation and the demands made on you, to find a healthy, self-preserving detachment from them? Your own activities, friends, things outside the house. Some way of getting a healthy perspective, because it doesn't sound healthy at all, and I feel for you. But I do think that you seeing the patterns, seeing outside their system, is great, an 'inoculation of knowledge', and I feel positive that that will stop you going the route of your father! :)
  12. Booble

    Booble Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm not convinced on Parkinson's but it would be great if that were the case. My husband's family has a lot of Parkinson's in it including his dad and his dad's sister. He now has some potential signs as well but hasn't gone to be checked.
  13. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    Most of those are no for me. My parents weren't physical. They didn't drink. No drugs.

    My mom was mentally unstable, and made me her therapist when I was a child, and parentified me, but that's about it.

    I'll be honest with you, I haven't heard of it. I googled it and found the page here, but the video for day 1 is private.

    Can I type it?

    One thing I've learned is that narcissist don't care how you feel, so this letter would just be me explaining myself, and what I've learned is what I feel doesn't matter, so there's no purpose for this.

    Or just insulting, but then I feel bad afterward.

    Yeah, so the reason I said "stupid emotional problems" is to keep it short rather than actually explaining what they entail. They were stupid because they are annoying, and they are emotional problems. It wasn't invalidating, it was categorizing.

    No, it's not ironic at all. I think the point isn't being comprehended here. The therapist, after listening to me complain about my mom for months, when I gave him an example of something she did, he goes "well, that's your bias against her. I'd have to get her opinion on that."

    This appeared wrong. It wasn't the first time I felt like I was required to provide MORE proof to my therapist, I never feel believed and always have to have heaps of proof for anything in order to be believed, and then I'm still not believed. I will add here, that other people, who just say whatever random nonsense they feel like, will be believed.

    A thing I've been curious about is why people don't believe me. I'm a goodist. I struggle to lie, nearly everything I say is truth. I have a literal interpretation of the world and feel like I'm upsetting the universe when I lie. Yet people, even people I don't know, don't believe me. What is it about me that makes me unbelievable? Do I exude the wrong vibe? Is it nature or is it because of my childhood? If it were just my parents who didn't believe me, that's one thing, but this is a recurring pattern in my life.

    Anyway, I don't want a therapist who doesn't believe me, or who invalidates me.

    While confused, I made a post on reddit's raised by narcissists subreddit and ONE POINT FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE upvoted it and suggested I get a new therapist who wasn't invalidating.

    So no, it's not ironic. It's irritating. I guess I need a certain kind of therapist who "gets" this. Calling it "ironic" makes it sound like it's my fault, somehow. Like oh, you feel invalidated, but then even your therapist is invalidating. As if I'm the common denominator, which is a polite way of telling people they are the problem.

    I guess? My parents were great as long as I did everything they wanted and had the same thoughts as them. But if I had my own opinion they disagreed with? Affection was withdrawn! So yeah, it was confusing because my parents are smart and successful. So I assumed they were right. More evidence I need to copy their beliefs.
  14. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    There's literally a book about this.

    And it's free.

    https://pdrecovery.org/ (Parkinson's Recovery Project – Information about the cause and treatment of Parkinson's disease)

    Click ...publications... at the top

    Click ...recovery from parkinsons...

    Click ...recovery from parkinsons...

    She talks about the behaviors that lead to parkinsons and how to stop it. Apparently she has patients who have recovered. The book seems kinda woo, but it really is truthful in describing my dad.
  15. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    What might we do to find out what we're actually mad it?

    I thought once I realized why I was so frustrated all the time it would go away. Apparently the things I complain about and get frustrated about aren't the real things.
  16. Booble

    Booble Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi LearningMore,
    That all sounds frustrating.
    You might be better off starting with yourself and not the therapist route. I think everyone is going to frustrate you right now.

    I'd start like this:
    Sit with a pen and paper and ask ask what you are angry about and write whatever comes to mind. Think about situations past and present. People in your life? What are you angry about in relation to them? Try to zone out and get your conscious mind out of the way and let whatever comes out onto the paper. Don't think too much. Pretend like you area automatic writing and the writing is coming from elsewhere. Write and see what comes out. Feel free to let your pen yell and scream onto the paper. Even if the situations don't nearly warrant it. I find swear words come onto my paper a lot. :)
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  17. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    It is both mindset and understanding the mechanism of your pain - recognizing how your mind chooses to feel pain/symptoms over feeling emotions that will end your mental suffering and eventually help alleviate your pain. The anger you feel may not be the anger or emotion driving the symptoms. There are often layers of anger. This is why doing a program like the SEP is so helpful. It will give you the understanding of this mechanism and guide you to beginning to uncover the patterns and habits of your mind, show you how this causes unconscious stress and often poor feelings towards ourself we may not be aware we have. Sarno repeatedly discusses the subconscious. Reading a book by Sarno is pretty imperative. Someone has kindly posted his reading of the first few chapters on this forum. Easy to begin.
    Just trying to glean all you need to help yourself from these question and answer forums is hard. The program makes the way much easier.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  18. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    I apologize for not being able to explain this. No way was I trying to hint it's your fault. None of this emotional shit is our fault, it's all laid down in our childhoods, after all.

    I won't call it ironic again, but what I couldn't help but notice is that you were easily able to identify invalidating behavior in your therapist, but not when you did it to yourself. Your explanation:
    is not convincing, because now your emotional problems are annoying as well as stupid. On a forum that is devoted to the concept that our emotions are at the heart of our suffering, with folks who believe that being angry at our emotions is a distraction from the deeper work that needs to be done - which is to compassionately embrace, acknowledge, and validate our emotions.

    Please be very clear about what is going on: this is not YOU, not rationally or consciously - this is your brain on TMS, trying its best to keep you far away from the scary work of embracing, acknowledging and validating your emotions.

    Not being believed by others is another form of invalidation. The answer to your questions is in the last one, of course: the best explanation for your experience has to be that this is what you were raised to expect (18 years of childhood plus X-many adult years? ) and that this is somehow manifesting in your adult life. Not in any kind of obvious way that you or anyone can point to, of course. All I have are some random thoughts: like, maybe you are unconsciously sensitive to mild skepticism expressed in casual conversation or work interactions? (various forms of hyper-sensitivity are a hallmark of the TMS personality, after all).

    Or perhaps you somehow do give off subtle "vibes" to others that you yourself don't think that your beliefs and experiences are valid? I suppose this could be a form of self-deprecation, which is okay in moderation, but self-damaging at some point. Words have power - look at how I have reacted to you calling your emotions "stupid" for example - it alarms me on your behalf, due to our belief here that self-compassion is essential for healing. You might be unconsciously using negative or invalidating language about yourself much more than you think, and not realizing the effect it has on how others (also unconsciously on their part) perceive and react to what you are saying.

    It could be a combination of these and other even more subtle things going on - there is hardly anything more complex than personal interactions, after all. And as I said before, none of this shit is conscious, not on anyone's part.

    Please believe that I'm only taking the time to put any of this out there because of the possibility that something from my random musings might resonate and make a difference. If it's a miss, that's okay - happens all the time. I do wish you well.

  19. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter


    I didn't see your latest reply until just now. Thanks for taking the time to type out this.
  20. learningmore

    learningmore Peer Supporter

    Yow, I've had this same thought.

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