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I can't stop turning anger on myself and self-punishing

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by zclesa, Nov 19, 2022.

  1. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    I do want to heal, otherwise I wouldn't be here. I've always fought for myself to be a better person. I have beaten so many self-destructive things I used to do to harm myself.

    But I don't actually want to be NICE to myself every day if that makes sense. Despite not cutting or drinking or starving or purging anymore, I still treat myself badly through self-punishment and self-neglect. I am also half-aware that I'm doing it and can't stop.

    I can't be bothered with myself. At the weekend, when I don't have any "duties" to perform, sometimes I'll just stay in bed and not shower. I just grab things from the fridge rather than making a nice meal. I never buy myself things unless they're second-hand. I sometimes deliberately make myself stay awake. The thought of "treating" or "rewarding" myself feels icky, indulgent, and "bad". I do not even understand the concept of "taking a break". I buy books I want then rarely read them. I feel worse when I relax because I'm not actually relaxed, just restless. I end up compulsively researching random things or procrastinating.

    I've also developed a habit of pushing my tongue against my teeth this last year and biting it until it's sore. So, aside from the dizziness, nausea, brain fog, tinnitus, tension headaches, RLS, and whatever else, it's like I'm actually self-harming, albeit unconsciously.

    I can get rid of my symptoms sometimes when I go away and have fun and am distracted. But this only lasts for the duration of doing that. At home, I often fall into treating myself badly. I can spend short periods of time caring for myself, but then I get sick of it. It's such an effort, and even harder when I have all these symptoms to deal with, which make doing anything 10x as effortful. Like, I can't stand up in the shower because that's dangerous when you're dizzy, so I have to bath, which takes more time.

    I know that I treat myself exactly as my mother treated me, as a burden, harshly. I understand why I do this, then, but I can't seem to break through it. I understand I need to re-parent myself, but I chose to be child-free for a reason. I wanted a better future after all I have already suffered. Yet here I am, disabled, ashamed, and stuck.

    I have been to two therapists (again), who have helped me understand why I might be like this and what I'm doing, but I can't seem to find it within myself to care about myself. And actually, seeing them has made my symptoms worse because I am stuck in a loop of being angry at myself and getting more and more frustrated with myself, ramping up the pain. I feel like I'm about to burst with the rage and pain I'm pouring on myself.

    I still can't feel anger towards anyone else unless I 100% trust them (that's 2 people in my life). I am more in touch with my sadness now, but not the anger.

    I know the answer to all this is self-compassion and self-love, but I feel so overwhelmed and trapped by myself. I feel at a loss to change it. I can't visualise or meditate properly because my head is full of static and I am dizzy when I close my eyes. What will it take to feel compassion for myself or feel my anger towards others??

    Not sure if this is a rant or a cry for help.
  2. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    This self punishment you describe may be stemming from guilt about having rage. There is a core belief lurking that you are a "bad" person and therefore deserves to be put in a prison of your own making. It's a prison constructed of false beliefs. ISTDP therapists are especially good when it comes to this topic but I know that they are not always accessible. Self punishment is often the driver of somatic pain as well as anxiety in general. In order to reach the place of self compassion (which is a more advanced level), your true suffering self needs to be heard and understood. Your body is empathizing with you basically, in the form of symptoms. Certain emotions can be so unbearable that it comes down to how we feel about ourself for having those emotions. Giving yourself permission to have the full range of emotions, and resolving the inner conflict between the hidden emotion about the repressed emotion (guilt about the rage for example), is what sets us free and renders the pain useless. I'll give you a personal example that formed my prison of my own mind. I had unacceptable, intolerable , shameful, feelings about my autistic son. These emotions were so out of alignment with who I wanted to be (or who I thought I was), that I hid them from myself. Deep down I felt like the worst mother in the world and a total monster who deserved to be punished for having certain thoughts and feelings. This kind of repression accumulated over the course of 5 + years and culminated in full blown TMS. I had therapy where I was able to voice those horrific thoughts and realize that it was normal. Just because I thought certain things did not mean I would ever act on them, and they did not make me a bad person! That's when I started to cultivate self compassion. My hope for you is that you start to uncover these falsely held beliefs and you give yourself permission to feel those unfelt emotions. Perhaps a different type of therapist, or a mind body coach, or journaling could give you that place of safety to address these various issues. From there, you will gain a sense of empowerment which ultimately leads to self acceptance and inner peace . Everyone deserves that, including you!
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2022
    Ellen and zclesa like this.
  3. mbo

    mbo Well known member

    Great !!!! Awesome.
    The advices from Miffybunny are always a real priceless gift. She has a deep and total understanding of the human condition.
    TMS victims are VERY good people feared, even panicked, of beeing not so good, even bad persons full of evil ideas and unspeakable intentions.
    Thanks for ever Miffybunny. Blessings!
    zclesa likes this.
  4. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Thanks, @miffybunny

    I did do about 6 months of IDSTP but it's not affordable for me and I was so resistant. I felt anger toward my mother during one session about one incident, but that was it. Most of the time, I just felt either sad, helpless, embarrassed, or anxious, and I ended up unconsciously digging my fingernails into my own arm doing it. It also kicked off my symptoms so badly most of the time that I could barely function at all with life. I've started involuntarily shaking around authority figures now even though I can be having a perfectly lovely conversation with them.

    I think there are all sorts of other feelings blocking the anger; guilt, fear, and shame. This morning, someone rang my doorbell really early and woke me up and the first feeling I felt was fear, like I was in trouble, whereas I guess most people would feel annoyance. It was the postman and the parcel wasn't for me either. I did grumble a bit, but I still didn't "feel" the annoyance.

    Maybe I should try something to change the core faulty belief. I'm definitely not feeling in a place of empowerment right now.

    Thing is, I used to feel angry at my mother (when I was old enough to get away from her). One incident where she punished everyone around us for something I'd supposedly done kicked off my symptoms and all this "self-shutdown" and "self-editing" and it took me 4 years to realise that she was 100% in the wrong about the incident and I hadn't done anything wrong at all. It was actually through writing a real letter to my dad that I realised it. So, maybe some letter-writing and journalling would help as well, if only to look at reframing things correctly.

    I have been resistant to journalling, not because I'm afraid of it, but because it feels so overwhelming. Like, where do I start? I've had a terrible life with many people and things to be angry about. And because I don't feel the feelings, it feels fake doing it. Maybe it would be easier if I felt I was writing to real people to explain things.

    Really this whole thing has meant I have lost so much trust in myself. That is perhaps the biggest tragedy. I used to be a fighter on my own behalf. I did have issues, but always felt strong enough to work on them whatever it took. Now I just feel lost, weak, and confused about what to do.
  5. miffybunny

    miffybunny Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi @zclesa ,

    I think the issue of the inability to trust is the dominant theme and as you point out, trusting yourself and being in you own corner will be essential to move forward. Maybe it's time for you to rewrite the story and in the new one you cast yourself as the heroine and victor. Acknowledge your past traumas but determine to fight against the false beliefs that were internalized. I came across a quote by Goethe recently, "As soon as you learn to trust yourself, you will learn how to live". I think he nailed it lol! The question is, how can you let go enough to start trusting and believing that you deserve good things? The first step may be to clear out all the doubts you have in your life and about yourself. The example you described of being woken by the postman and feeling fear, was a moment you were knocked into trauma which is doubt on steroids. The inability to access your emotions is due to all the doubt (feeling lost and confused are forms of doubt as well). Your work will be to get rid of all those false beliefs and old programs. Then you can change the unfair and inaccurate narrative to one where you give yourself compassion and credit. Give it some thought, as well as ways of obtaining support and connection.
    zclesa likes this.
  6. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    @miffybunny Thank you for your thoughtful response. I have always had huge trust issues with other people (probably why I've only ever found therapy of limited use). But yes, the saddest thing is that I now have them with myself. I feel out of control of what my body is doing. I feel I'm stuck in self-sabotage.

    I've feeling rather drawn to Internal Family Systems (parts work) at the moment, because I am, in effect, fighting myself right now. I am fragmented. I had to talk to a policeman the other day (nothing sinister), and I was chatting away and joking with him in a friendly way. Then my legs started shaking and turning to jelly at the same time. That is another part of me, disconnected from my happy-go-lucky self that was talking.

    I actually feel like a different person than I did before the symptoms started. Like that whole incident broke me and sent some of me back to a child state, helpless, hopeless, super well-behaved, self-sacrificing, and scared. I have had times when my "fighting spirit" emerges, but then I get discouraged or have stuff in life to deal with that pushes me back down.

    I think I just need to focus on one thing rather than looking at all the different TMS work and feeling overwhelmed. So, a good starting point would be to write out what my limiting beliefs are - and which part of me they belong to. And I think I'll also write out all my positive beliefs, strengths, achievements, and things I'm grateful for to give me some encouragement.

    Thanks for your encouragement. It means a lot.
    miffybunny likes this.
  7. Cactusflower

    Cactusflower Beloved Grand Eagle

    Emotionally, I went through something so similar to what you are experiencing.
    I also used ISDPT for about 6 months and it was only about 2 months afterwards that I felt much better.
    I used a few tactics to see if I was feeling but not recognize or accepting I was. Just noticing things like being annoyed, or fearful and I’d give myself an internal hi five. Even just a situation that it might be normal for anyone to feel that way (even if I didn’t) was cause for celebration. I was just trying to teach myself to accept it. Then I moved on to removing any self-analysis “why should I feel this way” because I’d ruminate or worry over actual feeling. This helped lessen judgements around feeling. I’d celebrate doing that, even if I just did it once. Slowly I recognized I was feeling these things but would shut down the feeling in seconds. So I internally encouraged the feeling for more time. It took months. I think the most powerful thing for me was disengaging from others behaviors and emotions and focusing only on my own lack of self judgement and merely noticing and accepting. It’s still a challenge but way way better and most of the extreme anxiety is gone. It’s helped me get to a point that I feel if I need more therapy it would be way easier to move through. It’s much easier to journal now.
    Finding a way to simply begin to notice and accept and loosen the judgement however you can, in the tiniest increments makes it seem less overwhelming.
    zclesa likes this.
  8. zclesa

    zclesa Well known member

    Thank you @Cactusflower Yes, the self-judgement is the killer, isn't it? I like the way you said about "noticing" and "encouraging". This seems much better to me than "forcing", which is how I've run my entire life already ;) Pushing through, rushing about, doing too much.

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