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Taking on other people's problems

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Penny2007, Sep 25, 2017.

  1. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Part of my problem seems to be that I internalize other people's problems too much to the point that it gives me TMS. At the moment I'm going through a rough patch. I just got off the phone with my closest friend. We grew up together and know all about each other's problematic childhoods. I told her everything I was going through and this made me feel a bit better. She then told me she's going through her own stuff and cried as she told me the details.

    Even though I'm having a hard time right now, I feel so bad for her and it's already made my pain, which had calmed a bit, flare up. How do I protect myself from taking on her emotional pain or other people's ?

    I think this tendency has something to do with how I grew up as a parentified child and saw all the adults in my life suffering emotionally.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  2. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    Yes yes yes YES. This is a common theme for a lot of TMS sufferers. I finally realized that I also have difficulty shedding other people's mental pain. People often come up to me to talk about their problems, as if they sense that it is safe for them to share it with me and not with others. I just had a conversation this afternoon with a guy who has the same thing. He calls it being highly sensitive, because you tend to pick on other people's emotions sooner and more frequent than 'normal people'. I have to add that I feel this sensitivity is also positively correlated to your level of TMS. Why that is the case??
    But I am rambling, need to go sadly. Hopefully other people have more wiser things to say about this subject... take care.
    plum, Lily Rose and Penny2007 like this.
  3. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    Yes - we seem to feel other people's emotions but not our own. Hope others respond with their comments.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  4. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    Highly Sensitive and/or Empathetic

    There are many articles written about this state-of-being. It is extremely difficult to live with, but it is absolutely glorious, as well. We see and feel things that most are unaware of. Some even cross into the realm of mirror-touch synesthesia, or other variations of synesthesia (this word means "union of the senses"). For example, I can watch someone getting a massage, and actually feel it on my own body.

    There are many 'exercises' recommended to create a personal shielding around yourself, and very importantly ..... establish very strong boundaries. You can still be available to those in need, but you must not invest your entire being into their needs.

    It is not an easy path we traverse .... but honestly ... if it were easy, what would be the point? One thing is certain ... I am NEVER bored ;)

    .... always with Love and Gratitude ^_^
  5. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    That's quite remarkable how it can work for you, Lily.
    I notice that over the years you slowly learn to stand up for yourself more, create borders to limit the amount of 'giving' and also learn to 'take'. The older you get, the easier it becomes... you two recognize this?

    My question is, are we doing this more often when we don't want to deal with our own rising emotions???
    Lily Rose likes this.
  6. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I was very hesitant to reveal that much information, but I decided it was safe to do so here.

    Learning to 'take' is quite challenging, but it is necessary to keep an energetic balance. The giving/taking doesn't have to be with one person. It may be that you take from one, give to another, and it eventually comes back around.

    I had a heart-stunning confirmation of this last week. Two years ago I pass on an amazing book about the cranial/sacrum rhythm to a healer who reset my dislocated collar bone at the sternum connection (it was visually hideous to see it and turned my stomach for a while). Last week at Market, I was speaking with my booth-mate and we were talking about the healer who helped me. Through this conversation, it came out that this healer had worked on my friend (who I only became friends with in this last year), and literally altered her life with what the healer had learned through this gift I had given her. So this gift I had passed on directly and powerfully affected a friend I had not yet met.

    We are all connected. Everything we do ... it matters.

    You are wise in that you do learn, and you are highly aware. I do not think this is accurate for all people. I have a cousin 6 weeks younger than I am and she is riddled with pain and rage and old grudges that aren't even valid. She is utterly focused on her nearly adult son, and that is all she obsessively lives for. She does not 'see' like you see.

    I'm not clear on your last question. Are you asking of we absorb more when we do not/cannot deal with our own emotions?

    .... always with Love and Gratitude ^_^
    plum and Penny2007 like this.
  7. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    @Lily Rose - I think @Gigalos question is if we take on other people's emotions as a distraction from dealing with our own? I think we do. I sometimes cry copious tears when I hear of other people's suffering but don't act the same about my own suffering. It is often cathartic. If I see a very sad video clip about something bad that happened to someone it feels good to cry. Somehow I feel I've gotten out some of my own stuff through watching their story, though when it's a relative or close friend, their problems sit with me longer and I ruminate on them and it gives me more TMS. I often feel guilty if I have something that they are lacking. For example, my friend told me her son hates her and won't speak to her while I have a good relationship with my sons.
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2017
    plum, Ellen and Gigalos like this.
  8. JoeHealingTms

    JoeHealingTms Peer Supporter

    Can you pm me or share here the name of the book? Thanks.
  9. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    BTW - there's a clip in the film "All the Rage" where he is speaking to his therapist. She points out that he smiles when discussing uncomfortable issues. That is a mechanism for making the listener feel less uncomfortable and displays another way we sometimes care more about the other person then ourselves. It's especially detrimental in a therapist/patient situation since you can't get the help you need like that. I totally relate. I often smile when nervous or uncomfortable and make jokes to lighten things up. That's probably why I seem so together on the outside. I guess it's part of repressing feelings.
    Ellen and Gigalos like this.
  10. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    In case you aren't aware, the movie is available for rent on Vimeo.
  11. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    The Heart of Listening, deluxe edition, parts one and two.


    You are most welcome ^_^

    Ahhh ... I call that 'sympathetic crying'. When watching a movie, if the character starts to cry .... *sigh* And it doesn't matter how many times I watch the same scene from the same movie, sure enough ...!

    Feeling guilty for having something that someone else does not ....... always? Does the delivery of the 'story' from the person affect your reaction? For example, when your friend told you her son hates her, did she comment on your relationship with your sons? If so, how did she comment on it? Sometimes, people unconsciously (or deliberately, depending on who they are) want you to feel badly for them and use a tone of voice and a certain structure of words to invoke your guilty/sympathy.

    It is important to remember that everyone feels emotions at different levels. What is mild to one person can be crippling to another. My Mom thought to 'toughen' me up by getting me used to snarky barbs. I never did toughen up ... I just bled a lot. Her mom did it to her. The difference was that MY sensitivity was of a different level. All my life I heard "oh she is too sensitive, and she needs to toughen up if she is going to survive." Well, I finally got to a point where my silent reply was an internal whisper of "You're too INsensitive, and there is nothing wrong with me."

    It is sort of like the difference between an introvert and extrovert.

    And then .... once you realize that they do not feel the same depth of emotions, it follows that they aren't really intending to hurt you as badly as you might think.

    People also develop speech patterns that work for them. Those who have adopted the permanent "I am a victim" role have structured their words for maximum impact. They may not even realize they have done this. When you really look at other people's patterns of speech and body language, you can learn a lot ... AND learn that most are so caught up on their own drama that you are just collateral damage (and they often won't even notice that).

    Guilt is a black hole. It smothers your Light. If you cannot shine your Light, those around you are affected. Your energy, my energy, everyone's energy ... it cannot be taken back, any more than harsh words can be taken back. Guilt is not just taking on other people's energy/problems ... it is creating an entire new set of problems, usually in the form of emotional and physical agony.

    If you have something I want ... that is my problem. Not yours. That problem doesn't belong to you. This is one of those boundary lessons that we all need to learn :)

    You ARE radiant. It shows through the very structure of your words.

    You are also Loved <3

    .... with Love and Gratitude ^_^
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
  12. Penny2007

    Penny2007 formerly Pain2007

    @Lily Rose - many thanks for your usual thoughtful words.

    I had just finished telling my friend about my current struggles with anxiety and pain. I told her how I hated for my children (they are all young adults) to see me like this because I work so hard to be different then my own dysfunctional mother who suffered numerous "nervous breakdowns" when I was growing up. and this semi-breakdown makes me feel like her (even though intellectually I know I'm not anything like her). I told my friend that my children have actually been very supportive and kind to me which showed that my fears of being viewed in the same way I viewed my mother weren't founded.

    When I asked her what was going on with her, as I knew she was going through stuff too, she said she had the opposite problem and started crying that her sons hate her and won't speak to her. It was then that I felt terrible that I'd sung my own children's praises. When my sister tells me about her family problems (which are significant) I also feel guilty that I have such a great family.

    I think this stems from when my mother whispered in my ear one night, as a young child, that I was her favorite child. I felt horrible when she told me that. I felt very bad for my sister and have always carried that burden and felt guilty that I had more of my mother's love then she did, which isn't saying much as my mother didn't give any of us emotional attention due to her own dysfunction.
    Lily Rose likes this.
  13. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

    You are right about how to interpret my initial question. It is a theme in All The Rage too, where Michael's father (RIP) clearly gives a lot to other people as a psychologist (M.:"My father had so much soul and he always left some of it behind when he helped people.") and avoids dealing with his own issues like the plague.
    I feel it is an insight that can help you further, make you more aware of it so to speak and that enables you to handle your own issues better. I connect me being here often to looking for a possible distraction, so maybe it is a sign that I should 'take' more and 'give' a little less. This discussion certainly helps with reminding me of this and one thing is that I should apply 'I' instead of 'you' more often :) ("notice the smile?" (Dr. Feinblatt to Michael during therapy in All the Rage)
    I love how you connect guilt to it. I shouldn't feel guilty about not helping each and everyone even when they ask me, I shouldn't feel guilty about what other people do, say or experience, I shouldn't feel guilty to be better off than others. I shouldn't but I probably do sometimes, so that's why I need to set healthy borders for myself and remind myself not to run away from and reserve time for my own issues. Helping others makes me feel good, but I shouldn't do it to counter not feeling well myself. An example of this was when I was heart broken about an ended relationship and decided to meet up with a friend who had a similar thing going on. This didn't work out well, the only thing I and he got from it was that sometimes life really sucks. For the rest it was frustrating for both of us, because we were unable to help each other.

    Anyway, lots of food for thought here.

    I sympathize with feeling guilty about being 'her favorite child'. I can only hope that she told your sister the same.
    Lily Rose and Penny2007 like this.
  14. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like what Gigalos suggested ... that your mother said it to your sister, too.
    Parents can make these mistakes, thinking they are doing something good, but instead it backfires terribly. My mother told me she would kill anyone who hurt me. I reasoned that if she killed anyone, she would go to jail and I would lose her. Thus, I never told her anything. The danger was too high. Her intention was to make me feel safe and loved. I'd like to think your mother had a similar motivation.

    This sums it up nicely, but I would change one thing ..... "I do not feel guilty about what other people do, say or experience". Making it an affirmation carries more power. Like flexing a muscle. Sometimes, to entertain myself, I put my body in my Wonder Woman pose and say such words firmly. And I remind myself of my super powers ;) Fists on my hips, legs slightly spread, owning my space, chin up. It also helps when I am wearing my super Faerie powered wire wrapped arm bands! Then I'm reaalllly powerful!

    BE your Power!
    Be Love <3

    .... with Love and Gratitude and Whimsy! ^_^
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 8, 2017
  15. Gigalos

    Gigalos Beloved Grand Eagle

  16. Lily Rose

    Lily Rose Beloved Grand Eagle

    YES!!! Body language is very important. Thank you for sharing this! I rock in my Wonder Woman pose ;)

    ... with Love and Laughter ;)

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