Notes to Self

May 25, 2017

Shoulder tap that anxiety tantrum

Filed under: Healing, Take a deep breath, Them vs. Me, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — me2self @ 4:34 pm

I haven’t been to therapy in perhaps a year. I haven’t written on this blog for a long time as well. I have been busy with daily routine, and busy trying to ignore what makes me miserable.

I am happy to admit that I have made some progress over the past months…catching myself soon after I enter a anxiety tantrum (you know, when you get all upset, angry, frustrated, annoyed and just pissed off miserable and you don’t know why)…. I’ve had fewer of these (or so I think; I really should check with my husband). My therapist once told me that what I needed was someone to tap me on the shoulder and tell me I have headed down this path, so I can stop myself and backup. I tried to get my husband to do this, but 1) that isn’t fair to him and 2) he doesn’t necessarily know when I am on that path. So it is up to me.

It seems that this should be an easy thing to do…when I find myself enraged, annoyed, or have swirling thoughts in my head, I need to stop and backup. But that’s the key…FINDING your self. These anxiety tantrums are like having a blindfold over your sense of self-awareness. You simply lose sight of the bigger picture and get lost in these minute details of things that you think are life altering and/or catastrophic.

Hmmm…self-awareness. Like realizing that the thing you are being anxious about is directly related to the horrible things your mother would say to you on a daily basis (Or the things that you now say to yourself because why stop the negativity after all these years?) and not really a problem in a normal world or frame of mind.

I am certain that most anxiety is all about the tug between feeling that we are not living up to the standards put forth and knowing that these standards that are unreasonable, unattainable, and irrational. We are functioning at the mercy of the lessons we learned as children and/or by our current understanding of what “society” expects of us, and our gut reactions to them. The opposition and confrontation of these two sides happen subconsciously. We, then, need to have a shoulder tap to come to a place of self-awareness, backup out of that situation and stop the two sides from fighting – to stop the anxiety tantrum.

But how?

December 30, 2012

Do as I do, child

I just read possibly the most influential two paragraphs that I will ever read as a parent.

For a few months now (maybe longer), I have been aware of, although trying desperately to ignore, the frustration my daughter sometimes exhibits and how it is so similar to the tantrums I have thrown. I believe that I have already taught her one of the most negative attributes of my personality. I recognize that toddlers get frustrated, and that throwing things or knocking them over is a basic response to frustration. Maybe it is just me imagining the worst (after all, aren’t I responsible for all negativity in my family?), but it has made me aware that this child is already a sponge.

Therapy has really been helping me – the realizations I have made have resulted in far less stress and frustration (which we figured out recently may also be from constant low grade anxiety). But I do still have my moments where the fact that the couch on which my toddler is trying to climb is covered with toys and blankets, (and isn’t it awful how I can’t keep the house organized and clean because I am such a terrible mother and wife) so I am left with no choice but to clean it off in a few sweeps, sending everything to the floor. Do as I do, child.

When my daughter gets frustrated (usually because her fine motor skills are limiting her in her play), I try to talk her through it, keeping my voice low and calm. Sometimes it works, but you can’t expect toddlers not to express their frustration!

The book suggested that parents ask their children, or a family member if the child isn’t old enough, what was the most positive lesson taught by example and what was the most negative. Then, the author suggested parents to look to their own childhood.

Being a full-time working mom, I find that after doing the basic necessities and spending as much time with my daughter and husband as I can (and don’t forget the cat!), I haven’t much time for other things. There are a lot of things I would like to do to help take better care of myself, but I don’t. I think about how it would set a wonderful example for her to see mommy putting her needs ahead of dishes or the like, and also that I feel I am important enough to make sure I do what is needed to be healthy (like exercise and eat well) and look nice (I haven’t had a hair cut in 6 or more months!). But I don’t.

I wonder if I will ever have the motivation (as I was typing that word, motivation, I wondered if it really should have been self-love) to take care of myself and set a good example for my daughter. I do everything I can to show her every moment how much I love her, how proud I am of her and what a wonderful little girl she is. But I just can’t do the same for myself. Do as I do, child.

I think I got this ridiculous “selflessness” from my father. It wasn’t until recently that I realized how absurd his behavior is. He’ll eat the garbage food (whether it is over processed carbs or nearly rotten veges or fruit) because that is good enough for him, he doesn’t mind. Meanwhile he’s obese and can’t walk well. I never had good role models for taking care of myself and as much as I want to be that for my daughter, I just don’t know how.

It is a strange type of self-punishment to not take care of myself. As if I am not worthy. Or it won’t matter because I will always be fat and ugly so why bother. And what’s worse…if I try and fail (not sure what would qualify as failing) then it serves me right for trying to be something that I’m not (this really relates to my wardrobe, hair style and makeup…trying to be more feminine, professional and just overall nicely presented).

So I do the bare minimum and close my eyes around mirrors. I try not to have pictures taken of me but I certainly don’t look at them if I do. I often wonder if it is apparent that I have little respect for myself. I wonder if that’s why I have only a few friends.

Although I started this post a few days ago, it will be the second I posted today. So I can’t help but feel that I am ending up with more “stuck” places than places of resolution and relief.

In weight loss, the saying is that you didn’t gain it overnight so don’t expect it to come off so quickly. I wonder what do they say regarding therapy?

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