I’ve been doing thought work for over a year and am struggling with motivation and feeling like I am achieving the results I want. I am unemployed, I gained weight, I don’t have the career and amount of money I would like to have. I am unhappy in my relationship. I feel very stuck in moving forward with solutions to these issues.
Why are you not yet believing that you can take responsibility for your choices? What could be the obstacle there?
I think I am afraid of bad things happening as a result of my choices. I have had times when I felt more responsible and empowered. Typically, when I was pretty overloaded with work and school. I did undergrad and grad school back to back while I was a single mom. I worked part-time or full-time all through undergrad. After school, I stayed in a job I disliked for 2.5 years because I felt it was the responsible thing to do.
Now I am choosing to stay on unemployment because I am afraid of being fired or failing at my next job. I also have health insurance that will hopefully cover an expensive procedure that has been recommended for a relatively minor health issue (I think I can still keep the insurance when I get a job, but I still feel anxious about this). I am avoiding taking care of small financial stuff on my plate and learning to be more financially fluent. I want to be more assertive with my career, but I am not backing that up with my actions right now.
If I was being responsible for my choices I would probably stop seeing my boyfriend who keeps breaking up with me and sleeping around. (I feel like I will be too lonely without him during the pandemic, and I do love him but don’t want to tolerate some of his actions.)
I would also do the work to find a good job that pays me really well, even if it means I could fail, have to learn new skills or have to move to a different city. (My teen daughter was struggling with depression and substance issues two years ago. She is 17 and about to graduate high school. She is doing much better, and I don’t want to move until the fall because I want her to have more stability.) I can probably work remotely because I’m a graphic designer.
I don’t really know what my problem is exactly. I’m pissed because things have not worked out as I imagined (I was fired from my last long-term hire after 5 months in early December of 2019). I had a successful contract role June-November 2020. I am afraid of failing. I am tired of working hard and not achieving the results I would like. I’m unhappy with my clothes, my weight, and how I look now that I am 46. I know I still look beautiful. I am sure perfectionism is playing a role.
Thank you for this:
“Something else to consider is, how are you processing your emotions? For example, when you feel miserable, do you drop into your body with love and just be present with those vibrations and allow them to process through or are you in your head with thoughts that are creating more misery? Sometimes we do so much thought work we end up intellectualizing the process and skip the feeling work. This is important because it’s our feelings that drive our actions or inaction. Trying to simply swap the thought is often ineffective when we haven’t trained our brain to first be okay with feeling the feelings. It takes practice, but it can be a game-changer when you feel stuck in thought work.”
Sorry if this is TMI, but I think it is relevant to the question:
I have a lot of negative emotions. I don’t know if it is more than other people. I think I have a tendency to intellectualize and look for answers outside of myself. At one point I stopped doing daily thought downloads because I felt it was reinforcing my negative thinking, though I don’t take them as seriously now. I have been blessed in many ways, but I have also had many opportunities to process strong emotions:
My step-brother (F) died in a car crash in 2003 three days after my daughter was born.
I was divorced in 2008, my ex (D) was abusive to my son and later became a severe alcoholic. I had an experience with a boyfriend who cheated on me that I found difficult to stop feeling about for many years.
I had severe Lyme disease with chronic fatigue for about three years starting in 2007. I was rear-ended in a car crash in 2012 and had constant back pain until 2014 (my pain is now intermittent.) I am extremely grateful that I have recovered from both of these health issues.
My second step-brother (R) died in a bicycling accident in 2014. That same year I moved from Wisconsin and started grad school in Austin, Texas.
My son (G) became extremely ill with Crohn’s disease and had emergency abdominal surgery in January of 2015 when he was 19 years old. My parents took care of G while I completed grad school. I returned 2x to help him during his surgeries and while he recovered in the hospital. Each time he got down to about 85 lbs. from 130 lbs. (he was 5’9″.) G is 25 now and 5’11”. He works out and weighs 160 lbs. He is disabled from his illness and has 10s of thousands of dollars in medication covered each month by his disability insurance. It is very likely he will have to have future abdominal surgeries.
My daughter E did not adjust well to moving back to our hometown after grad school when she was 14. Interacting with her dad (D) who is a severe alcoholic played a role. In 2019, she had a series of crises including cutting, substance issues, and a suicide attempt. That fall E (15) ran away for 7 days and I put her on the missing children list because her friends thought she was trying to leave the state. We found her hiding out in a college house. I switched her school (and friend group) by moving to a nearby town. She went through several therapists and she has found a really good match. She is pretty stable and happy now.
The latest is being unemployed in the pandemic and my boyfriend has been sleeping around during breaks (or not) in our LD 3.5-year relationship. Anyway, it has been a lot. I have done therapy periodically throughout, and I practice thought work, holistic diet, exercise, and yoga.
Thought work has really helped me, but I am periodically overwhelmed by negative emotions. I do have a pattern of creating more misery and have found that thought swapping is not that effective for deeper issues that have more charge. I feel I am becoming more successful in feeling my feelings in my body. I can now drop into my body more easily, but I’m not clear I am doing that with love.
I experience tingling and numbness in my body that I associate with anxiety quite frequently. I have noticed I am holding tension in my body and breathing shallowly when I experience anxiety. I also experience insomnia that is related. (This started around the time I finished grad school and was in a ‘toxic’ job environment where I was fired after 6 weeks.) I have had a lot of success spending less time ‘drowning’ in negative emotions when things get intense by utilizing thought work.
I feel kind of numb or disconnected about my boyfriend sleeping around, where in the past I would have been overcome by misery and despair and spent hours crying. Now it’s like I get down on myself, but not as intensely as before. I have periodic emotional releases where I cry or feel angry, and but that is becoming much less frequent. I am buffering with Netflix, alcohol, and food.
I think it is easy for me to indulge in negative emotions and a possible coping mechanism of ‘freezing’ or ‘nesting’ that helped me get through stressful times in the past. (I healed my back, in part, by staying in bed and resting as much as possible for two years while I was attending grad school.)
I’d be happy for more resources about processing emotions. Thanks for your patience with the long post.