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I am what I am, but what is that?
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rohvannyn posted:
In a recent post, Dennis said

"Once I decided to be an honest person, I had to honestly look at me. It really scared me. It still does to this day! But I do it because I want to change that person, back to his old self! The self before the drinking started, even before the guilt, and depression! Yes, the one I was when I joined the Army! The good, and honest mid-western kid my father raised me to be!!! I can be him, again, if I am willing to be brutally honest with myself? So far, I believe I am on the right path?! "

That raised some really good questions in my mind. I am in the unique position of having my past bad behaviors come to roost. So many of the things I have done and thought were harmless are a lot more sinister than I had thought. I've developed a habit of behaving badly and blaming it on other people. Nothing like stealing or beating people up, but subtle social manipulation and "white lies" that aren't so white. I put on an innocent face and think I care what other people say, but don't pay enough attention to what they are actually telling me to behave appropriately toward them. I don't really feel like I know what or who I am anymore... at times I want to cry "this isn't me! I'm not really like that!" But if I'm not, why did I behave in those ways? I don't have the best memory, so sometimes I can't even recall exactly what I did or said in any particular situation. This makes it really hard to analyze my actions, and sometimes I wonder if I sabotage my own memory so as to neutralize my ability to own up to my actions and change? Is it a memory problem, or is it yet another way for me to foist off responsibility so I don't have to really do anything?

I am trying to become an honest person and I maintain it fairly well on the outside most of the time. But when I start looking at the ways I have thought in the past, and some of the traps I still fall into, I am filled with so much self hatred that I despair of ever letting go of it. I literally don't know how to let go. I try to forgive people, for example, but then we get in a fight and all the bad things they did come up and it's like they just did them again. Same thing with undesirable things I've done. They say forgiveness can only experienced but I have no idea how to get to that experience.

I may be rambling a bit, and it feels like a risk right now to even say anything about any of it because I have no idea if I'll be understoond. But I know from experience that the people here are generally kind and I appreciate that. My thoughts are so confused right now, I know that the whole idea for me is to manage my responses to events and thus gain some control in my life, but I feel so helpless in so many ways. Trapped, really. I find myself losing faith in humanity, and by extension my own humanity... and here I go, writing a book, and I have no idea if anything was actually communicated other than the fact that I'm a mess. I feel like I am losing the ability to speak from the heart, like I'm disconnected from the person I really am.

Then again, did I ever know who I was in the first place? Sometimes I feel like an empty husk, defined only be my interactions with the outside world, but at the same time frequently rejecting the outside world.
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
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rohvannyn responded:
After writing that, I find my outlook has improved somewhat. I know journaling is a very important thing to do, so it sounds like I need to make more time for it. Perhaps it will help me exercise my mental communication muscles. A private journal will allow me to be totally honest when setting down thoughts -- right now I don't feel like I have anyone in the world I can be totally honest with. Then again, that is probably true for most of us, I'd guess.

Maybe it will even help with this issue I've been having where I will say something, and be positive I said one thing, but be told that I said something completely different. That is quite disturbing. I imagine that if I reconnect with what I am really feeling and thinking, that will probably get better.
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
 
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dfromspencer replied to rohvannyn's response:
Hi Roh,

Well, we certainly are a pair, aren't we? A lot of what you write, I can certainly relate to! The one most important thing you said, and actually answered for yourself was, you forget what you say, and that journaling might help?! Oh, it can and does!!!

I did that, after reading one of Dr. Becker-Phelps's post's. It does help! I write it down immediately, and that way, no matter what time passes, I still have it to re-read. What I have thought of just yesterday is, buying one of those mini recorders, and slip it in my pocket, and any time I have intercourse with someone, I can go back and find out if I said anything, and if I can correct it? Just another way to be brutally honest?

And just this morning, I thought about mentioning my problem to my friends and family, most of which already know, but I could tell them to watch me, and listen to what I say so I can ask them later, or they can tell me on the spot?! Talk about brutally honest, in "real time"? Our minds work in mysterious ways, so yes, you could very well be sabatoging your own mind! It is what I suspect I do, also?! Plus, I do have short term memory loss from my accident. Double whammy, for me!

These are some things you can think about, i'm sure there are others you will come up with, yourself?! Just don't get down on yourself! You know there's a problem, and you acknowledge that. That right there, makes you a stronger person already. Forewarned, is forearmed!!! Nothing will be solved overnight, so take your time. Everyone gets anxious for relief, but realize that won't happen at once, and you won't get it so bad!!! That is what I am telling myself, anyway! LOL!!!

Forgiveness is an experience, ok then, stand in front of your mirror, and forgive yourself! Go ahead, do it! I did, and it worked wonderfully! Admit to yourself that you are human, and as a frail human, you will have some life problems! Then forgive yourself for being human, you are, you know??? Human? You think you screwed things up? Right, let me tell you this, you haven't even scratched the surface!! Me? Oh yea! I am the one who SCREWD EVERYTHING UP!!! I screwed my whole life up, and I screwed other peoples lives up!!! I didn't care, well, that person I became never cared one whit about anyone, or anything!!! The only thing he wanted out of life was, drinking and drugs!!! You really think your life was screwed up? I hope you don't really believe that?! No Roh, your life is not screwed up, you are just a human being, and guess what, we screw up?!!! There is not one person on this planet that has never done something wrong, or just plain stupid, not one!!!

What I am trying to say here is, you can not be so negative, if you want positive results!!! Hey, I just made that up! Sounds like some good advice to me?! We have to change the way we think, first and foremost! Easy to do? NO! Necessary? YES! We have to start thinking of ourselves as worthy of change. We have to think of ourselves as frail beings. We know we make mistakes, it is what we do about them, that is important.

Roh, you have already taken steps to a better you! By writing in a journal, you will always have that to reflect upon. While you are standing in front of that mirror, tell yourself you are sorry for the self loathing, and the self hatred! Tell yourself to strive to be a better you, and you will! Power of persuasion!

Whew, that's enough for one day! Go slow, Roh! You will get there, its a journey we can take together!!! If you start doubting yourself, go back to the mirror! Or, come back here?! LOL!!!

Take care of yourself, Roh My friend!!!!

Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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rohvannyn replied to dfromspencer's response:
Thanks so much, Dennis. I read what you have said, and I'll read it again later. I think the best advice comes from people who have been there and come out the other side, and who still struggle from time to time. What I am coming to terms with right now is that the things I have done, while not realy physically or financially damaging to anyone, are still wrong and still need to be corrected.

I am striving for honesty even though I am really terrified of it, afraid of looking foolish, afraid of hurting myself, afraid of hurting other people, and afraid of being aware of the problem but still powerless to stop it. I have to keep reminding myself that I cannot fix anything without being honest, and if I am not honest with myself then my problems will just get even worse and cause even more pain.

I have to remember to forgive myself, not as a cop out, but so I can move forward. So I will take the first baby step by making a commitment to you and the people on this board.

I will learn how to forgive myself. I will learn how to let go. I have no choice really, the alternative is oblivion. I have made a lot of mistakes, but I can learn to accept them so I can correct them.

I feel a little better...
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
 
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dfromspencer replied to rohvannyn's response:
Hi Roh,


You got the right idea, take baby steps, that is what I HAD to do. The first step, is always the hardest one! You are already past the first step, you know? You reached out for assistance, that is the first step, right? No, actually, I think admitting to yourself that you have a problem, is the real first step?! And you have! So, you are already two steps into your plan!!! See how easy this is? Ok, just kidding on the easy part! Nothing worth having is ever easy, right?


Hey, do not be afraid to look foolish, or anything else! This is for your benefit, not really theirs! Sometimes, honesty can be ugly! It may be hurtful, to you, or the one's you need to be honest with?! Being truthful is always worth it, unless it will destroy someone? There are times we need to be tactful, so keep that in mind.


Roh, I know that deep down inside, you are a very strong person! If not absolutely, then you will get stronger as you go through this journey!!! Will it always be successful? Probably not, but don't let little set backs keep you from winning in the end! There are going to be times when you have to step back and reassess the situation, and then go on. And go on you must! As soon as you let one negative stop you, then you are done. Its when we hit those negatives that we have to fight harder. You are a fighter, Roh! I saw that a long time ago, from just a few of your posts! You will be fine!!!!!


Forgiving ones self is harder than forgiving someone else! When Dr. Becker-Phelps told me I had to forgive my mothers murderer first, I thought "NO WAY", but it was actually easier than forgiving myself! It still took me the better part of a day to realize I was just not to blame. It was not up to me to protect my mother. Even had I been there, chances are, I would not have been RIGHT there, at the right time. That is what helped get me over the hurdle, convincing myself I was not to blame! Those are going to be your exercises, also. You can do this, Roh! Like you said, baby steps. One step at a time! We will get there together, I promise you!!!


It will get easier as you go through the process of forgiving others! Through that same process, you will start to forgive yourself, a lot! Soooo, lets go!!!


What is the next step in your plan?


Take care, my friend!!! Till later, adios!!!


Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
Roh, I can hear what a struggle this is for you. I hope this doesn't sound too Pollyana-ish, but your struggle is a good thing. It means that you are really trying to face and work through your issues. Here's a quote from playwright August Wilson that I find really resonates with me, "Confront the dark parts of yourself, and banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing."
 
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rohvannyn replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
I like that quote. I think I'll save it in my "inspiration file" that I keep to help me out when I'm low. I don't think it's too Pollyanna-ish at all, at the moment I can be encouraged by it. What I'm trying to figure out now is, how I can carry the optimism I feel now into the dark times when I just can't see any options.
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
 
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rohvannyn replied to dfromspencer's response:
I wish I could give you a big ol' hug right now, Dennis. You deserve one. Many times I don't feel like a fighter. I feel like my life is built on a foundation of sand, like I have no conviction, no inner core. Then something happens and I surprise myself... it all comes down to remembering and recognizing my choices. I always have choices. I have to learn to see the opportunities over the obstacles.

It is said that in weight loss no one ever fails, they just give up. It's the same here. The only way to fail is to give up. Thank you for your ideas and for reminding me of these things!
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
 
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dfromspencer replied to rohvannyn's response:
Hi Roh,


Foundation of sand, eh? Slipping, sliding beneath you? And then you surprise yourself, and the foundation firms, a little?


Roh, it is those little things upon which to build a more concrete foundation. Each time you do surprise yourself, think of it as adding some concrete to the sand?! The more concrete you add the firmer your foundation!


You have an awesome core, one I hope you never change?! Certainly yes, you do have convictions, also! You would never push your mother into a fire, would you? NO, of course not! That, is a conviction. A strong belief! You know it would hurt your mother, so you would never do it. We live our lives in our convictions.


Choices, ahhh yesss! We do have free will, so it is our convictions that drive our choices. When you know your choice will hurt someone, do you make that choice? I would hope not, it may hurt me? (Kidding) You see my point? Our convictions drive our choices. However, there are times we have to decide to hurt others, in order to not hurt ourselves. Such as, you know for a fact that if you make a choice knowing it will hurt someone, but will save thousands, do you do it? Of course you would! We all would. Well, that's not true, there was one person in the study that was torn over anyone dying, and he let the masses dye because of his inaction. Convictions Roh, you are full of them, I hope?!!!


Opportunities over obstacles? Well, here you are on your own. You are the only one who can do this. Unless someone was to tell you of opportunities? Then it would be up to you to navigate the obstacles. Sorry, can't help much here!


The only way to fail is to give up? Give up, or not act? What is your conviction on that? That, is what will determine your actions, or inactions! Your strong belief.


You are very strong, Roh, let your convictions guide you! THAT, (My Convictions) are what I lost! Without those convictions, I hurt many people! And many of those people I loved with all my heart! Without convictions, we are as chaff in the wind!!! I have fought a long, hard battle to get those convictions back! Once I get all of them back, I will hold them close to me, with all of my might!!! Just as I am positive that you would/do too!!! Let those be your guide, and you will be fine, I promise!


I would tell you good luck, but you don't need it! You are already strong, you have solid convictions! YOU will be fine, Roh!!! Baby steps, or one day at a time, if you will?! You will get there! It is I who wishes to hug you, maybe some of those convictions will rub off on me?!!!


Take care, Roh, but most of all, go easy on yourself! Stop beating yourself up over nothing! If you really need something to beat on, grab a pillow! Beat it, rip the stuffing out of it, do whatever you have to to ease your mind!!! Let me know when you are done with that pillow, then I will ask you for the hug, cool???


Thank you, Roh, for making me see what it was I had lost! It was my convictions, I never thought of it as that?! Thank you so much!!!


Later, my friend!


Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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dfromspencer replied to dfromspencer's response:
P.S. That should read, (in the choices paragraph) both, he let all of them die because of his inaction. Even the one person he could have saved!


Sorry bout that! I will NEVER let that happen again!


(Yea, riiiiggghhhhht) LOL!!!


Have a great day!!!


D.
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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rohvannyn replied to dfromspencer's response:
You are quite welcome, and I thank you again for your insight. It is helping me reflect.

Convictions... I do not wish to hurt people, I believe that is wrong, but lately I keep doing things that hurt people by accident, and I can't seem to stop even when I am told how I am hurting them. I think it's because of all the anxiety the builds up, making my thoughts foggy and difficult to control, and that in turn is from the fact that it's hard to forgive myself and let things go.

So I have a place to start!
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
I have found that people sometimes find it helpful to write a letter when they are in a positive space to their future struggling self. It's important to be as specific as you can about your optimism. The purpose of the letter is to be a reminder to that future distressed self that what he is going through is only temporary; that you have been in a better place before and can be again.

I hope this helps. And, remember that you can also always come back here for support during those times -- everyone needs that kind of support sometimes.
 
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dfromspencer replied to rohvannyn's response:
Hi Roh,


Dr. Becker-Phelps is exactly right! I have read that somewhere else? A letter to ones future self? It is supposed to bring enlightenment to your situation/struggle? A light at the end of the tunnel sort of thing? I.D. R. it exactly, it has been a while, and my mind isn't what it once was! I hope you try it, and let us know what happens, we can't wait for the sequel, either! Ok, OK, just kidding!


Something else I was trying to remember? Next time you feel yourself starting to get anxious, try to get your mind to focus on relaxation techniques? You know, like breath deeply, and in a measured way, counting to ten on each one? Something like that may help you out? It does me! Yes, I still get anxious meeting strangers, but I will myself to relax, and just go with the flow. It works when taking deep breaths and saying, I'm ok, I can do this, the let out the breath! You might want to say that in your head, and NOT out loud? LOL!!!


Have you tried my mirror method I told you about? It works with me, I hope it works for you? Keep looking your reflection self in the eyes, as you repeat "You are worthy, forgive yourself"!!! "You would forgive me, wouldn't you"??? "I can forgive you, and I do:!!! You are going to have to do this exercise a lot, to let it sink in! Don't give up on yourself!!!


Hey, if I can believe in you, so too can you believe in you!!!


Take care, Roh! Go easy on yourself!!!


Later, my friend!


Dennis
LIVE LONG, LOVE WELL!!!
 
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rohvannyn replied to Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD's response:
Hey, that really is a good idea! A letter from my happier self to my desperate self. I like that.

Sometimes I think about what I would have liked to do differently, if I had to live again. Then I think "what would my future self like to tell me now, so I could improve my future?" The funny thing is, I usually was getting the information I needed to make my life better at the time, but either I wasn't filtering right or I wasn't listening. The trick now, I think, is learning to heed good advice and follow it instead of filing it away for future study and doing nothing.
Roh

'Your focus determines your reality.' --QGJ
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to rohvannyn's response:
If you try writing this letter, please let us know how it works for you. Keep up all your effort and good work -- I'm sure it will pay off.


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