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How to tell if this is just part of being human

Juliet_84
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
I grew up in a fairly strict household with a very difficult to please mother. I would bend over backwards trying to make her happy and it was just never good enough. I grey up as a typically type A personality (still am), I was obsessed with obtaining perfection, be it at sport, school work, whatever I could channel my focus into, and it worked out well for the most part. I’ve also always had a desire to please people and had a tendency to be a workaholic. But then I’ve always had this small part of my personality, this self destructive streak that I have suppressed for the most part just wants to blow it all up. To drive fast, take drugs, sleep with a stranger I meet in the street, quit my job. In my late teens and early 20s I indulged this streak occasionally and it was intoxicating. A few years ago, I found myself single and indulged in it again. I suppose the question that I have is how do I settle down and live a normal life and be fine with suppressing that for the rest of my life? And what is it? Does everyone have this feeling? Is it just part of being human?
7 Replies 7

White_Rose
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Juliet

Thanks for starting this thread. I suspect it will resonate with a number of people. Type A behaviour does tend to follow a well defined path and can be difficult for some people. You seem to have flourished by working hard at whatever you do but I wonder if all you ever wanted was your mother's approval.

There is a difference between approval and love. We do not always approve of the actions of those we love. I felt I was a bit of a burden for my mom and prevented her from caring for my older sister at a time when it was necessary to do that. I was apparently a sickly child who needed much nursing.When my mom died in 1999 I was devastated. Not because of losing her so much as I would never hear her say she loved me. That sadness followed me for years.

It seems to me that when we are confined to a corner by someone else or even ourselves as we continue to please everyone, we build up this resistance to the other person(s) and the lack of acknowledgement of our own needs. After a while it doesn't take much for us to blow up big time.

Maybe this is what is happening with you. I can imagine how intoxicating it could feel to 'go wild'. We are not meant to hold on to our pain, to try and push down the anger and resentment we are experiencing from the past. Hardly surprising that we run amok at times and find a new world of excitement which is filled with wonder, excitement and a delicious feeling of freedom.

the question that I have is how do I settle down and live a normal life and be fine with suppressing that for the rest of my life?

I have been struggling with this question just lately and I'm not sure what helps. I meditate which helps. I go to a weekly exercise class plus the added excitement of at least one medical appointment a week.For me it was an exploration of my disappointments in life, such as my mom seemingly not noticing I was around. In retrospect I do not think this is true. I think she cared about me as much as she cared about my siblings but just did not show it.

Can you take yourself back to your childhood and look at what drove your behaviour? Be kind to your younger self and offer her some comfort. Try to remember any good time you spent with her and concentrate on that occasion in stead of going ahead dragging up old hurts. which have such a bad effect.

I hope you are living in Australian and that the unwelcome memories of so much attendance her list of others,

Mary .

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Juliet, thanks for being brave to open up to us, I know it's not easy.

Sometimes it's hard work trying to our parents/parent in what they expect from us compared to what we can actually accomplish or have any desire to do, especially in a strict upbringing and as Mary says 'it doesn't take much for us to blow up big time', but this could be developing your own personality, whether it's in a way you want or just happen to fall into it.

People are different in how they are able to cope in situations or even reject the suggestions that are put to us where we believe that what's being said is not right or definitely the avenue we don't want to take.

Kids who are brought up in a strict environment may completely go against how they are expected to be, only because they need to find out what's on the other side, whether or not it's right, is not for me to say.

An addict can successfully overcome their choice and live a normal life, it's just that they have to find another way to cope rather than falling back to their addiction with the help of a psychologist.

You achieved the school work as well as sport, this gives you the basics of what you want in life as well as being a workaholic, this will give you a strong foundation to build on, but don't forget that each one of us are entitled to fluctuate how we feel from day to day.

Hope to hear back from you.

Geoff.

Juliet_84
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor
Thank you both for your thoughtful, considered responses and sharing a part of your history. I regretted writing if after I had posted it as I’m so used to just suppressing my thoughts that I didn’t want to give it any oxygen. But when I read the responses I was glad I did as they were really helpful to give me some insight. Like you, WhiteRose, I was also a sickly child, although it seemed to give my mother more focus on me, I think it made me more easily malleable perhaps, but that wasn’t necessarily a blessing. I find that the regular medical appointments are another source of drudgery that I wish to rail against.
it’s funny, because I do all these things, work myself to the bone etc but I get no satisfaction out of it, like I’m doing it for someone else, not even my mother, but some all powerful being who sees everything and I think it will carry some Cavour, I suppose that is the essence of being a people pleaser though, it doesn’t really matter anymore who you are pleasing, it’s not really about them.
whiterose, I really liked your suggestion of revisiting my childhood and being kind to myself, I will do that. And Geoff, I appreciated the contention that even addicts can overcome their obstacles, it made me feel like mine is pretty easy/achievable in comparison. And I like your observation that each of us are entitled to fluctuate from day to day, I tend to be hard on myself that my feelings are not always consistent. Thanks guys 🙂

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Juliet_84

It sounds like you've discovered the rebel in you. A lot of us don't give our self the opportunity to find this person or nature in us as adults. It's definitely intoxicating and invigorating. When you find the things that excite every cell in your body, to the point where they're vibrating high (at a subatomic level), you can feel yourself vibing high with life, one way or another.

I suppose the question is 'How to find balance?' Sounds like your parents kept you very grounded, which is not always a bad thing but when grounding is all we know...there are no highs to be had. When we live the extremes of grounding and highs things can feel out of control. Being aware of the scale, between grounding and high is, I suppose, what keeps us in balance. We come to manage the scale. In managing the scale, you could say that you'd be happy to find a life partner on the condition that they're a high viber with a healthy sense of grounding. You become a perfect match. If you pick someone too grounded, you'll lose your exciting nature and/or come to resent your partner. In other words, they bring you down, mentally, physically and naturally (or spiritually). We don't want to be sacrificing our natural or spiritual excitable fun loving self (the kid in us) because this is depressing.

You could even say that you'll be looking for someone who's invested in a relationship where you regularly look for ways to give each other natural healthy highs. You raise each other to new highs. You grow more into being your natural exciting and excitable selves and you do this through adventure (adding ventures) while responsibly holding down a full time job, if that's your wish. You live and love through a sense of balance. You evolve (love) together. It's not a matter of settling down, it's a matter of being raised through the challenges, excitement and finding balance as you come to know yourself.

Hope this helps 🙂

Juliet_84
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

The rising,

Hahaha, I HAVE found the rebel in me 🤓😈😂 During those times, I found that it was just always nice to finally feel alive, to live life without this weight of constantly caring about everything and what people think etc. and it’s perhaps the most frustrating because I had imprisoned myself in this box to a large degree. Obviously at the start it was the weight of living up to expectations that other people had put on me, but then I took over and did their work for them. It’s very true, I think I was so severely “grounded” that when I would break free, it felt so exhilarating because it was such a departure from “me”, when it was probably some people’s idea of a normal weekend 😂
I love how you describe a relationship where we both foster each other’s natural highs. I suppose the only difficulty with that is that in my experience, people don’t seem too keen to indulge others somewhat more destructive tendencies, which I understand. Because for 99% of the time, I am a type A personality, went to university, have a career in the medical profession, I tend to go for fairly conservative button down types on the similar end of the spectrum as I. But in my experience, they are the LEAST likely to be accepting of any departure from the norm, probably because they grew up with a similar childhood as mine! But I suppose if I feel this way, others must feel this way too.

therising
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Juliet

You're spot on when you say if you feel this way, others must feel this way too. Sometimes the problem is others don't know they feel this way. Will expand on this a bit: You can find a grounded person who says 'I don't know what's wrong with me, I just never feel happy or exited about life'. They may even say 'I feel depressed and numb'. From your experience, you know what their issue may be. They haven't yet found the excitement or happiness they're searching for. So, your challenge becomes about bringing them to life or bringing life to them. You say, for example, 'Okay dude, we're going absailing or skydiving on the weekend'. They say 'No, that's not me', to which you say 'That is absolutely you, just don't know it yet. Trust me. Let me show you'. You go and they finish up by saying 'Oh my god. That was absolutely amazing. I've never felt that excited', to which you say 'It's exciting, partly because you now know who you are. You are someone who loves absailing/skydiving'. They say 'I had no idea. You know me better than I know myself'.

You have the power and ability to change another person's 'normal', just as you changed yours.You could even go on to say 'I am a liberator'. This becomes another facet to your identity. You gotta admit, you're pretty amazing when you think about it.

🙂

Juliet_84
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

The rising,

You’re right, I am pretty amazing when you put it like that - oh you gave me such a laugh, thank you 😊
I see what you mean when you say that others may not know it, depending on the day and what frame of mind I’m in, I might even dismiss or minimize my own feelings, as like I said, it’s only a feeling that I get fairly infrequently, but when I get it, it is very strong. That would be nice to embrace this feeling and channel it into something positive rather than seeing it as something negative that needs to be denied/suppressed.