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An overwhelming sense of not belonging

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This topic contains 25 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Zeeza 3 months ago.

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  • #340160

    Alianna McSherry
    Participant

    I remember having this feeling as young as eight years old.  It’s a constant, heavy feeling that I just shouldn’t be here, in this world or this society.  It’s not a feeling of superiority as much as sadness that I can’t ever be truly close to anyone, or have a complete and pure understanding of another and them with me.  I don’t share a lot of people’s interests, I’m too sensitive to a lot of the terrible things I see happening in the world.  And while I understand why people choose to focus on themselves, I don’t…want to.

    I want to remain empathetic and I want to be open to helping people where I can.  When I’m given the advice to stop worrying about others it makes me incredibly sad.  I feel the reason the world experiences so much suffering is because of this thought process – that nobody helps me so why should I help them.  Lacking empathy seems to be contagious in this way, like there’s a virus that eats up the ability to care for and respect a stranger.  A stranger is still a living, thinking being, though, and hurting them won’t benefit anyone at the end of the day.

    Do any of you experience these feelings?  How do you deal with them?

    #340166

    Zeeza
    Participant

    Dear Alianna,

    I find that the more empathetic I am with myself it feels like I can be more empathetic and compassionate with others. I don’t know if this is relatable?

    I often have felt like I don’t belong and wished so badly I could be invisible. Shame, the feeling of not belonging, grows in silence and dies with empathy. (This is from Brene Browns Ted talk about The Power of Vulnerability and Listening to Shame).

    I have often find myself so worried about relatives or people and when I am told that I need to stop worrying it is like hearing I need to stop caring. But truly I can still care and remove some of the worry by remembering hope. Trusting that it will be okay even if it is not okay right now.

    I may not have all the answers as I am still learning myself, and there are a lot of awesome people in these forums that have helpful insights. I hope you find the peace and healing you are looking for 🙂

    Best,

    Zeeza

    #340168

    Alianna McSherry
    Participant

    Thank you.  I really want to believe there’s hope but the history of humanity is a very scarred one, when change comes it indeed comes very slowly.

    What I need to learn I suppose is to have that hope.  I’m just wary of being let down time and time again.

    #340174

    Zeeza
    Participant

    Dear Alianna,

    I guess what I mean by hope is connecting to moments of kindness that exist and will exist again. Like the love from animals, or thinking of the people who are real heroes in the world. Like Veterinarians and firefighters. I have had times where I had hope and it wasn’t useful. Like hoping that someone will stop hurting me, instead I needed to protect myself. So I am still learning as well and I may not have the best answers.

    But it gives me hope to know that people who do care and want to help exists.

    Best,

    Zeeza

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  Zeeza.
    #340180

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Alianna McSherry:

    I agree with you: “the history of humanity as a very scarred one”, as far as empathy for each other.

    “Lacking empathy seems to be contagious in this way, like there’s a virus that eats up the ability to care for and respect a stranger. A stranger is still a living, thinking being, though, and hurting them won’t benefit anyone at the end of the day”- how originally and intriguingly  stated. (Using the analogy of a virus makes me think of course, of the current Corona virus scare in our world).

    Lacking empathy starts in homes, not in the streets. It starts when parents don’t have empathy for their own children. Almost always, parents do feed their children, shelter them, keeping them alive, but so very often, parents are otherwise cruel to their own children. They are able to be cruel to their children because they lack empathy for their own children.

    Reads to me that you didn’t experience empathy expressed by your parents toward you (?)

    anita

    #340206

    Alianna McSherry
    Participant

    Yes, I’ve thought before that may be why I feel the way I do.  About not belonging, and wanting to be better.  It’s very often one or the other, as you stated.
    But, as Zeeza mentioned, it helps greatly knowing there are kind and thoughtful people in the world.  The trouble lies in seeing those individuals through the cruelty, as it is what draws the most attention.  I wonder, as well, if that pull manifests in increased negativity.  There’s only so much an individual can hold before they cave and fall.

    Part of me fears that eventuality in myself.  I don’t want to hurt others.

    #340218

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Alianna McSherry:

    “There’s only so much an individual can hold before they cave and fall. Part of me fears that eventually in myself. I don’t want to hurt others”-

    – please tell me: what is it that you are holding?

    I don’t want you to cave and fall. If you share with me (and with Zeeza) what it is that you are holding, maybe, just maybe I can help you a little bit.

    (I will soon be away from the computer for about 12 hours).

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 months ago by  anita.
    #340234

    Alianna McSherry
    Participant

    Well, it’s more of a hereditary problem.  My mother in particular struggles with her mental health, and when she’s depressed or stressed she’ll become rather volatile.  I’ve seen it in myself – not to the same extent but it’s there – and fear it will become worse.  I have difficulty releasing my emotions, I don’t know how to do so in a way that works for me, and become overwhelmed by small things.

    Although I don’t have an aggressive attitude, when those emotions fester I isolate and overthink, which only drags me further into the pit.  It becomes far more difficult to talk to people – even those I’m closest with – and occasionally leads to unhealthy coping strategies.  Any anger or frustration I do feel is pointed toward myself or toward something which I feel needs change, despite knowing that anger is not the way to positive change.

    #340284

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Alianna McSherry:

    I want to respond to the topic of hereditary- genetics and behavior- mental health that you brought up here: “it’s more of a hereditary problem. My mother in particular struggles with her mental health, and when she’s depressed or stressed she’ll become rather volatile. I’ve seen it in myself- not to the same extent but it’s there- and fear it will become worse”-

    – all humans have genes that make volatile behavior  possible (all our behaviors, as well as other observable traits, aka phenotypes,  are made possible by genes), but it is not true that there is a Volatile Gene, so it is not true that your mother inherited a volatile-gene from her mother/ father and you in turn inherited that gene from her.

    Wikipedia’s entry on Epigenetics (the study of how our environment caused chemical changes in our genes, leading to changes in the activity and expression of genes), states that two scientists in Montreal, in 2004 “discovered that the type and amount of nurturing a mother rat provides in the early weeks of the rat’s infancy determines how the rat responds to stress later in life…Rat pups that receive a less nurturing upbringing are more sensitive to stress throughout their life-span.”

    So you see, it is environmental factors such as the amount of nurturing by a mother that determines how stressed a rat is for life. Same for humans.

    These two scientists discovered that “Nurturing behaviors from the mother rat were found to stimulate activation of stress signaling pathways that remove methyl groups from DNA.. The glucocorticoid gene is activated resulting in lowered stress response”-

    – this means that we are not born with a set of genes that don’t change from the time we are formed (that first cell, the zygote) to the time we die. Our genes change during our lifetime starting before we are even born. As young children, our genes change according to our environment. In other words, how our mothers treat us changes (some of) our genes.

    Wiki’s entry continues: “In humans, a small clinical research study showed the relationship between prenatal exposure to maternal mood and genetic expression resulting in increased reactivity to stress in offspring… Prenatal exposure to depressed/ anxious mood was associated with increased DNA methylation at the glucocorticoid receptor gene”-

    – prenatall means before birth; this means that a woman’s depression/ anxiety while pregnant changes the genes of the baby before it is born.  (“DNA methylation” is a chemical change in a gene where a methyl, that is, a carbon atom connected to three hydrogen atoms, CH3, is added to the DNA material of a gene, and as a result, the expression of the methylated gene is repressed, or turned off).

    Dr. Bill Sullivan, a professor of pharmacology and microbiology in Indiana University School of Medicine, where he studies infectious disease and genetics,  published a recent article, Sept 1, 2019, in the-scientist. com where he states: “Increasing evidence suggests that our environment also affects the expressed genome through epigenetics, by chemically altering DNA itself or the proteins associated with it. Genetic analysis of children who suffered abuse and later became suicidal, for example, showed increased DNA methylation at their glucocorticoid receptor gene, which compromises the ability to manage stress. Epigenetics demonstrates that nature and nurture are two sides of the same coin. The phenotypes arising from our genes are highly contextual, and the ‘you’ that exists today might have been very different had you been conceived or raised in a different environment”-

    – this means that our phenotypes, that many of our observable traits such as behavior, are highly contextual, that is, our behavior depends on the context of our environment. You (and I) could have been calm people, low stress people, if we were brought up with calm mother who nurtured us adequately and positively.

    He continues in his article: “By understanding how genes.. function.. we will be in a better position to develop new approaches to treat undesirable behaviors”-

    – a part of a new apporoach in the matter is for you to realize that as far as your stress level and behavior you are not doomed to continue to be as stressed as you are now for the rest of your life, and there is no scientific or medical reason why your mental health should get worse.

    There are some phenotypes, or observable traits, that we are ..doomed to have, such as eye color. If both of your parents have blue eyes, you will definitely have blue eyes. The gene for blue eyes does not change much, I suppose, so two blue eyed parents produce a blue eyed baby. But the many, many genes that contribute to our behaviors don’t work so simply and clearly.

    Unlike the trait of eye color, most behaviors are determined not by one gene, but by many genes, and many of those genes change according to the environment, and our mothers is our environment during the first nine months of life when we live in her, and in the following years when she is our primary care taker.

    Unlike a rat pups born to a stressed mother rat who doesn’t nurture them much, we humans born to mentally ill mothers who don’t nurture us adequately and positively, we are not doomed to live the rest of our lives being as stressed as her and as mentally ill as her. We can choose (something a rat cannot do) to take on the healing path, to engage in a healing process so to lower and lower our stress level and live a more functional, satisfying life.

    I started on my healing path nine years ago and still going.

    anita

     

    #340370

    Zeeza
    Participant

    Dear Alianna,

    Anita is one individual who has helped me see that there are kind and thoughtful people in the world (Thank you Anita). And to me it sounds like you also care and help people because of how you view empathy 🙂

    “The trouble lies in seeing those individuals through the cruelty, as it is what draws the most attention.  I wonder, as well, if that pull manifests in increased negativity.  There’s only so much an individual can hold before they cave and fall.”

    Healing the past and protecting ourselves from cruelty by tapping into our core beliefs about ourselves. By addressing times in the past that have made us feel less than and shine a new light on this. And removing people from our lives that treat us as less than.

    I like to think that if I can be the change I want to see in the world, maybe it can ripple effect. Such as when I smile at a stranger and they smile back. When I try to welcome the new person at work. Or help hold the door open. Or ask how a person’s day is who works at a restaurant and genuinely listen. I know these are very small things but sometimes small things help. All humans have the need to be seen and heard.

    I often feel angry at myself with trying to learn how to cope with my brightly intense emotions. However I find that the harder I am on myself the harder it is to process the emotion. Sometimes we have emotions to our emotions and thoughts on our thoughts and getting out of a negative thought cycle can be difficult I truly feel that.

    When I breathe and try my very best to feel the feeling physically in my body to become aware of each breath I can focus to breathe more deeply and slowly. Trying my best to be patient as I can returning to my breath, as if I was being patient with a crying child. I know that might be a weird example but it helps me feel kindness even when I think I don’t deserve it. Because the connection and compassion we have with ourselves helps grow our connections with others and our ability to cope/hope. I reckon that if I can motivate myself to be kind to myself so I can be kinder to others is a lot easier for me to emotionally wrap my head around. I don’t know if this is relatable to your situation and I don’t want to make any assumptions.

    Anger in small doses can help arise the Hero in us, to stand up and say no this is not okay. Emotions serve a function to communicate, validate how our internal experience is, or to make a change. Anita once told me to try to make good friends with a really hard emotion I was dealing with.

    DBT therapy focuses on balancing our emotional mind with our rational mind. Where these to realms overlap is called Wise mind. There are resources and skills/tools that help us learn how to strengthen our wise mind. Progress isn’t always linear sometimes we go backwards to go forwards but the skills and wisdom we learn will be there there for us.

    May I ask you what is your favorite animal? Do you enjoy nature? I hope you can be surrounded by what you love.

     

    #340466

    Alianna McSherry
    Participant

    I suppose by hereditary I meant more of the pattern that runs in my family, in both sides as far I’ve seen.  Two of my three siblings show similar behaviour, whereas my other brother and I tend to isolate when we’re not sure how to manage our emotions.  Subconsciously I know it’s not the best way to manage my emotions and stress but I prefer it over taking it out on others.  Have you ever had a similar problem, difficulty communicating your thoughts and feelings?  Even when you want to?

    #340470

    Alianna McSherry
    Participant

    I like to think I have a level of respect for all creatures, even if they’re not exactly one I want near me.  I do enjoy nature and try to get out, but am in a point in my life where finding time to enjoy myself is sparse, to say the least.

    I’ve had many options put forth for me, but I can’t seem to stick with anything.  I’m not sure if it’s impatience or I just don’t have faith in anything working.  Either way, it’s definitely something I need to work on.

    #340476

    anita
    Participant

    * Thank you Zeeza!

    Dear Alianna McSherry:

    You asked: “Have you ever had a similar problem, difficulty communicating your thoughts and feelings? Even when you want to?”

    My answer: I sure did have difficulties communicating my feelings-  most of the time I didn’t know what it was that I was feeling, what words to use. I was stuck in misery, trapped in endless misery and distress, alone and lonely, not having the words to say or the people to say words to.

    Is that how it is for you?

    anita

     

    #340538

    Alianna McSherry
    Participant

    I’ve made some progress but it is still difficult for me.   I had a line of thinking in which communicating in that way was victimizing myself, I didn’t want to play the pity party in a sense.  Quite often I find myself regressing back to that thought process.

    #340548

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Alianna McSherry:

    “I had a line of thinking in which communicating in that way was victimizing myself”-

    – I am not sure that I know what you mean, but if you mean that you didn’t want to sound to others as if you are blaming your parents, presenting yourself as a victim of your parents, you are welcome here to express that victimization. I was a victim myself, and I was made to feel guilty of expressing that anything wrong was done to me.

    Because of my guilty experience when I talked about what my mother did wrong to me, I encourage you to talk here, on your thread, about what your parents/ family members did wrong to you. I will definitely not make you feel guilty for doing so.

    anita

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