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Can't commit to life

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This topic contains 20 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  GL 1 month ago.

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  • #320909

    Janine
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I share this with a heavy heart and a great deal of shame, though this has been something that has been around with me for a while now. I can’t figure it out. I have a therapist, but I have not been able to get very far with this in any of our sessions.

    I am a college student (barely, but more on that in a sec), 21 years old, only in my sophomore year, no job, no friends, not really any family. I really have no achievements of any kind, nothing impressive, nothing to put on a resume. Overall, I do nothing and offer nothing. I feel like a complete and utter failure.

    I have the hardest time committing to my classes. I don’t even take “full-time” classes, and I am always falling behind and dropping classes midway through. I have a lot of resistance towards doing my schoolwork. I can barely get an hour or two of work done a day. Most days, I don’t do any class work at all. I waste a lot of my time doing what I have learned to call “self-soothing” behaviors. I online shop, watch YouTube videos, go shopping, take excessively long baths or showers, or I just lay around in bed. My apartment is trash. I have empty boxes, trash, dishes, clothes that all pile up. I only ever deal with it sometimes, when I have no other choice.

    I f*cking hate that I am this way. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have been this way as long as I can remember. I feel like I can’t commit to anything. I can’t even commit to living in my apartment, everything is half-done (half unpacked, half decorated, ect). I know other people my age who have cute apartments, who work, do school full time, and still get out and have a social life. I just don’t want to do any of it, it seems so hard.

    I am worried that I should just kill myself. It’s hard and terrifying to consider that, but I just can’t commit to living fully… so what’s the point?

    I really feel so stuck. I am scared, heartbroken, unsure. What’s wrong with me? Why am I this way?

    #320939

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Janine,

    Where is the money coming from toward your apartment? Do you work? Have a trust fund? Parents (who, you know, are family)?

    Most college kids live in a dorm. I had my first apartment at twenty-three. Even though I was two years older, I, too, trashed the apartment through benign neglect.

    I would recommend living in a dorm (one room!) and/or roommates.

    Also Flylady dot net is a great resource!

    School: College is not for everyone. Maybe you should be one of those people that take one course a semester. You won’t get a degree until you’re thirty-ish, but degrees don’t get you too far anyway unless you’re in the sciences or going into a skilled profession. (Just my opine!!)

    Meanwhile, get a part time job. This will help focus you and get you out of the apartment. (And back into it to channel surf!)

    Volunteer places. Go to church. The gym. Events. If you make one new friend a year as an adult you are doing great! Invite them over so you will have to clean the apartment. Ha! I keep my place “fifteen minutes to company ready”.

    Why kill yourself because of some degree, temporary lack of tribe and messy place? Cultivate the phrase, “Whatever”.

    Good Luck,

    Inky

    #320953

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janine:

    You shared that you are 21, a college student living in your own apartment who is “always falling behind and dropping classes midway”, resist doing schoolwork at home and most day, you don’t do any schoolwork at all. You spend your time instead online and other shopping, watching YouTube videos, taking long baths and showers and lying in bed. Your apartment is disorganized, half packed, half decorated, empty boxes, trash, piled up clothes.

    You wrote that you have “no job, no friends, not really any family… I do nothing and offer nothing… I have been this way as long as I can remember… I really feel so stuck. I am scared, heartbroken, unsure. What’s wrong with me? Why am I this way?”

    My attempt to answer your question: the reason you referred to your online shopping, watching videos,  etc. as “what I learned to call ‘self-soothing’ behaviors” is that you are terribly suffering and really do need to soothe yourself. So you do what gives you relief from that suffering. What is wrong with you is that you are suffering and have been suffering for a long time. I imagine this suffering started in your home of origin, and this is why you stated that you have “not really any family”. You are alone and lonely and for the social animals that we humans are, being alone for so long is depressing.

    About the time you were 19 or 20, in the summer of 2018 (from your previous thread), you were assigned to campus housing with a young man who became your boyfriend, but he didn’t take you on dates, lied constantly, did a lot of drugs, told you about other women he was sexually excited by and went as far as to tell you that he had to imagine other women in order to perform sexually with you, and broke up with you a few times in a few months.

    I suppose you came into this relationship with the core belief that you “offer nothing” and therefore deserve nothing and this man strengthened this core belief in you. This is why you stayed with him, and you tried hard to change this relationship. For a while it improved but clearly, it didn’t improve that much, and maybe it has ended since you posted about it June this year.

    A person cannot possibly be at peace believing she is nothing or offers nothing. This belief brings about suffering and depression.

    You wrote that you’ve been seeing a therapist but didn’t yet benefit from it. I wonder how many times you saw the therapist and what happened there, in therapy. Please do share if you are okay sharing and I will reply to you further.

    anita

     

    #320961

    Janine
    Participant

    hi anita,

    To update you on my previous post: The same boyfriend is still part of my life. We lived together through the summer, but have created some distance now, which is an attempt to help build some security and trust. The sexual issues came to a boiling point, and we’ve really had to work together since then. That’s going ok, he is working on being more vulnerable and intimate. It is true we get along well as friends.

    To answer your question about my therapist: I have been having regular sessions with him for almost 2 years. We meet twice a week now. He is a psychoanalyst, so things usually get psychoanalytical very quickly. I may say “I just can’t seem to get the dishes done” and we will end up talking about a particular teacup that I dislike. Other times we have more pertinent conversations. Overall, I enjoy my conversations with him very much. I have struggled in figuring out how to better direct our sessions together.

    I do not know in what way I am suffering or how I would even address it. I intended to include something in my original post that I will tell you now that may give some insight.

    When I am at my saddest, I usually end up returning to the same thoughts. Those thoughts are usually in the form of wishes, and I am essentially wishing for a family. I am embarrassed of this, but I often wish that some motherly woman would show up and take me home with her. I think about her and I making dinner together. I guess I am tired of being responsible for taking care of myself. This fantasy mother is appealing because I want to be seen and I want someone to rely on. I am afraid I cannot find this, or that I am too old to receive this type of thing.

     

     

    #320965

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janine:

    I appreciate your update. It is better that you and this man be friends and not girlfriend/ boyfriend.

    You wrote that you enjoy your conversations with your therapist of two years. Did you and him ever discuss your fantasy mother vs your mother, the one you did have, or still do?

    anita

     

    #320967

    Janine
    Participant

    anita,

    Yes, my therapist knows of this fantasy and I talk about it sometimes. I am usually crying when I talk about it. He usually says “I can see why you would want that”. I don’t remember if he says anything else.

    #320973

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janine:

    Your fantasy of the fantasy mother vs the real mother is something I would have a lot to say about! I mean, it is very significant, very relevant to your current and ongoing suffering in life. If you want, tell me about this fantasy and then tell me the difference between this fantasy mother and the real one.

    I will be away from the computer for about six hours.

    anita

    #320997

    Janine
    Participant

    hi again anita,

    I have avoided talking about my real mother, and upbringing in general, because I have a lot of confusion there. My parents are fairly well off, and provided me with plenty throughout my childhood. From a young age, I can remember hating my mother. I found her repulsive and often outright rejected her. I am realizing that perhaps this fantasy is not new… As a child, I often wished my parents would divorce and that my dad would re-marry someone else. I do not know what this really says about her, though. This is still about me.

    In my present life, I have a hard time connecting with my mother. A recent example is that I recently reached out to her because I wanted her help to pick out a  new winter coat. I knew that historically we rarely agreed things like this, but I thought I would give it a try. I asked her if I could send her some pictures of coats I like, and she said sure. When I sent them, she did not respond to any of them and only responded with coats she liked. If I tried to bring up the coats I liked, she would just ignore me. The way this worked out is: I ended up picking out a coat I knew she would like so that she would approve, even though I do not really like the coat at all. I realize this seems insignificant, but it is a good example of what confuses me about my mother.

    Before I moved out of the house, we would argue almost every day. We eventually had it set up so that we agreed to rarely cross paths. I would stay in my room or the backyard, and only use the kitchen when I knew she was not around (this was determined mostly by sound, listening to when she left the house or closed the door to her room). Sometimes I even felt afraid to be in the backyard, because I did not want her to see me from the kitchen window. I felt very nervous and uncomfortable to be seen by her. I felt like I could not show any happiness or vulnerability around her. She never explicitly said  or did anything to make me feel this way, but I felt like she did not like me enjoying myself. It was easier to be ashamed and feel bad about myself somehow.

    I do not understand her very much at all. I do not know what she wanted. She would tell me she always wanted a daughter, and that her heart was broken by my cruelty to her. I do not know if I was cruel, but I was definitely not nice to her, nor did I understand how to be nice to her. I tried to talk to her in various conversations to tell her how I felt. I tried to explain that I was being rude because I felt defensive. And she would ask “why do you need to be defensive?” and I would tell her that I felt hurt by her. Her response to this was always something like “I hurt you? You hurt me! You need to stop hurting me.” I think maybe she was incapable of understanding that she could hurt people, I don’t know. I eventually just felt completely hopeless about this, and I still see no possibility for change. I have learned that I cannot keep going back to her.

    My fantasy mother is mature and can allow space for me. I imagine her to be dedicated to me. She unceasingly cares for me and I can rely on her. I am not dependent on her, but she is dependable… if that makes sense. I would not need to feel ashamed to go back to her for help or support, she would just be there without question. There is an unspoken understanding between her and I, she knows me so well that we do not even need to talk to communicate. She is not capable as seeing me as “bad” in any way. She sees the things I want as valid, and is simply supportive of them.

    I mentioned previously that I imagine making dinner with her, this comes up a lot. I also think about going to the grocery store with her and meeting people. When she introduces me, I am seen as good and interesting. Her positive view of me helps me to be in the world.

     

     

     

    #321001

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janine:

    I want to read your recent post when I am focused, which will be tomorrow morning, about 11- 12 hours from now. Feel free to add anything you’d like before I return. Will reply when I am back.

    anita

    #321077

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janine:

    You wrote: “I have avoided talking about my real mother, and upbringing in general, because I have a lot of confusion there…I do not understand her very much at all. I do not know what she wanted.. I think maybe she was incapable of understanding that she could hurt people, I don’t know”- I read only two of your posts regarding your mother and upbringing, and just a bit otherwise in your two threads and I am not confused at all. I will tell you what I understand and believe to be true:

    Your mother wanted you alive, fed, clothed, maybe playing with expensive toys, so she took care of those things. Fast forward at 21, you are indeed alive, dressed and you have things in those boxes, in your apartment, but you suffer and are unable to function well because your mother rejected you (not the other way around). She didn’t see you, didn’t hear you, didn’t understand you and never intended to do any of these things.

    “From a young age, I can remember hating my mother. I found her repulsive and often outright rejected her”- a young child never rejects her mother. In nature, that would be a death sentence for the young. The fawn follows her mother everywhere, never would the fawn choose to stop following the foe, or attack her mother in any way It is innate in our animal nature. This means that it is your mother who hated you, who felt repulsed by you and outright rejected you. When you sent her photos of winter coats, she outright rejected your choices just as she outright rejected you otherwise.

    “Sometimes I even felt afraid to be in the backyard, because I did not want her to see me from the kitchen window. I felt very nervous and uncomfortable to be seen by her”- because you knew that what she saw when she looked at you was someone worthy of rejection and repulsion. It makes any person nervous and uncomfortable to be viewed that way- especially if it is a child being viewed like this by her own mother.

    “I felt like I could not show any happiness… like she did not like me enjoying myself. It was easier to be ashamed and feel bad about myself”- because in real life, she didn’t want you happy, she didn’t want you to enjoy yourself because she was angry at you. When we are angry at someone, we don’t want to see them happy and enjoying themselves. We even imagine hurting them, don’t we?

    “I do not know what she wanted”- too often she wanted to hurt you because she was angry at you. Not because you were worthy of her anger, but because she was an angry woman.

    “She told me.. that her heart was broken by my cruelty to her.. ‘I hurt you? You hurt me! You need to stop hurting me.'”- your mother had a valid anger, someone broke her heart. Maybe her own mother. What she did was to project that valid anger into an innocent child- you!

    This kind of projection is almost business as usual for mothers hurt in their own childhoods, to project their anger into their children. When a person- or any animal- feels anger at another, they naturally intend to hurt the object of their anger.

    “She would tell me she always wanted a daughter”- I believe that. Problem is when she saw you happy, enjoying yourself as a young child, she got very angry because your child-like spontaneity, not worrying about being rejected- that activated her anger that she was not allowed the freedom to just be. So she made sure you don’t have that freedom either.

    “My fantasy mother is mature and can allow space for me”- your mother is immature. Unfortunately it is the kind of maturity that is likely to persist into her old age. Because she is immature, she only has space for herself. She is self centered, like a hurt child.

    “My fantasy mother is… dependable.. I would not need to feel ashamed… She is not capable as seeing me as ‘bad’ in any way… I also think about going to the grocery store with her.. When she introduces me, I am seen as good and interesting”- your real mother made sure you will feel ashamed, just like she was made to feel as a child. She sent you the same message she received as a child, that you are a bad girl, and not interesting enough to get to know.

    It is very painful for a child when her mother turns against her in anger. It is not a good beginning for a life to have. But there is a way to heal from such a devastating experience. It takes time and work, patience and persistence to keep the work when it feels uncomfortable and distressing (pacing yourself, so to not get overwhelmed with this work at any one time).

    If you would like, I will be glad to continue to communicate with you, and in the context of your thread, be that fantasy mother to you best I can. (The condition for such an offer is mutual respect between the two of us, neither one of us turns angrily against the other. Anger needs to be communicated in an honest, contained and respectable manner).

    anita

    #321365

    Janine
    Participant

    Hi again anita,

    I am sorry for the day delay in my response. I appreciate the time and thought you have given this. Though it is hard for me to see it the way you see it right now, I can trust your perspective. I do not know in what ways my mom was hurt (and I don’t know if it would be helpful to know or not), but it makes sense that she must have been hurt in some way and that she is acting unconsciously and projecting. The question for me is of what to do now… What to do with this emptiness my in life and fearfulness about moving about in the world.

    I like your offer for us to continue to communicate. I am interested to get to know you just based on your kindness and dedication that I see in this forum community.

    #321377

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Janine:

    No need to apologize for the day delay. No posting time requirements on my end.

    “The question for me is of what to do now.. What to do with this emptiness my life and fearfulness about moving about in the world”-

    – fill this emptiness slowly, bit by bit, every day. This kind of emptiness cannot be filled in a day and there is no magic involved. You fill it bit by bit, patiently, over a long time.

    It is important for you to examine your current relationships and eliminate or greatly limit all relationships that distress you and drain your energy.

    Because your parents can afford it, and because you need it, better you find  psychotherapy that works for you and I don’t see your current therapy as effective. You wrote that you enjoy your conversations with him, but this is what a friend is supposed to provide for you, not a therapist. For the purpose of healing (which is often distressing and not joyful), you may need a quality therapist, one that addresses what needs to be addressed and work with you  in practical ways.

    Here is the bit I suggest you do today or tomorrow for the purpose of filling the emptiness: plan a daily basic routine for you to follow. Not too much to do, so that you don’t get overwhelmed. It will include wake up  time, a schedule of classes to attend, an hour a day perhaps to unpack those boxes, wash, fold and put away clothes etc., half an hour of exercise maybe, a short guided meditation per day, and so on. Do you want to put together a basic daily routine for yourself and post it here?

    anita

     

    #321517

    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Janine

    I f*cking hate that I am this way. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have been this way as long as I can remember. I feel like I can’t commit to anything…. I am worried that I should just kill myself

    I’ve only read you initial post and I’m sure Anita will address looking into the reasons you might have gotten stuck in acting in ways you do not wish to act.

    In the hero’s journey the idea of death is often a symbol for the desire of transformation, not a physical death but more often then not an ego death. The thought ‘I should just kill myself’ could be the subconscious suggesting that your stuckness may be due to an attachment or your sense of self/ego whose time has past. (Change is often felt by the ego as a physical dying and so its understandable we hang on to what we ‘know’ and fight when the task is to let go.)

    The title of your post, ‘can’t commit to Life’ struck me. Personally, I prefer the word engage with Life then commit. Words matter and for me, engage implies participation with what shows up.

    The reality is that Life happens to us with or without our commitment to it.  That may seem bleak however it isn’t as Life does not demand anything of us, its free. We are loved freely. Life does not give us meaning or purpose, it is we that give life meaning and purpose. We are free to engage as we are, the gift to learn and grow. We are not committed on one path, we get to discover our own.

    What would it feel like to engage with the life that shows up and see where it goes? Don’t get me wrong there is a place for discipline and goals and now may be a time to engage with discipline to get unstuck. Engage with your classes without labeling yourself. Forget try just do, detach your sense of self from your inner dialog and do. What doors might open?

    One step, then the next. That’s how everyone does it, even if you imagine they don’t. One step, then the next…

    #321527

    Janine
    Participant

    anita,

    About my current therapist: He and I both have been feeling that we are nearing either a change or ending. We discussed yesterday the different modes of therapy that he uses depending on the client. It is possible for us to make a change from psychoanalytic therapy to something else that he is also trained in ( he mentioned EMDR, Gestalt, experiential). He shared that he took the psychotherapy route with me because I seemed most receptive to it. The problem here might have been that I have been directionless, and did not really know what I was looking to get from seeing him. I suppose I did not need to share all this, but the point is that the problem may be solved if I became clear on what I wanted from therapy.

    On making a routine: I have made attempts at this recently. A few weeks ago, I set alarms on my phone throughout the day to remind me to do things. I have an alarm to get out of bed,  an alarm to exercise, and a morning and night alarm to clean up. So far I have ignored them all. Maybe sharing it here would make me more accountable.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Janine.
    #321531

    Janine
    Participant

    hi Peter,

    Thanks for your response. I liked the thought of death as a desire for transformation. Changing “commit” to “engage” makes sense to me. I am curious about this:

    The thought ‘I should just kill myself’ could be the subconscious suggesting that your stuckness may be due to an attachment or your sense of self/ego whose time has past.

    And also this:

    What would it feel like to engage with the life that shows up and see where it goes? 

    What does this look like? I think I sort-of understand, but would like to better understand what you mean.

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by  Janine.
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