How much space does your Difficult Child or toxic person rent in your head?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by SomewhereOutThere, Jun 3, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I loved this.

    Today I had a therapy appointment with my new psychologist and she rocks.

    She brought up the idea that people rent space in our minds and the more we think about THEM and don't concentrate on our lives and the hear and now, that is how much space these people rent from our heads and in our lives.

    So how much space is your Difficult Child taking up in your mind? How much of your life does he or she rent? I know that since I first came here fifteen years ago to now it has changed. I'd say my kids rented at least 80% of my life experience, if not more. I had very little life of my own. The renters were talking in my head and even while busy they had my attention. It's down now to about 20%. I'm not talking about how much we have pleasant memories. I'm talking about how much anger, resentment, worry, negative emotions are others renting in our heads?

    How much space is your head being rented out by those you love and worry about?
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  2. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Cousin P--60%
    difficult child--30%
    My life--10%.
    It depends upon difficult child's behavior. Right now, he's relatively steady. After Christmas, he was a human rollercoaster, and I'd put my percentage at 80%.
    But Cousin P is a drama queen, bedridden, and wasting away to nothing in hospice. I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop.
    I was driving difficult child and his girlfriend (now ex girlfriend) somewhere once, and said, "Hey, you can come with me to visit Cousin P!" difficult child yelled, "NO, don't do it, D. You'll never get out of there alive!"
    In all fairness, I am her court appointed guardian, so I have to do all her accounting for the courts, and social services, and taxes, which also eats up my time. Oh, and laundry. difficult child does his own laundry.
  3. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    I had a therapist who pointed this out as well. She charged me with STOPPING the habit of trying to understand and find explanations for all the people around me, and start trying to understand and find explanations for myself. Whenever I started a sentence with "he" she would stop me. SHe made me learn to focus my effort on me. It was almost incomprehensible to me at first, but now I get it.
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  4. JulieAnn

    JulieAnn Member

    I think this is so very relevant to us.
    I've never thought about that in those terms but it's soooo true. Many times it's 100%. Especially lately.
    Instead of being the 'giver' to everyone else, I need to do the same for myself. At least a little bit once in a while.
    Thank you for sharing that SWOT.
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  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Echo, this is amazing. I am working on not trying to figure out why. It's excellent advice because the truth is, we will never know why. None of us will. If the people share, we will get some idea, but sometimes people don't know why themselves.
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  6. blackgnat

    blackgnat Active Member

    Too much space. Working on that...
  7. Tanya M

    Tanya M Living with an attitude of gratitude Staff Member

    Well let's see, there was a time I rented out the whole space plus the garage!! I evicted the Difficult Child from my head.
    I would say to put a number on it my Difficult Child takes up about 3%.
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  8. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    Wow. Just wow. I've been gone for about 7 months bc what I was dealing with with- difficult child was too painful (for me) to even write about. Tonight I was having a pity party (the toxic "I'm a failure as a parent" variety) when suddenly I remembered the ONE site that can pull me up by the bootstraps and knock some common sense into me. THIS is what I needed since about 90% of the space was taken up with difficult child and her nightmare past few months followed now by dream-guy-who-I-fear-will-dump-her-once-she-tells-him-about-her-recent-past. I cannot control this. I didn't cause this. So be gone bad thoughts! Time for ME to rule my brain again! Thanks friends! I'm baasaack.
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  9. in a daze

    in a daze Well-Known Member

    Try again, so nice to see you back!

    Difficult Child takes up WAY too much space in my brain. Although I am slowly starting to detach, in other words his meltdowns make me less and less upset. So I guess the space devoted t o him is starting to shrink.
  10. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was just thinking about a phrase I've heard every now and again, "what you focus on expands." I noticed when I was busy focusing on others, on what is toxic in my life, my daughter, problems, the past, tomorrow, the hurts, whatever it was, that light of concentrated attention kept me stuck in it......

    As it is so often said, focusing on what we're grateful for, isn't positive thinking, it's training the mind to stop it's relentless, perpetual, continual, repetitive, conditioned and habitual thinking.

    I've been practicing focusing on ME and what is working in my life, what is good, what is positive and loving, what feels good...... (and believe me it IS a practice!)........... and it works.
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  11. tryagain

    tryagain Active Member

    So true that what we focus on, expands. I think that the words "worry about" could be substituted for "focus on". Worry is sooo unproductive & I really needed to be jolted.
    I noticed tonight that when I typed in the letters g, then f, then g, automatically they changed to "difficult child". Shows how long it's been, lol.
  12. nlj

    nlj Well-Known Member

    SWOT - my son rents a lot less space in my head than he used to before I joined this site. Back in the dark days he used to spend all day in my head, and most of the night. Now he's only allowed in when he knocks first and asks politely.
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  13. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    This particular psychologist really "gets" me and is more educated than most therapists I've seen. I think she is amazing. The "rent in your head" really resonated with me. There are events, the past, other things and people aside from our children that can rent space in our brains too. Even 20% is too much. Recovering Enabler, as usual your post was like you were speaking to me...I think to all of us who can ruminate over things we can't change.

    I'm going to tell myself, next time the renters take over, that they don't belong in my head and that they don't pay me enough to stay there. I'm going to try to evict them ;)
  14. Echolette

    Echolette Well-Known Member

    There is a Buddhist practice called "watering the seeds". The imagery is that our mind is full of seedlings..some are wild ugly tangled thorny weeds and some are beautiful flowers or nourishing plants. If you water the nasty ugly ones they will grow and crowd out the others. If you water the flowers and nourishing plants, they will flourish and the weeds won't have a chance. Spend time each day thinking about the beautiful things in life, your hopes and aspirations for yourself, the things you enjoy and value. Water THOSE seeds. Let the sorrow and anger and especially the useless attempts at controlling others (these are the weeds) go.
    Good luck! Start today!
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    Last edited: Jun 4, 2015