I wish I wasn't so, well, me -

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Nov 11, 2011.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I know many of you know that I am quite "sensitive"....LOL. Actually I hate the word sensitive because it conveys being overly emotional about things that are not valid. However, I have accepted the reality that I am more sensitive than the average bear but I prefer to call it overly intuitive.

    I see things in a person or relationship for exactly as they are. I can see through all of the human BS almost instantly, and I can see their heart. I guess I always hated this trait about me until it started manifested in other ways, like knowing when someone had died, before it had been told to me. Or knowing what was going to happen before it did. Then I realized that evidently I am tapped into the world differently. I feel things that others can't - and that is not something to be hated - but valued.

    However, the problem with this is that I can see when things are wrong with others - even if they don't see it themselves. While that normally doesn't present as too much of a problem in an acquaintance, it really presents a huge problem when it is family. I won't go into H., because all of you have heard that story at nauseam. Suffice to say I *knew* things about how she died, and no one listened. It was, well, devastating.

    So, all of that intro to say that I don't know what to do with my relationship with my Mom. I can see and feel that she is very upset, and mentally disturbed about my Dad passing - but rather than her actually saying that - her grief comes out in these critical statements about me, Matt, others. In addition she is very withdrawn, removed emotionally from Matt and I. On the flip side, she is very involved with non profits, her other friends, and projects - things that do not require emotions.

    Someone on this board once told me I should be more patient with those that grieve, and it really struck me. Perhaps I should be. So I have tried to be calm, and ignore most of the things that she has done or said. However, now it is affecting everything. I have said a couple of things to her, and she ignored me. I probably should also ignore her comments and mental state, but I am having a VERY hard time with this. I feel like I am losing her, and I feel compelled to "fix" our relationship so that I don't lose anyone else.

    I mean, evidently, it is really, really bothering me - but not her. So I am not sure why I can't just ignore her distance and critical nature. I guess, because it was not like this until my dad died. Before that we were pretty close - not crazy close - but close enough. I hate that it has changed, and no one is doing anything about it. And it hurts my feelings that she is allowing us to become more and more distant without addressing it.

    I can certainly talk to her about it - but she always comes back with pat responses. Like, oh I am sorry, I will try to do that differently - rather than being able to openly talk to me about what is really bothering her. I have tried to ask her about missing Dad, but she doesn't really want to talk. She seems to just tell me what I want to hear - rather than there being any meaningful conversation.

    I don't know if any of this even makes sense. I guess I just wanted feedback if you have some. I feel like the lone seagull on the lifeboat (have no idea where that analogy came from - but that is what I feel like - haha).
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I like that phrase.
    Its not a negative - its neutral.
    What matters is what you do with it.

    husband is like that, as in over-the-top. I have some of it, too.
    (poor kids!)
    Trouble is... it REALLY gets in the way of relationships.
    Because the rest of the world doesn't even see the issue... its not that they are ignoring it, most of the time... its that they really don't even clue in yet.
    And we're whacking our heads because we see not only the problem, but where its going next and what the trend is and...and...and...

    Second trouble is... I'm stuck with the same problems, and haven't found a good answer yet.
    But I understand the frustration!
  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Insane - you NAILED it. Thank you!!! Thank you for understanding!!!

    "And we're whacking our heads because we see not only the problem, but where its going next and what the trend is and...and...and.

    Yep, that is me!! And I DO see all of that stuff, and its real, and will happen - yet most of us are not supposed to see all of it - or we would go insane!!!! Which I do!
  4. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Which is why WE are going insane...
    I'm having to learn this "detachment" thing from the PE forum... in dealing with parents and in-laws and siblings who are ALL on that path.

    On the flip side... difficult child might not even be alive today, if husband wasn't so extremely perceptive that way.

    I'm glad its not just my little family, too.
    This means there are others like us "out there"... we must be here for a reason?
  5. keista

    keista New Member

    Steely, how about rephrasing your post as a letter to your mom? That way she can privately sit and digest it and maybe write back if speaking is too difficult.

    Leave out the intuitive stuff, and just focus on "I feel..." statements.
  6. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    This I firmly believe! I KNOW that my intuition kept difficult child out of some bad situations. OTH, I also know when my intuition made things worse. I was too hyperfocused, and too proactive - so much so - I made the dreaded outcome happen. It is truly a double edged sword.
  7. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator


    Just a question... do you look like your father or have any mannerisms in common? Does Matt? It ***could*** be painful for her to interact with you if that's the case.

    My other thought is that she has suffered two huge losses in a relatively small amount of time (as have you). Is it possible that she's afraid of losing you & Matt too so she's pushing away? Or, spending time with you brings her grief front & center and she just can't deal with it yet.

    I know that none of these scenarios help you feel closure, but it may help you understand what's in your mother's heart.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks tm....yes I actually do have more mannerisms from my dad, and so does matt. Good point. I have no doubt she loves me, it is just the connecting part that I want to forge through.
  9. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Steely, don't assume that only you see the world in such a perceptive way. Nobody is that special. However, you are probably more honest with yourself about what you observe compared to your mother, for example, who right now is undoubtedly locked into her grief. True, deep perception comes when you can really see how the world looks through another person's eyes. You know you have nailed this when your can predict what the person will do or say, and they do it. Until then - listen more and don't assume you have got it right. You may only think you have.

    Also, just because someone is family does not mean they will always get along with you. Sometimes it's the reverse. We tend to take family more for granted, we tend to be more complacent with them. And as a result, we hurt family more readily than we often realise.

    If you focus in on yourself and your own observations about what you see then you risk losing the real information the world is giving you.

    Telling yourself you are perceptive, then announcing (even to yourself) your own analysis of a situation and privately declaring it to be correct, is self-fulfilling and not necessarily as accurate as you think. "I'm getting a negative vibe from her; she must really dislike me. I wish she liked me more, but if she is going to be so hateful then I won't talk to her." Self-fulfilling. An alternative option is, "I'm feeling that this person is not very forthcoming right now. I'll see what I can do to draw her out, if I can. Maybe she just needs someone to listen to her."
    So just observe. Privately consider. But don't add any more layers of complication to it, don't consider your considerations because down that path lies confusion and too much introspection to be healthy for anyone. If you go round through ever decreasing concentric circles you can end up disappearing up your own fundamental orifice!

  10. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    OH Marg - I must have sounded so pompous for you to say this!!! I am SO sorry. Believe me, I do not in any way think that I am so "special". In fact perhaps what you picked up on was me trying to defend myself for being picked on all of my life for being "too sensitive".

    It is not like I walk around and think I am The Medium or something - or that every single thing I say should be revered. Good grief NO! And again I truly apologize to anyone who might have felt that from my post.

    I was told my whole childhood that I was a "mess", "too sensitive", and that what I feel or saw meant nothing. I have just worked hard on being true to myself, and realize that what I see or feel is real.

    I know my mom is grieving. I want to be able to talk to her, and she isn't in that place. That makes me sad. Period. I want to be closer to her. Period. That is all I was trying to say. When I am around her, I want more of a relationship - and it is constantly itching at my soul that *we* are not having the same relationship we used to.

    Anyway - never mind. I should not have posted this, because now I feel really 'sensitive" again. My gosh - I just feel so far from the way you wrote about me - it stings. I wish I *did* feel that confident - lol.
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Steely -

    I think part of the challenge... is the "things" vs. "feelings"... I see events unfolding, and usually pretty close... but I cannot tell what another person is thinking or feeling. I've had to learn the difference. Choices X and Y usually lead to Z with complications. Ignoring me... may not even have anything to do with me.

    Its finding that balance that is really tough, when its something that involves OUR feelings.

  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Steely, I have found that due to my past therapy, I am able to pick up on red flags and 'cues' about peoples' personalities and agendas much quicker than most and get the pats on the heads a lot when I state 'I think so-and-so is really just trying to do ABC" and others can't see any sign of it so they assume I'm jumping to conclusions. Then, it later becomes apparent to everyone.

    As far as your mom, I wonder if she's 'stuck' in that anger stage of grief. Has she seen a grief counselor of any sort thru this? Would she go if you encouraged her or accompanied her? I can see where she might not be comfortable talking to another close family member about it all. It's good that she is keeping busy helping others and maybe that will help her get thru this. I guess what I'm suggesting is that if she wasn't this way before, I tend to think this is ttemporary, so I'd try hard to just tolerate it.
  13. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Steely, I wasn't having a go at you. It wasn't pomposity I was responding to, just my concern that you were feeling alienated when it seems to me that how you describe your feelings is fairly normal. Just trying to help you see that for just about everyone, we have times when we feel that sensitive about things. It's just that people generally don't like to acknowledge it in other people, we are individually all very selfish, really, and like to think that nobody else can understand how we feel, nobody else has ever felt this bad.

    Someone said today (writers festival) that grieving is a very selfish thing; when someone is really grieving, they are least receptive to other people as a rule. The author speaking did point out that women grieve in different ways as a rule to men; she uses this to demonstrate conflict between characters in challenging situations.

    I think klmno also has a good point - if anyone gets stuck at any stage in the grieving process, it cuts your ability to communicate about it if you are at a different stage.

    Of course feelings are raw - everybody's feelings would be, who have been through the same experiences as you and your mother. But you are grieving slightly different things so it affects you in different ways.

    All I'm trying to say - this is normal. Understandable. And believe it or not, it's okay, because it is healthy. At least you're expressing it.

  14. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I understand Marg - I know your heart is sincere and genuine. I just don't think I was explaining myself too well - I think I sort of mixed up 2 trains of thoughts into one. In mind they connected - but on paper they didn't seem to.

    K - I think you nailed it. She is stuck in the angry phase, and it is coming out in little ways. No she has not sought out any help, which I assumed she wouldn't. She does not like to talk about her feelings. (How are on earth she produced me - I will never know). My counselor suggested just really talking to her, and laying things on the table with her. That it seems like she is perhaps angry about dad dying and it is coming out in these other ways that I see. Or maybe not even bring up my dad to her, but just saying I feel statements to her when she says things that are hurtful.

    I think the reason I mentioned being sensitive is because if I didn't intuitively feel what was going on than this whole thing wouldn't bother me - and how great would that be!!! So sometimes I just wish I did not care or notice if someone else is sad or angry. That is all. Oh well.
  15. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Yeah, I think you are picking up something- whether it's intuition or not, I don't know. The first paragraph of my last post was meant to relay that I think my past therapy led me to be more "in tune" or intuitive in some ways, as I think your interests, personality, experiences, etc, lead you to 'pick up on' certain things, and this probably happens with most people only it will vary depending on those experiences, personalities, and so on. That's my theory anyway. LOL!
  16. Mamaof5

    Mamaof5 Guest

    Sounds like you are a micro expression reader. I don't have much else to add than what has already been added other than a huge big hug and board ju ju your way.
  17. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Steely, I have learned over the course of my life that yes, it is very painful to hurt so much and be so easily hurt by other people. The first 20 years of my life were sheer misery. The next 10 were better but I had to learn to walk away from people who, I realise now, were trying to hurt me for their own reasons. Or people who simply did not care about anyone other than themselves. But along the way there were good people who helped me learn to accept myself as I am, warts, gifts and all.

    And where I am now - I am so very glad I have not lost the 'sensitive' that you describe, even though it was the cause of so much pain for me. I spent some time talking to my young protege yesterday at the writers festival - she is very socially sensitive, wants to help people and feels a higher level of personal responsibility for others than I feel is good for her. She keeps getting hooked in to the nastier members of our species, who are seeing her as weak (she is not) and able to be manipulated (to a certain extent, because of her kind heart). I told her that the lessons she learns now in how to recognise these problem people, and also in learning to say aloud, "That is inappropriate and you have hurt my feelings," will stand her in good stead in years to come.

    I have also realised that being able to feel so intensely has made me a good writer. I got independent accolades for my work yesterday! Yay! So I finally have brought the sensitivity home to where it can really benefit me, at last. There is a reason.

    But what I tried to say before - I had to learn to not take it all so personally, when someone was lashing out. I spent years asking myself what was wrong with me. Why did people hate me? Why were people so mean? Why did nobody hear me when I asked for help? Why, when I needed some support, was I expected to be strong for everyone else and not complain or be needy? I was just a kid...
    It all led to a better understanding of human nature, and it has turned me from a timid, insecure geeky dork to someone who has the courage to speak up when others think it is too dangerous. I no longer worry about other people's opinions of me as a person, if it means I have to let injustice slide. If I know that what I say will have zero impact, I generally shut up. But when bad things happen and nobody else is willing to say, "Stop!" I will. But if the people who hear me do nothing, then I feel I can still walk away knowing that my words have at least been uttered. What people choose to do with what I do or say is entirely their business. But I have to live with myself.

    Which brings me back to - don't let your sensitivity to other people control your actions, if it means you have to go against your own moral standards too hard. People really are selfish (I include myself here) and as I said before, grieving people especially so. That's why I said, "Get over yourself," because I had to learn to get over myself. I was worrying constantly about what other people thought of me when really, they weren't even noticing me. The pain I was feeling was real, but the reasons were coming from inside me mostly, and not from other people imposing their dislike (or other negative emotion) on me. I had enough negative emotions for everybody!

    "Get over yourself" also means "It's okay, it's actually not aimed at you." But please, don't wish way your sensitivity. You need it, we need it in you. What you need more, is to instal your own control knob so you can reduce the gain on your sensitivity as and when you need to. And you need to be able to turn that knob back up again when you need to really, really tune in to someone.

    To shut off your sensitivity risks you shutting off your ability to respond emotionally when you need to. And you might think it goes away, but it actually buries inside and eats away like acid. Trying to shut off your sensitivity is like painting over a rusty piece of iron. The iron has been dipped in salt as well, then you paint over it, but underneath the paint the corrosion is continuing and doing even more damage for not being seen.

    So please, continue to care. Just don't refer it back to yourself. That is where your sensitivity can cut you like a knife.

  18. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Well said Marg - I am glad we have come full circle. :)
    It seems we were saying the same things, just in different ways.
    The key is how to manage the sensitive feelings or intuitions I may feel, and channel them into a useful space. I am 44 - and I am just, finally, able to see that is what I am supposed to do with "this" um "gift".