Question: I can feel sad for myself, yet not other people. I was sexually and physically abused as a child by family members yet when people find out they get more upset by it than I do which makes me feel sick in the stomach, then when people try tell me their problems or want emotional support I can’t give it to them I can’t even fake it, when I do try it makes me sick in the stomach and my face hurt, it’s caused me relationship problems and not to have any close friends, what to do?
Answer: Well the big thing going on here is that you simply haven’t felt sad enough about yourself yet. There is a whole lot of trauma that you have to deal with and you CAN absolutely deal with it and when you do you will be an even stronger person than you ever thought you could be in your wildest dreams, but here is one of the big blocks. Instead of giving yourself empathy you are getting tied up with other things, such as your inability to feel empathy towards other people. Yes that is major, but you can get there, but you have to concentrate fully on number 1. There are 2 types of selfishness. The first is seflishness to other people for your own personal gain, it’s very popular and is so popular that it gives selfishness a bad name. The other one, and this is important for you, selfishness for your own good. You see, you haven’t been selfish in the latter way enough yet. It is getting tied in with other people. You can’t be selfish for your own good when you are beating yourself up for not being able to be properly available for others yet. They can all be selfish for their own good, and have surely dabbled in different extremes of being selfish to other people, you have done neither. Even if you think you have, you haven’t.
A) Be selfish for your own good. From now on, as often as you can, when you are alone, I want you to try and be totally self absorbed. Self absorbed is another thing that has a bad name because people use it to negative extremes, like selfishness for your own good, you are ENITITLED to be self absorbed when you have to be self absorbed. These people haven’t had to think about as much as you, you go into their world and the reality is you have a totally different world. If they all went through the same kind of things, they would totally underestand, but out of 10 people there are 9 who have had perfectly normal or very close to normal lives, and there is 1 who has had to deal with a world of problems. The pressure and the wanting is to fit in with people, and you can in time, but not when you haven’t dealt with your problems the right way. They are playing with a full house, and you can’t even know for sure what cards you have in your hand.
This is something you obviously won’t be able to get off of your mind for a while, but try and BE SELFISH. You can’t feel guilty for talking about what really happened to you, you have to talk about it freely. Friends are great, but if they don’t get it, they don’t get it. They should be strong for you, you were the person who went through hell. But you try and open up about your hell and you come away with more stuff, the hindrance this brings on to others, that is distracting you from the real and only important thing that there is: YOU.
There are a lot of unanswered questions in your head. There are probably a lot of questions you know the answer to (you know for example you were sexually and physically abused) but there are too many other things in your head that are buried in your subconscious that cloud everything up. Makes you feel emotionally retarded. It’s because there is too much trauma. The head can’t handle trauma, even little bits. You have a huge array of trauma in your head, and instead of dealing with it the right way you are dealing with it the wrong way – and you can not blame yourself for that for 1 second, being selfish is “bad”, having problems is “inconvenient”, you should “just get over it”. We have the solutions right in front of us our entire lives but we are told that all the answers lay elsewhere, love, happiness, people, job etc. None of those things are going to either help you or make you (or anyone else for that matter, believe it or not) happy, in time they can ADD to happiness, but the first thing that will make you happy and everyone else happy on planet Earth is themselves. But everyone believes that if you get more and more of these things that this stuff will make you happy – not quite. This is why I say BE SELFISH. You can get all of these things, you can show empathy in the future, you can probably show a lot more than the majority (when I say you can recover but be even better than you ever hoped, I mean it), but you can’t give a sh!t about any of that for as long as it takes. You have to care for yourself, you can feel sad for yourself but you haven’t embraced it enough, you are feeling more sad with what you have dealt with and how you can’t relate to others because of it instead of feeling sad for yourself because YOU feel sad.
You have to be 100% dedicated to you. Not “who” you appear to be. Learn to stop caring about how you appear to others, how you interact or don’t interact with others. Just start caring about who YOU are.
This is hard. But I am going to talk about trauma. Because even though there may be 1000s of problems seemingly, try and keep it simple. Everything would have been simple if you did not go through all that abuse. That turned a simple situation into a GIANT OVERBLOWN situation. And you haven’t dealt with that properly yet, because we should “just get over it”. That’s what other people do, and though people claim to feel empathy/sympathy, they have a hard time dealing with things THEY CAN’T RELATE TO. When you go on about your issues, the problem is THAT THEY HURT. They should realize that YOU hurt. But you come away with this on your conscience, guilt, either directly implied or just picked up. Your problems become their problems, and instead of proper empathy, it has the opposite effect, where you have this all on your head making the problems expand even greater. If they had proper empathy, they would be able to have sympathy FOR YOU, even if they hadn’t been in your shoes, that’s what proper empathy is. Instead they feel bad about themselves, and that isn’t proper empathy, that just makes you feel like a piece of crap. So this is an example of how your problems become even greater when you are not dealing with the right people, what has been your problem has now grown into a bunch of other problems that you have caused. It is very simple, but it just grows and grows and grows and you start to feel guilty for having problems. DO NOT FEEL GUILTY FOR ANY OF THIS. YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG. YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG. YOU DID NOT DO ANYTHING WRONG.
Repeat that to yourself as many times as you can. You didn’t do anything wrong, you know that, but you don’t KNOW it. The implication of abuse comes along with the message “you brought this on yourself”, and the lack of apology makes that message grow more substantial. You know you didn’t do anything wrong, but that invalidation of reality (the abuse happening, that the abuse happened) from the people who did these terrible things to you, stays in your subconscious. So you know full well you are the good party, but the invalidation carries the message “am I really?” in your subconscious, so when you open up to others, and they get extremely upset, that thought expands to “what did I do that for?”. Your brain (and everyone elses for that matter) holds all the answers, and it has all the questions too. But importantly, it has all the answers. But the inability to deal with the trauma (and you weren’t to know this, I had to scour information and link things together to see how they’d work, no one helped me, except things that inspired me) just keeps it going on in a cycle.
You can have a great life. That is why I am writing this. But it’s important to know the solutions, find those questions and find those answers. So as I was saying, everything gets blown into a million different directions. The simple fact, and this is THE ONLY THING THAT MATTERS, I’m deadly serious, is that you have trauma. You don’t even have to think about “what is trauma?”. We know trauma is BAD. As soon as you say you have it, you know it is bad. All the other sh!t, it just complicates everything big time, the simple truth and the simple way of looking at things is that you have trauma. “I have trauma”. Say that to yourself, as many times as you think you need to, even more than you think you “should”. You have trauma. That is the simple thing in all of this stuff. The goal is to bring everything from being ALL OVER THE PLACE to KEEPING IT SIMPLE. That’s why relationships with people are difficult, they love to complicate things (it gives the idea of a busy, interesting life), when it should be simple. When you say “I have been abused”, you should get a blanket thrown around you, it should be ALL ABOUT YOU. But you say “I have been abused”, and there are these people feeling incredibly upset and that is on your mind and the simple problem is now exploded into different particles all over the place. That’s why it isn’t good being with certain people, because it’s one thing not “getting it”, it’s another not getting it and feeling like you have been burdened by somebody who has had REAL problems. So your thinking “why did I do this to them?”, and you didn’t do anything to anyone. But people don’t get stuff, they don’t have as much empathy as they think they do and make you think they do, empathy is empathizing with someone by getting into their shoes. You try and talk with people about what you have been through, and they aren’t empathizing with you, they are empathizing with themselves. And that’s f**cking you up, because you think they are empathizing with you and you think you are just hurting them in return. So…. TRAUMA… None of that other sh!t matters, the only thing that matters is trauma. Start saying “I have trauma”. Start saying it until it becomes habitual, you have gone through your life not saying that, you have to say it to yourself, or think it to yourself as often as you can, until YOU KNOW. Remember, you know on some level what the problems are, but you don’t KNOW directly what they are. All of the problems, you can throw them into one bag and label that bag trauma. You will unlock things, get clarity on things in due time