Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm Not Real

Posted by Anonymous.

I'm not sure how to explain what is happening to me. I don't know who I am. No one else knows me either.

The most recent time I can think of when I was really being myself was probably when I was about 13 years old. Somewhere around the time I entered high school I started fearing judgment by other people so much that I stopped putting myself out there almost completely. I had a few good friends who I was very open with, but when I was around other people I always had my guard up.

Since then I have continued this relationship pattern by letting in only a few people in college and later a few people at work. When I got married and soon after became a stay-at-home mom, my world started closing in on me. We didn't live anywhere near either of our families. I was no longer forced to interact with the same people on a daily basis. I (barely) maintained a couple friendships, but was still so guarded and private that it was difficult to make friends with anyone new. We moved regularly for my husband's job and that made it even harder to make and keep friendships.

In the past few years I have become increasingly aware of how much I keep secret about myself. There is no reason for it, really. I don't feel ashamed about anything in my past. I have worked so hard at it though that I have lost touch with who I really am. I struggle to find my opinions on basic issues and I rarely spend time doing things I really enjoy (besides things I enjoy doing with the kids, which I do genuinely enjoy).

I have three kids and no idea who I am apart from their mom. I have a vague idea of who I could be, but I am afraid to become fully "myself" because I might have to admit I've made some wrong choices along the way and that I need to deal with the consequences. These consequences could also affect my kids and I do not want anything I do to have a bad impact on them.

I am tired of feeling misunderstood. I don't even feel like my husband really knows me all that well. I understand it's my own fault for not being more open, but I don't really know how to begin being more in tune with myself. I feel like a child lost in the woods.


Anonymous said...

First step is admitting you have a problem. If you want to start becoming you, just make it a gradual process. Start with something new here and there to figure it out. You can do it!

St said...

I was there for a while. I went into counseling and then got involved with some great people online. People loos at you funny when you have relationships with people online but these women mean the world to me. Maybe you can find a mammy and me or MOPS type of group? Take a class at the community college? I know it's hard, I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you're feeling so lost. I can sort of relate; but I'm super busy, work full time and have 2 kids and maintain a few close friendships and many non-close friendships. But I still feel lost and lonely and wonder who I am. I try to exercise, journal, foster connections with the people in my lives. Can you talk to a counselor, join a support group, get on an anti-depressant? You need to practice good self-care and love yourself. Take a class in something you really enjoy. Get a part time job if you like. Start finding joy in things. This is coming from me even though I am in a particularly LOW point in my psyche right now unfortunately.

Good luck and be well!

Perfect Girl said...

What an incredibly interesting post.

I do not have any answers, but you are so interesting.

I'm So Glad you really enjoy the activities with your kids. They are lucky for that.

I look forward to coming back here for the comments, as they are already a sensitive conversation.

Anonymous said...

Although I am probably a little more "out there" than you, you have described me as well. I am in counseling and on anti-depressants (not saying that you should be, just that it's one of the things helping me). All I can say is baby steps. You aren't going to figure this out in a day--but you can do 1 small thing each day --even if it's just figuring out what you really think of an issue being discussed on TV.

Sometimes the people around us are very resistant to us changing -and that also makes figuring out who you really are all that much harder.

I guess I just want you to know that you're not alone, and although it's hard, every step you take toward an "authentic" you is the right one. We all make some poor choices along the way -- all you can do is acknowledge the choice, and figure out how to go forward from that point.

By the way, there is no "blame" to be placed. We all grow in different fits and spurts over time.

Anonymous said...

No good advice from me, just wanted you to know that I'm right there with you lost in the woods. Maybe we wre just a few yards away from eachother. I can't see you either... wish I could. I've lost myself too.

I'm sorry. I know how awful it is.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you'll find my suggestion silly, but you could start trying to reconnect to your body, for instance with a yoga class ? It helped me a lot when I was mildly depressed.
It would be good for you to start doing something (sport, music) just for you, and it could also help you to open to others, but without any pressure.

Good luck, I think you're very brave to try to face this issue !

Gwensarah said...

Wow,you put into words how I feel so much of the time. I think there's a lot of us lost in the woods..maybe we need to start sending out beacons.
There is something that you are though, and that's a writer. Do you blog? Maybe you should start even privately. I think you might find yourself in your words.

Jane said...

I love this post. I think we all feel this way sometimes, because I think it's a lot of work to really know yourself. I agree with the people who suggested trying new things - blogging, yoga, writing. Beautiful post.

Anonymous said...

I struggle with this too. Sometimes I just feel like I'm inhabiting a body, floating around and doing things and none of it really connects.

One of the best ways I've had of staying in touch with myself is to keep a journal. I often find out things about myself that I had no awareness of when I sat down to write. And when I feel lost and disconnected, sometimes I'll look back through the years of old writings and feel that sense of continuity, of person-ness, as I've grown and changed.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this post. It is such a relief to know that others feel this way. It is interesting to me that people mention depression...I have been feeling this way for a while and I didn't really think of it as depression, more as an identity crisis (literally!) but maybe that's a clue.
I think we all feel disconnected sometimes, but there's a spectrum. Moving must make it so much more difficult. And it is easy to feel consumed by your kids, no matter how much (and because) you love them.

Stone Fox said...

do you think you could try counseling? there are some places that will let you do telephone counseling if you can't make it into the office. it can be really tough to make time for yourself when you have kids.

i had a discussion with my best friend a while ago about a big decision i was trying to make. i said to her, "i'm scared i'm going to make the wrong decision." her answer, "So What?! so what if you make the wrong decision?? you get up the next day and you keep going, and you make a better decision the next time."

these words, they just stuck inside me. making the wrong decision is not going to ruin your life. every day is another chance, another set of decisions.

hope this gives you something to think about.

rella12 said...

I have another suggestion that may seem silly, but helped me reconnect with myself lately when I was just seeing the mommy side of me... think about what you really enjoyed doing when you "were yourself" back when you were 13. Did you like hiking? art? reading scary stories? listening to or playing music? identify a few of those things and then give yourself permission to do them. I found this suggestion in "The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin and I was surprised by what a difference it made.

Anonymous said...

You are sooooo not the only woman in the world who feels like this. I am 29 and I have two kids who I had when I was 18 and 20. I moved all the way across the country from my family 8 years ago and I am sooooooo disconnected from everyone!! I know EXACTLY what you mean. I feel like there really is nobody but my husband who really knows who I am.