Everything is OK - So why does my mind think it's not?

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abyssquick
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22 Mar 2012, 9:50 am

How do I stop my mind from seeing problems where there are none? It's been an issue for me in my new relationship, and it's the only thing which might hurt it. My mind is always thinking, chattering away, nonstop. As long as I keep it occupied somehow - usually through work or a project of some kind, I seem to be OK. But when I'm left by myself, I begin to read into things, analyze, interpret. Sometimes a suspicion or problem builds up, and I make an issue of something, and usually I am wrong, assumed, or have missed something. And then I wonder where it all even came from.

-- I was in a toxic, verbally abusive, vaguely codependent relationship for the last several years, and in it I developed this habit of constant doubt and suspicion - severe trust issues ensued - I suspected that my girlfriend of 10 years was cheating on me (with her, I had bought a house, shared my belongings, my life). It turned out last year that indeed she was cheating on me - and my suspicions were correct. Yet, before I found this out, she had always reassured me that I was being paranoid, unreasonable, that there wan't anything going on - even though she was always texting the same male "friend" or visiting him after work. She even made up this friend "Jessica" who she would visit - when really she was seeing this guy. Using my car. Sometimes she'd come home smelling of cologne, or very late at night. It racked my nerves and my patience when she began to call me a "roommate" and seemed to be backing out of what we'd been doing. She also made a point to drive in the fact that I had little sexual "experience" and insulted me by saying telling me "virgins have trouble letting go" and other such insensitive commentary. The experience there made me quite insecure and shy about everything sexual, where previously I was not. I also developed trust issues, and a habit of analyzing activities and possible intentions. I now ignore my sexual aspects, being either shy of them, or feeling guilty for even having them. And I get irritable sometimes when I experience them.

That was last year, and much has changed since. I moved back to my home state, and I'm in a new relationship. It's incredibly great, I haven't felt this happy or comfortable in a very long time. The only real 'problem' - is me. I've got these old patterns which kind of autopilot their way into this new relationship. And it's really bothering me, because I need to cut it out. There's nothing wrong, but the fact is I'm so accustomed to being paranoid, to feeling crappy, and being used, that at times I don't see the present. I get emotionally clammy around the male friends who communicate with her (some of whom stopped communicating with her entirely since we moved in together) because of my past experience. I've upset my new girlfriend a couple times with expressions of my insecurity, problems which aren't really there, or aren't a "big deal." I often have to stop myself, relax my emotional tension, and tell myself to trust that we love each other- but this is difficult for me, and there is a distance that I cannot yet close. It's not fair to her if I am unable to fully trust her - but it seems to be all I'm capable of doing right now. I love her, but I am guarded.

I wonder if people here have experience with anything similar? Talking to other always seems to help me with this stuff.



Last edited by abyssquick on 22 Mar 2012, 10:42 am, edited 1 time in total.

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22 Mar 2012, 10:17 am

I don't think you can.

I think the things you talked about did cause emotional damage and sound really awful, but you're most likely going to think the way you do no matter what you experience. It will help you feel better to process all of that though, or perhaps seek therapy if you think you need it.

I am a really obsessive thinker and always have been, I also have outward traits of OCD like lining and stacking, visual scanning etc and I think I might be closer to the OCD side of things than the Aspie side but it any case Aspies usually do have traits of OCD.

The "patterns" you talk about thinking in are an inherent part of an autistic or autistic like brain. For me most of the time I'm not obsessing about emotional things but I have the ability to obsess over anything honestly, I do counting in my head sometimes and I don't really know what it accomplishes but it's just natural for me, have to repeat things in my mind, generally like repeating things but it does get stressful.

You might try meds, some of the SSRIs can help with obsessive behavior but some can make it worse. If you decide that route is not for you you can consider the benefits, it's the reason I'm always the one who picks up on the details most of the people in my class miss and why I don't lose points on assignments. It's due to that checking and rechecking. It's the reason I can fine tune everything I do. It is annoying when I can't stop myself from applying it to menial tasks but it is a GREAT advantage to have that natural ability to apply to more important things.


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22 Mar 2012, 10:28 am

Yeah this is kinda me also. I saw this during my studies, I never saw my work as fine as it is. I'm always, redoing, double-checking, adding stuff, removing stuff, analysing, logically ordering plus little things like object spacing...(Modeling graphics and such) and always feel gutted that I can't get that perfect grade. I'm at degree level with an average mark of 86%.

Its one of those things that I needed counceling on a frequent basis, and I have learned that it is very rare for anyone to get such a high grade. The pass grade is 30%. People can strive for perfection, people cannot obtain perfection.


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abyssquick
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22 Mar 2012, 1:07 pm

EXPECIALLY wrote:
You might try meds, some of the SSRIs can help with obsessive behavior but some can make it worse.


I've tried the SSRI's in the past - they muffle things and deprive me of my creative drive. They seem to chemically lobotomize - and I can't seem to selectively numb the parts I want to. I do realize I have obsessive tendencies, and that these can be kind of odd to others - I often wonder if other people's minds are as active and/or intense as mine seems to be. I have all my life been told to "relax" or to "calm down" because my thinking is also followed by physical, kinetic energy as well - I think better when I am moving around, etc.

I'm having trouble sorting out the residual patterns of my past relationship, an realizing that this new one is not at all like that one, that things are in fact going well. However if there are any issues, they seem amplified somehow. There is also the emotional illiteracy, I don't always know what the problem necessarily is, or how to react to it.

I have figured out how important communication is. I have to run against my aspie proclivity of being a loner, having to "sort it out myself" because "I'm too eccentric" and all that crap I tend to do, never admitting I need to talk, and that I can't do things alone.



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22 Mar 2012, 1:22 pm

abyssquick wrote:
EXPECIALLY wrote:
You might try meds, some of the SSRIs can help with obsessive behavior but some can make it worse.


I've tried the SSRI's in the past - they muffle things and deprive me of my creative drive. They seem to chemically lobotomize - and I can't seem to selectively numb the parts I want to. I do realize I have obsessive tendencies, and that these can be kind of odd to others - I often wonder if other people's minds are as active and/or intense as mine seems to be. I have all my life been told to "relax" or to "calm down" because my thinking is also followed by physical, kinetic energy as well - I think better when I am moving around, etc.

I'm having trouble sorting out the residual patterns of my past relationship, an realizing that this new one is not at all like that one, that things are in fact going well. However if there are any issues, they seem amplified somehow. There is also the emotional illiteracy, I don't always know what the problem necessarily is, or how to react to it.

I have figured out how important communication is. I have to run against my aspie proclivity of being a loner, having to "sort it out myself" because "I'm too eccentric" and all that crap I tend to do, never admitting I need to talk, and that I can't do things alone.


Interesting that is exactly the way I would describe how prozac effects me...but I can relate to feeling like crap even when things are going well, its one of the major difficulties I've had for quite some time. It sucks because then people assume I'm being selfish or aloof or something if I don't seem to enjoy things as much as others...and it kind of does suck to be trying to enjoy yourself with depressed/anxious thoughts and feelings running through your mind constantly.


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22 Mar 2012, 1:32 pm

abyssquick wrote:
EXPECIALLY wrote:
You might try meds, some of the SSRIs can help with obsessive behavior but some can make it worse.


I've tried the SSRI's in the past - they muffle things and deprive me of my creative drive. They seem to chemically lobotomize - and I can't seem to selectively numb the parts I want to. I do realize I have obsessive tendencies, and that these can be kind of odd to others - I often wonder if other people's minds are as active and/or intense as mine seems to be. I have all my life been told to "relax" or to "calm down" because my thinking is also followed by physical, kinetic energy as well - I think better when I am moving around, etc.

I'm having trouble sorting out the residual patterns of my past relationship, an realizing that this new one is not at all like that one, that things are in fact going well. However if there are any issues, they seem amplified somehow. There is also the emotional illiteracy, I don't always know what the problem necessarily is, or how to react to it.

I have figured out how important communication is. I have to run against my aspie proclivity of being a loner, having to "sort it out myself" because "I'm too eccentric" and all that crap I tend to do, never admitting I need to talk, and that I can't do things alone.


Same for me, actually. I go back and forth on the issue but I just don't think I want to take them again.

I would say they did make me less obsessive and helped with sensory issues but really took my ability to hyperfocus away completely. I also just felt like I had a "block" in my mind...I guess that's what stops people from being crazy or anxious and obsessive but it felt too strange.

If that's how most people feel it's no wonder they have trouble grasping so many things. Honestly, I don't think most people are dumb, they just think differently but I didn't like being that way.

You are they way you are for a reason...communication and maybe therapy to help you understand some things about emotions and social situations might help you avoid a lot of unnecessary anxiety though.


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22 Mar 2012, 2:49 pm

If you start accusing your girl friend without cause, you will destroy the relationship. It is not possible to stop bad thoughts from starting to pass through your head, but you can "change the channel". When these thoughts start going through your brain, take a walk, or even better go for a walk with your girl friend. Or put on some nice music, or better still, some peppy dance music. Everybody--lets POLKA!! ! :lol: The key here is to take back control when those misery thoughts intrude. You do have the power to change the channel of your brain. Now, go do it. :D


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22 Mar 2012, 9:55 pm

It IS fair that you don't fully trust people.

I mean really, how does one know what their "loved ones" do behind their backs?


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22 Mar 2012, 10:16 pm

It's a habit you gained during your time in a dangerous environment. Probably a lot like what soldiers get coming home after active combat--they gained a set of reflexes and reactions that kept them alive, but now they aren't compatible with a world where they're safe.

It takes time, really. You have to get used to living in a safe place, kind of re-integrate your past into who you are and what you learned from it, and readjust to a place where you're no longer constantly being attacked.

It does get better, though. They diagnosed me with PTSD, but six years after the last exposure to the environment that caused it, I no longer met the criteria for it, and now, over a decade later, I look back at that time, remembering how jumpy and hypervigilant I was, and realize how much more those experiences affected me than I thought they had. Sometimes you're not even aware of how it's affected you until you're in a safe place and you somehow can't get your reflexes to believe it.

Anyway, for me, it was a matter of time and thought and analyzing those things that set me off, understanding that they were not dangerous anymore. Those triggers--the things that make everything come back to you--you have to teach yourself that they are not danger signals, but safe things. You have to kind of re-teach yourself. I also dealt with nightmares by learning how to take control of dreams; but I don't think you really have to learn that. It helps just to learn how to realize, yeah, that was a nightmare, it sucked, but just wait 'til my heartbeat goes back to normal and then I can go back to sleep... No idea if you're having nightmare problems, but I did. It's common after you've been in an abusive situation. (And it doesn't matter that this person never actually put you in the hospital. When it comes to emotional abuse, I'd rather take a punch in the face any day.)

You went through a tough time. You survived. Now you're dealing with some coping skills that worked then but aren't useful anymore; so you have to unlearn them. Easier said than done, but totally possible.

One thing I think you ought to do is explain this whole thing to your GF--that you were betrayed and mistreated in the past, that you're still learning how to live in a relationship where both of you value each other, and that it's going to take you a little while to realize that you really are safe and you really don't have to be paranoid--that you know rationally that you're no longer in a hostile environment, but that it's going to take a little while for your feelings and reflexes to catch on to that. Maybe she can help you out. Most people are pretty understanding when it comes to that kind of thing, especially when it comes to being betrayed and abused by one's significant-other.


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22 Mar 2012, 10:19 pm

With your history - I think you need professional help.
JMHO



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22 Mar 2012, 10:30 pm

It could be useful, but "professional help" comes in many flavors and some professionals are more helpful than others.

One bonus, OP, is that you seem to have quite good self-awareness. You know what's going on in your own mind. That gives you a good amount of information you can use to solve your problems with.


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