The secret to happy…anyone?

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What is the secret to happy? So mr x and I are still in our merry dance. 2 ½ years on. Only this time it really does feel like its coming to an end. He is ignoring me more often, pushing me away. He admits freely that I make him happy and what we have works but claims something is missing. I just don’t understand why he won’t give it a chance- choose me, choose us, choose happy.

However, he doesn’t, won’t maybe even cant. Can I really hold that against him. Throughout my therapy course I have been taught that one of the highest qualities any counselor needs to have is the ability to show empathy. To see things from someone elses point of view. This is a quality I think I have always had. It comes naturally for me but often I simply choose to ignore it out of hurt or spite or anger. But eventually, however hard I try, I start to consider things from the other persons perspective and reason, excuse and justify their actions. I am unsure how you can be empathetic and resilient at the same time. How do you protect yourself and stand up for yourself if you can see why the other person is causing you harm?

Anyway, as usual the end result of this is that I am once again alone – not literally, I have a housemate (though she is moving out) and a dog now and cats and a family and a smattering of friends. However that isn’t really what feeling alone is about is it? Its about loss of connection. You can be surrounded by people but if none of them really connect with you- then lonliness seeps in like a slow enduring rot.

So what is the solution? Meet new people? Seek new connections? Seek a new home. They say home is where the heart is but my heart belongs to someone who doesn’t want it so I am homeless. My family certainly doesn’t give me a sense of home. Our beliefs, interests and values are so juxtaposed that there has never been anything but disconnection there.

So maybe a fresh start? A whole new place a whole new country even. A new career, anything? I feel like I am drowning in the familiar and suffocating from the boredom of day to day life. I simply trudge through the week attempting to make it to the weekend but then when it comes you have nothing but more emptiness that actually brings you lower than the enforced day to day work life.

Its sad, I can literally feel myself wanting to shake myself and say all the usual cliché’s.. I want to scream- but you are in control of your own life. You can do anything, be anything the world is your oyster, don’t waste it. God knows I am very aware of those now passed who would have loved the opportunity for the time I have.

But I feel paralysed by the uncertainty. I have no deep set passion to do anything, all I feel passionate about is not wanting this to be my life. However, without a direction to go in what do you do? Give up the stability of an income and a career is scarey. But is it scarier than another 5 years passing you by doing this?

My fear is that I will never be happy. Its funny I spend so much time telling mr x how he avoids happiness, how he runs from it, pushes it away like a revulsion. However, I really am no better. I too do not appear to be able to achieve happy and when I do I pick at it like a scab until its gone. I feel uncomfortable being happy, because I know what it feels like on the other side when you lose it. The comedown is always around the corner.

I cannot think of a time when I was last happy. Maybe happy is the wrong word- I have been excited, elated, I have laughed and I have had fleeting feelings of pride but not ..content. I suppose I don’t strive to be happy per se, that’s unachievable. I simply want to feel content, happy with my lot. To look at my life and know its not all amazing but I am pleased to be where I am and not afraid if it stays that way.

Yet I fear content at the same time. What if content gets boring? I’ve never sustained happy or content well. The trouble is no matter where I am I bring myself along. The pessimist, the over thinker, the critic..all the things that destroy happiness and content are embedded in my personality. I do believe I am also kind, thoughtful have the ability to be caring and loving…but I am in a constant battle to redeem myself with these traits from my more natural state of being- negative.

I am scared if I am honest. Terrified that I am not cut out to deal with life. The simple stresses and strains that everyone else takes on the chin overwhelm me at times. I just don’t understand how everyone else does it. I find life exhausting, I find being me, exhausting.

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Two cats a dog and a tumble drier.

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The title of this blog is basically the sum total of the possessions in my life- and the dog isn’t even mine yet.

I am currently in Devon in a beautiful cottage with a puppy that I was hoping I would build an unbreakable bond with.

I had him last weekend and we his fear bonded him to me and I felt needed and wanted in a way I have been longing- but I also felt fear, of commitment, of rejection of the unknown that comes with owning a puppy. Will he turn into a nightmare pup, how big will he get, will he stop me living my life? My concerns were not helped by the friedns and family who doubted my ability to cope.

In particular Mr Ex and my parents. To be honest my parents were not a huge surprise. They seem incapable of being poisitve about anything in my life. My mother insists on instilling this odd suit of armour which is frankly an extension of my own brain- to expect and prepare for the worse as its more than likely to happen. So if it does you’re prepared and if it doesn’t you are surprised. It is only recently that I have realised that this is where my negative thinking stems from. In CBT they tell you that our depression and anger are evolutionary ways of or subconscious protecting ourselves. The ultimate body guard. The cave man who walks past the moving grass and assumes its wind may get eaten, the one who avoids it in fear and thinks the worst – that it may be a lion- is safe regardless as he goes the other way. But who has the better life? Who experiences and sees more?

My mother has instilled this in my brain. I find it impossible not to approach good news or a potentially rewarding situation without tredpedation and fear. The second I get that buzz of adrenaline, I direct it to self preservation- what if it all goes wrong, what is my plan b, and at its worst- how can avoid this potentially good situation at all costs because its too risky and I may get hurt. Generally I approach life with a safety blanket always in place.

So when I announced I was going to get a dog, my parents immediate reaction of ‘ oh god this is a terrible idea’ was hardly surprising. They set me up to expect to fail, to be prepared for it not working out. So what did I do- I went out and bought a puppy guide, I learnt and researched every scenario- I ate,pted to puppy proof my house and bullet proof my decision.

Unsurprisingly it hasn’t worked. If it were just my parents I would cope but Mr X- yes he is still somehow on the scene- also sowed the seed of doubt. The man who has always been supportive and encouraged me in every decision, said it was a bad idea. So I immediately freaked the hell out!! However, what do I do when someone doubts me- do it anyway but brace for the worst.

So came my first weekend with pup- it went swimmingly- he was obedient, fun, loving, yet I could not connect. I couldn’t understand why. Was he the wrong dog, was I the wrong owner, was he too old? No the reality is my brain was subconsciously blocking me from bonding because it might all fail.

A week later, I missed the pup, the feeling of having someone who looked forward ot seeing me, missed meif I weren’t there and to cuddle. So I booked a weekend in Devon to bond. This was going to be my big moment. Just the two of us, I would return with a best friend and prove everyone wrong and also prove to myself that I didn’t need a man or family I had all the company I needed. Me and the dog.

Well needless to say it didn’t go to plan. We set off yesterday and he wouldn’t get in the car or even leave his owners property. Once I had got him in the car and set off, he was spectacularly car sick- expected. So When we arrived at the cottage I let him run loose- big mistake! The obedient and loving pup had decided he was his own boss and charged around refusing to get into the house.

I woke up this morning and he was limping, I could only assume from the charging around but it meant a trip to the vets via another car sick journey and then an accident on the vets floor. The vet said it was a suspected fracture and advised bed rest until we returned home tomorrow. So that was that- a sick pup, a wasted holiday and more to the point a bond that lays broken.

As I sit here typing he is in the kitchen and viewing me with total contempt. I had the commitment ‘fear’ on my first night here and panicked that I was supposed ot have him for a week and what was I doing.

I couldn’t understand why, ntil I started reading Brene Brown’s book ‘Daring Greatly’ and realised it was because I am pinning so much on the bond with this pup.

Mr ex has made me feel completely unlovable and unworthy, my parents have made me feel untrustworthy and incapable, my friends- due to the sagas of mr x- have made me feel insecure and unlikeable…so here came a solution. A puppy, an animal and best friend who is capable of unconditional love regardless of my thoughts feelings or actions in my life. But along with that came to fear, the fear that I would not bond, that this dog that is supposed to love you would not like me- and low and behold, that’s is what has happened. Through no fault of his own, circumstance has rallied against us and left me in the lounge and him in the kitchen hating life with me.

He goes home tomorrow- back to the bosom of his brother and mum, he will be happy, I have no fear for his future…however, I worry about mine. How do I overcome the notion that even the most simple relationship of man and dog won’t seemingly work for me- what hope do I have. I needed a point to get up in the morning. My flatmate said the other day she feels as if she is waiting for her life to begin…but she isn’t sure what she is waiting on. I feel the same. I thought his was aprt of me taking back that control, but I lost it. So what now?