Mid Year Self Check-In

Mid Year Self Check-In

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Today i’m taking a break from scraping the bottom of the barrel of my emotional flaws to do a mid year self check in. On Wednesday it is July 1st – over halfway through the year already. Wednesday also marks the ever so celebratory Canada Day – a day to mark when our beautiful country became … well … a country.

Canada only became a country in 1867. When you look at the timeline of the entire history of the world/(wo)mankind/non-binarykind, Canada’s timeline is incredibly recent, especially when compared to most European and African countries. We are still relatively new. We have come very far in our short time span and are known for diverse and talented people, majestic landscapes and a myriad of progressive ideas – working towards a more inclusive and equal society for all (heck we changed our national anthem for the sake of it), the legalization of cannabis, as well as a bang-up job of managing the coronavirus pandemic in comparison to our Southern neighbors.

Also inventing basketball. You’re welcome.

But we still have a lot to learn, in terms of our education and ability to handle and address such issues as those related to poverty, including our rampantly rising homelessness population, especially in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Also issues related to race – we tout ourselves for being progressive in our commitment to equality – yet still have Indigenous reserves in Canada without access to clean drinking water. Does that spell out equality to you? To me it doesn’t. Or even the fact we celebrate the beginnings of when our country was first marked a country according to colonization, despite the fact that Indigenous peoples of Canada were here for thousands of years prior to our official confederation written down in the history books.

By bringing these aspects up, it’s not meant to take a jab at an otherwise celebratory day, but to make you stop and think about how far we’ve come and where we’ve got to go. That’s the theme of today’s post for myself amidst my self-check in, as well: What have I accomplished so far, and what I wish to accomplish over the remaining half of this year.

I have a “My Vision” page in my day planner. When January 2020 first rolled around, I spent one bored day at work, scribbling down what I wanted to make time for, and what I wanted to work on/eliminate. On the corresponding page I wrote down a list of goals for myself for this year. I also wrote down dreams, both short term and long term, for myself. Today i’m going to share them with you.

Take note, I wrote a lot of these pre-COVID, so many I haven’t done simply due to the fact that I have been stuck in my house since March. So there yee be.

My Vision for the Year – Making Time for
  • Self Care
  • Exercise
  • Time with Friends
  • Meditation
  • New Experiences
My Vision for the Year – Working On/Eliminating
  • Overthinking
  • Negative Self-Talk
  • Insecurities
  • Stress
  • Word Vomit
My Vision for the Year – Goals
  • Learn to play piano – I have learned one and a half songs (lol – half? Yes half)
  • Learn to play the cello – hoping to take a socially distanced workshop in the fall for 18+
  • Speak my opinion more – working on it – ya girl hates conflict remember?
  • Recognize and train myself not to stress – I think I am getting better at this – mindfulness has been wonderful in doing so
  • Take a cooking class – not yet
  • Throw mom an awesome 60th birthday – yes! A surprise one – went off without a hitch!
  • Celebrate Corey & Danielle’s wedding (go a few days before) – will be attending in a few short weeks
  • Practice mindfulness at least once a week – yes, actually now I try to practice every day if I can
  • Go whale-watching – will be doing so when I got to the wedding listed above
  • Go to Whistler – not yet
  • Learn to Dance – …. not yet – I continue to dance like one of those inflatable flailing men they often place out front of car dealerships
  • Learn about Essential Oils (and buy more!) – not yet
  • Go to the sunflower and tulip festival – canceled this year – maybe next year
  • Lose 5 to 10 pounds – working on it!
  • Eat vegan more – Definitely – I have significantly cut down my red meat and chicken consumption – I eat a lot more tofu and I like it
  • Visit more vegan restaurants – not yet
  • Take a painting or pottery class – not yet
  • JOB CHANGE (PUT IN ALL CAPS) – NOT YET BUT ACTIVELY WORKING ON IT
  • Read 10 books (maybe more??) – I have read 5 so far, working on a 6th and listening to 2 audio books
  • Buy new furniture – I’ve bought all new deck furniture – makes my heart happy
  • Think before I speak more – not yet – work in progress
  • Cook yummy meals – yesssss
  • Take better care of my skin – yes! Up until March when everything shut down, I was going for monthly facials. I also no longer skimp on skincare products or go back and forth about spending the money. If I want it, and it’s rated well, I consider it an investment for my face down the road.
  • Love better, love deeper – I think I sort of have – the pandemic has held me back from doing so but has definitely made me realize the importance of doing so
  • Make margaritas – no but I have my mum’s lime margarita recipe and it is KILLER. Might have to make a batch for Canada Day, despite trying to be healthy. I wonder if margaritas are on Weight Watchers LOL
  • Not kill a plant! – I have killed some … but have also managed to KEEP SOME ALIVE
  • Get photos of friends developed – not yet
  • Travel – Washington, D.C., Grand Canyon, Yellowstone. International? Argentina, Croatia, Austria/Switzerland – nope – grounded
  • Go bowling – not yet
  • Say ‘sorry’ less – 100% have curved this – my sorries are sacred, you don’t get one unless I really truly mean it
  • Go to the Rugby 7’s – not this year
  • Pet and hold a piglet – apparently piglets don’t like to be held – my family makes fun of me for this goal but piglets are CUTE AS SHIT AND NOBODY CAN TELL ME OTHERWISE
  • Complete more puzzles! – SO MANY PUZZLES IN QUARANTINE
Short-Term & Long-Term Dreams
  • Spend New Year’s Eve in Scotland – Hogmanay
  • Go to Mardi Gras
  • Spend St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland
  • Go on a meditation retreat
  • Learn a new language
  • Swim once a week
  • Be well-read
  • Buy a vacation home (not sure where yet)
  • Be financially stable to never work another desk job again
  • Become a meditation teacher
  • Teach people how to meditate
  • Run meditation retreats
  • Live in another country
  • Run a successful blog (I defined success as 10k followers by the time I was 30)
  • Get married
  • Have kids
  • Hold a baby sloth
  • To speak at my own TEDxTalk
  • Go on an African safari for my 30th birthday
  • Be able to do the splits
  • Be able to do crow pose
  • Consistently continue going to therapy

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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Emotional Modesty: Minimizing Emotional Needs to Avoid Conflict

Emotional Modesty: Minimizing Emotional Needs to Avoid Conflict

Reading Time: 8 minutes

As a child, what was your sense of emotional needs versus your parent’s reactions?

One afternoon Karla, my therapist, asked me this question.

I immediately launched into how my mom was a single parent and was always making sure us kids got to our activities on time, were fed, looked presentable and got our homework done. It was especially with the word reaction though, that I noted how my dad had a short temper, and was one relationship in my life which I would classify as an eggshell relationship – being careful and mindful about what you say or do when around them so as to not set them off, as they are usually set off easily – walking on eggshells. It was in the midst of chattering away about these aspects of life that I realized sometime in my childhood, in an effort to minimize the conflict potentially bubbling up from my dad and to keep things easy for my mom, I began to make myself emotionally smaller, by minimizing my emotional wants and needs.

To lessen my chances of “being a burden” while minimizing conflict, I think I reduced my own emotional needs in an attempt to minimize my parent’s reactions. This is not to suggest mom wasn’t attentive, or an open ear. I also wasn’t actively not talking to my mom about my problems – I was always very vocal about my concerns, worries and troubles. But I knew deep down, she was doing twice the work because she was the primary caregiver. She often says nowadays when she reflects on that time period, she was dancing as fast as she could, in an effort to keep up with the demands of being a single parent to two kids. It’s possible I downplayed my emotional needs so she wouldn’t have to dance faster.

When I first started working with Karla, I made it clear that it was my romantic relationships, more specifically, my thinking, my actions, reactions and my being when in romantic relationships, which were what I needed to work on. However, as she pointed out to me, aspects which concern us in one type of relationship, often tend to manifest themselves in other types of relationships.

I exist with a few (okay, more than a few) dysfunctional tendencies when in relationships, especially in terms of how I approach conflict within a relationship as well as my emotional maturity (or immaturity I guess) when handling said conflict. At first I thought a similar pattern of downplaying my emotional needs was taking place in my romantic relationships. Now, I wonder if it’s an internal struggle of repeating these old patterns, while at the same time, trying to make up for the extent to which I minimized these needs when I was younger. How do I usually do that? Bring up conflict when no conflict exists.

I tend to bring up little things that bug me, when in the grand scheme of the relationship, they’re not a big deal. So what if he didn’t know I wanted him to reach over to hold my hand during a movie? Was it really worth bringing up and making a big stink of it, and inevitably ruining the evening?

One tendency is that i’ll often attempt to put square pegs into round holes when dating. In other words, I try to conform to, and place the wants and needs of my partner on a pedestal just for the sake of keeping the peace. I will minimize my own emotional wants and needs, in order to avoid conflict. to make things fit when they are not fitting. We see this internal struggle, now becoming a struggle which affects my actions and behaviors.

I also tend to believe that if I bring up a point of conflict, my partner will break up with me. This stems from recognizing within myself that if I bring up enough insignificant points of conflict continuously and consistently, I have the potential to create unrest within the relationship. I’ve never been with a man who does this, it’s simply a byproduct of my internal dialogue and my actions. I know that this is connected to feeling insecure when I am with the person I care about (something I have touched upon in previous posts), as well as a lack of security and confidence within my own feelings and emotions.

The third point is that usually after I have brought up a point of conflict, I will feel guilty for having done so, to the point that I chastise myself for having brought it up. It’s like I can’t stop myself from addressing these points when they bubble up. When discussing my points of conflict within past relationships with friends, a few have said to me well if you brought it up then obviously it was something which bothered you, which makes it valid. I disagree though – if you bring up enough small things that are not a big deal, you become a nag, and no one wants to be in a relationship with their mother. I don’t think anyone actively seeks out a relationship with someone who creates conflict – hell, I wouldn’t want to be with someone like that, it sounds exhausting.

It eventually turns into a cycle – I get upset over something small, my partner and I resolve the argument, then I usually end up apologizing profusely, feeling guilty, asking for reassurance, worrying about it for days on end and questioning if the relationship will survive. This is all in addition to how much better things would have been had I not just kept my mouth shut (I know – I’m super hard on myself). It’s complete garbage on my mental health, I expose my insecurities and lack of confidence, and my partner turns into my therapist.

A few solutions I see in working to curve these patterns is learning to pick my battles and developing the ability to think critically as to if what I am about to address is really worth bringing up. Alternatively, stopping to ask myself if there is something within my own power, which I could do to improve the situation or fix the “little thing” which is bothering me. As I’ve said before, it takes two to tango in a relationship.

Another point is working to heal my inner child – consciously granting myself permission to heal by writing about these topics as well as attending therapy is helping. I’ve also realized that little points of conflict I tend to bring up, are more a reflection of how I view myself – for example do I stir up conflict as a means to avoid the conflict that lies within me? As an unhealthy means to release the suppressed emotional wants and needs from my younger self?

It actually took for someone to point it out to me to realize that I’ve never had an example of a healthy relationship. For the most part, learning how to be in a healthy relationship has been a real trial and error process – I think for a lot of people it is. It’s almost as if I allow my inner child to be the part of me which handles and controls how I respond to external conflict. While I’m not one to argue or shout at my partner (getting loud and aggressive is not my “argument style”), it’s very nit-picky and childish behavior on my part. This inner child extends to how I react as well. I let my inner child go off the rails, instead of being accountable for my actions as a grown ass woman. Learning to heal my inner child, work in tandem with it and taking back control of my responses to conflict is key.

One last point is developing my ability to respond before reacting to something which I deem “conflict” – this is why meditation has really proven beneficial, as it allows me to stay grounded in the present, and slow time down. Especially when my judgement is clouded, I sometimes have a hard time thinking clearly prior to blurting something out. It’s part of my responsibility as a caring, present, communicative partner, to do my part, whether that means recognizing and confronting legitimate points of conflict, or talking myself down from the ledge of addressing “little things” which seem like points of conflict but really are not.

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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My Troubles with Trauma

My Troubles with Trauma

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Despite this post talking about trauma, it does not go into great, graphic detail – it is more a reflection upon the trauma which I have experienced.

In my previous post, I touched upon my concerns and issues related to abandonment – primarily how abandonment has manifested itself in my past romantic relationships and how moving forward, I will actively work towards communicating to my partner that this is something I struggle with and continue to work through. I suggest that my concerns with abandonment have primarily stemmed from my father, and his inconsistent presence throughout my childhood.

I actually recommend you go back and read my previous post first, before you read this post, as it provides greater insight and context into this situation.

Today’s post is an extension of the previous one – how despite clear abandonment issues, I struggle to accept and to grant myself the peace of mind that what I experienced was a form of trauma. I also struggle with feelings of validity in several different areas of my life – I struggle to feel valid in the very fact that my dad was absent. I struggle to feel valid in using the term absent to describe my father. I struggle to feel valid with how his absence and it’s aftermath still affects me today as an adult. I especially struggle with feeling valid as to whether I have permission to refer to the aftermath I am experiencing as trauma.

One of the biggest inner challenges or turmoils I have struggled with and dealt with concerning this situation, is if my experience with this could be classified as trauma – and if it is considered trauma, is that trauma actually valid? Writing this post, my head is telling me my experience is not worth sharing because it is not trauma – but how can it not be when what occurred in my childhood is now manifesting itself in adulthood? When what took place when I was younger, is now having residual effects on my relationships, creating a lack in my ability to feel safe and secure when I am with someone I care about?

The struggles concerning my situation when I was younger, play out in a narrative that goes something like this: Sure, my dad was absent, but he was around, sporadically throughout my childhood, whereas some people’s parents are absent, period. There’s no floating in and out of their children’s lives as mine did – they’re just not there. My mind tells me I could have had it worse, that my experience is somehow less valid or not valid at all because at least he was involved in my life, in some way, shape, form or capacity.

So … that’s got to be better than the alternative which is not at all – right?

Re-reading those lines, and another more rational, more kind and gentle part of my mind appears and says no, honey – it’s not better. Looking back now, I feel certain it would have been better if he was either always there, or he was never there. I feel stuck in this weird limbo where at least I had him for parts of my life, but am I truly allowed to refer to him as an absent parent if he was around for some of it? This is what I grapple with, too – not only the validity of his absence, but the validity in referring to him as absent.

I made this analogy in my previous post as well, but I compare it in my mind to a fishing rod in the water with bait attached. The bait is my dad and I am the fish. It’s like when he was around it was exciting, it was amplifying a pretend normalcy despite the fact I had not seen him in months, despite the fact it was anything but normal. I know most people at this point would say what even is normal these days? but you get my point here. It was for me, a little fish, being lured by bait.

Which is why I wonder if my life would have been better off, had I never seen or experienced the bait to begin with?

All that being said, if we look at the facts and how life panned out, how could I not refer to my father as absent? I didn’t see him for the last 6 years of his life. Even before that, visits and phone calls from him were like a Russian Roulette style of parenting – maybe the gun won’t go off and i’ll get to see him, maybe the gun will go off and I won’t see him for another 4 months.

After he died (and even in the last few years leading up to his death), I think I carried a lot of guilt about not making an effort to see him. I had his phone number – why didn’t I call him? Why didn’t I set up a get-together? He only lived 45 minutes away. I was fortunate to have my brother with me on the day we found out he died because that same guilt came back and washed over me tenfold.

My mom was always supportive of my brother and I not having any reason to feel guilty of this exact thing and would repeatedly remind us of this. He was the parent, we were the children – if he wanted to see us, he should make the effort. I think that in and of itself was trauma too – knowing your parent lives so close, but them never making the effort to see you. You begin to question your worth, and what you could have done differently.

At the same time, I don’t think I would have wanted to see him or have gotten together with him. I am currently working on another post addressing his alcoholism (which brought with it even more trauma), but within the last 6 years of his life, his state/condition/however you want to refer to it, got really sick, to the point I ended up changing my phone number as a result of it. Bear with me on that post, it is coming. I know I mentioned it in my last post, My Mother: 10 Lessons at 60, but it’s a doozy, and I need to make sure I write it and capture it right, considering it involves both my mother and father’s side of the family.

Reflecting on the whole situation, I recognize that trauma is not one size fits all. Trauma looks different for everybody. Some will experience trauma to a greater, more severe degree, than others. In the same breath, just because my trauma may not be perceived as severe as others, who have endured much worse, that does not make my trauma any less valid.

I now recognize that in an attempt to take up less space with the trauma I experienced, I did not allow myself the space to heal, which probably would have made me a lot healthier and a lot happier. I said previously as well, it was not until I went to therapy that I made the connection that trouble within my romantic relationships may have occurred due to past abandonment concerns, and therefore the trauma experienced from that, is what has manifested itself in my relationships. Bottom line, I am working on granting myself permission to recognize my own trauma, by being more openly communicative with myself about my needs, as well as communicating to my future partner(s) about those needs, too.

Thank you for reading as always. If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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May Grounded Gratitude Day 18

Day 18 of Grounded Gratitude is here 🌟

For those who are new to following me, hey I’m Lindsay! This is my account 🙂

I write a lot about unhealthy mental ruts I have dealt with (overthinking, negative self-zealous, abandonment issues) but I also regularly post my Grounded Gratitude practice.👏🏻

Grounded Gratitude is a commitment that every day of quarantine/social distancing, I post 3 things I am grateful for ✨

Talk Healthy To Me: My Experience and Solutions to Negative Self-Talk

Talk Healthy To Me: My Experience and Solutions to Negative Self-Talk

“She’d sit for hours doing her homework

Is the response you could expect to receive from my mother if you asked her who was the more diligent child: My younger brother or I. In elementary school, I would come home and spend most of my afternoons studying, completing homework, and working on school tasks. My brother on the other hand, barely opened his books, yet still managed to pass all his classes. No resentment there. In my mind I was just being a good student, wanting to turn in quality work.

Credit – Giphy

I maintained this work ethic well into high school and throughout university. A Top All Around Student Award in high school, valedictorian of my high school graduating class, a scholarship in college. Sometime during my younger years though, I developed a hardened sense of self-discipline. Where it came from, and why I developed it, I don’t really know, though I do have some theories. However, I can recall a pivotal moment when my hardened self-discipline crossed the line into self-punishment. I was 8.

Negative Self-Talk rears it’s ugly head

In Grade 3, during one of the standard parent-teacher conferences (parents meet with their kid’s teacher to discuss educational performance, classroom etiquette, their offspring being a little shit, you name it), my teacher pulled my mum aside to tell her he had heard me call myself stupid. I didn’t do well, or something did not go the way I had wanted it to, but I had been swift and harsh in punishing my little 8 year old self … and had been caught doing it.

Now, I would consider self-discipline to be a fairly admirable trait. But when it’s to the extent you have an 8 year old calling herself stupid because she didn’t do well, it goes from admirable to horrifying pretty friggin’ fast.

To this day, I don’t remember the incident, or calling myself stupid and I don’t believe my teacher would make up such a heinous tale (in my free time I like to tell lies to the parents of children I teach), but it seems I have blocked the event out of my memory. I do remember mum crying when she told me about the conversation once we were home. She took it hard and she took it personally, and interpreted it as though she had failed as a parent.

I notice it more now as an aware adult but she’s been self-critical of herself in the past too, so it’s possible I picked slivers of this trait up from her along the way, throughout my youthdom – not entirely sure that’s a word, but I just used it so hah – deal with it.

I can only speak from my lived experience and my upbringing but when you are 8 and you see your parents cry in front of you, it feels a bit like the sky is falling: You don’t know why it’s happening, you know it’s real bad, you know it shouldn’t be happening and it scares you.

Credit – Giphy

I can’t say my years in high school, through college and university weren’t completely free of my hardened self-discipline either. I always strive to do and be the best I can, but have noticed within my personality (and have had people tell me before) that I am extremely hard on myself.

This negative self-talk has also seeped into romantic relationships, having had a detrimental impact to my connection with past partners. Of course within this context, I believe the negative self-talk to also be a result of low self-esteem and insecurities, but it also includes being unnecessarily hard on myself over trivial matters.

Time I Had a Conversation with Myself

I find it interesting, really. I place pressure on myself to try to do my best and be my best, to be top-notch in my work and how I am as a person, then stress and beat myself up when I don’t hit the target. However, if there was someone in my life who expected perfection out of me, that’s not the type of person I would want to have as a presence in my life. Perfection is unattainable, stressful and unrealistic – if someone were to place those expectations on me, you can bet money on it that i’d metaphorically drop-kick them out of my life.

The same goes for the negative words I call myself on occasion. I can call myself, an “idiot”, “stupid”, “bitch” without batting an eye. But I don’t call my friends those names. So why should I be calling myself those names? At the end of the day, I am my own friend, too. Likewise, if someone were to call me those names, I’d think twice about wanting to spend time with them, and would probably slowly distance myself.

Credit – Giphy

So if I can recognize that a person who expects perfection out of me and/or calls me cruel names, doesn’t have my best interests in mind, then how is it acceptable for me to be placing myself on a pedestal built out of unrealistic expectations and unhealthy self-talk? All in order for me to achieve the version of myself which I strive for, or for me to achieve the goals I set for myself? And when I miss the mark, it causes me stress and anxiety, rather than being able to let it go.

Obviously, I can’t distance myself from myself, as is the case if it were another person expecting and saying the above to me. However, the direction I now face, involves working with what I have and working through it, in order to achieve a more peaceful, positive relationship with myself.

Credit – Giphy

Solutions

1. Look at the Bigger Picture

When I find myself in a situation where I am feeling self-criticism coming on – perhaps I have made a mistake, I am not reaching my goals or my target or the expectations I have placed upon myself, I hone in on the bigger picture. For starters, literally reminding myself that nobody is perfect, including me. I also remind myself that everybody makes mistakes, that I will continue to make mistakes and they are just a part of life.

2. Speak Kindly to Yourself – Terms of Endearment

Next, I begin to speak kindly to myself. This starts by using terms of endearment when speaking to myself – girl, honey, dear, girlfriend, love, sweetheart. It takes a bit of getting used to, referring to yourself as “love”, but what this does is train my critical inner voice to speak more kindly to me. As I have discovered when applying this, my inner voice has a hard time being critical when I speak to myself in a kind and loving manner. Alternatively, I start my sentences with one of the terms of endearment outlined above, before my mind has the chance to go on a negative self-talk rampage. It also improves my relationship with myself. As I said above, I am my own friend, too, so speaking to myself as my friends and I speak to each other, helps strengthen my bond with myself.

3. Forgive Instead of Criticize

I used to beat myself up after I would beat myself up – meaning I would engage with negative self-talk, then get upset with myself for stooping to such a low level. Then I would berate myself again, hold onto it and think about it for longer than the action or thought deserved. Nowadays, rather than jump straight to self-criticism, I am actively training my mind to jump to forgiveness instead. In moments when my brain is quick to judge and to make me feel like crap, I bring myself back to a level of forgiveness. Forgiving myself for making a mistake, forgiving myself for getting stressed out, and forgiving myself in cases when I do use negative self-talk.

By forgiving myself, I am able to engage with all parts of the process, I become proactive in recognizing my detrimental behavior, but even further I allow myself the space and the permission to let the behavior go. I continue to speak kindly to myself, I use terms of endearment, I acknowledge the situation, and forgive:

“Girlfriend, I said some pretty horrible things about myself back there. I know I was in a place of stress, but I recognize that is not an excuse to speak to myself as I did. I acknowledge I made a mistake and mistakes happen to all of us – I forgive myself for using that language when referring to my character and myself as a person.” In this case I used the word “I” to refer to myself, but you can also replace it with “you”.

4. Be Present & Mindful
Credit – Giphy

While mistakes are bound to happen, when I am present and my attention is fully on the task at hand, less mistakes are made. When I used to talk negatively about myself, I’d often not even notice I was doing it. Now I’m working to be more in control of myself, and living more so in the present, enough to notice when my mind (or my mouth) starts spitting out ugly phrases directed back at me.

Not only am I present enough to recognize my own negative self-talk – i’m more attune to honing in on my when my loved ones and friends do it. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve picked up on how my mum has been self-critical of herself in the past. But, it’s honestly astonishing at how many people I care about in my life, belittle themselves, and don’t even know they’re doing it. I make a point now, when they critique something about themselves or call themselves names, to say “no you’re not” or “that’s not true”. Even a small act such as this, despite it being a negating one, might help them to recognize the completely negative, completely false things they are saying about themselves.

5. Recognize Fault as an Opportunity for Learning – not an as Opportunity to Bash Yourself

Part of honing in on the bigger picture also means recognizing that not everything that goes wrong is my fault. As I have discussed before (you can read about it here), feelings of irrational fault are something I deal with and continue to work through. There have been many instances where I have felt like something was my fault, where my mind has launched into a tirade of self-criticism. Often times, these situations were not directly my fault – it was simply how the situation played out, or it was something out of my control.

Recognizing when legitimate fault is warranted, eliminates not only unnecessary negative self-talk, but also consistent feelings of guilty, as well as irrational feelings of fault. I am trying to be more mindful that fault is actually an opportunity to learn for next time – whatever it was you were at fault for, has happened. You can’t change that it happened, but you can ultimately change how you react to it – will you take it in stride and recognize it as a point of learning? Or will you recognize it as a moment to beat yourself up for what went wrong? This is what I am actively working on.

Thank you for reading as always. I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience with Negative Self-Talk and the Solutions I use to combat it! If you liked what you read, give my post a like, hit the Follow button on the top right-hand corner of this post, and turn on post-notifications, so you never miss an LE blog post! Don’t forget to join my monthly email list by signing up below, for updates, bonus content, and recommendations from yours truly!

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My Name Is Lindsay and I Have Abandonment Issues

My Name Is Lindsay and I Have Abandonment Issues

I’ve been thinking a lot about my ex recently – and not in the way you might think.

Primarily, my thoughts have been about reflecting on particular moments, where I should have been more open and communicative with him and what I would say now if I had the chance. I always tout myself as someone who’s main solution of working through their problems and conflicts with others is by talking through them. I recognize that relationships take two to tango and not everything that created points of conflict between us was necessarily my fault (another blog topic we shall spare for another day – my Unhealthy All or Nothing Thinking Patterns).

What I should have been open about when communicating with him, however, was how unresolved trauma and abandonment issues from my childhood, may tend to manifest themselves in our relationship.

That being said, I can’t and won’t be too hard on myself. I have heard many times before that concerns which surface in adulthood are often a result of what took place in childhood, but it’s truly taken attending therapy for me to recognize this connection and see examples of it in my own life. It’s also taken therapy to make me realize the importance of communicating your mental health concerns and/or giving a head’s up to your current partner about your past trauma. Some people may read that and say Well of course Lindsay! Why would you not want to communicate that to your partner? I suppose in the simplest of ways I can outline it, I did not connect the dots that select arguments we had perhaps unconsciously stemmed, on a different plain, from my unresolved childhood concerns.

Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash

I should also note that we only dated for roughly 2 and half months and while we did share a lot of information with each other in that short time period (and even if I had in a hypothetical situation, say, “connected the dots”), I may have still held back from telling him because we were so new. Thinking back I feel too as though it would been a lot to handle, or too much for him to deal with – you want to keep things light and fun when you’re first with someone – would I make things too heavy if I had told him? I’m not agreeing with this necessarily – more so musing different outcomes in my mind. But even in the “honeymoon” phase of our relationship, concerns manifested themselves, so really, I should have been honest, regardless.

My own experience with unresolved childhood trauma, involves my father not being a consistent figure in my life. Yes – I have daddy issues. My parents separated when I was quite young. I was too young to remember it or to understand it, which for me, translated into it not having an affect on me in a profound way (which I am actually grateful for – some folks who’s parents split up when they are young, are greatly affected – this was not the case with me).

To sum up his life pattern in one word, especially in my conscious memory of him, it would be transient. He frequently bounced around to different living situations, in different buildings in different cities. I don’t recall there being one particular place he stayed in very long, the longest I think would have been a townhouse he resided in for a few years. I can’t remember his exact reasoning he gave to me as a child, when I would ask him why he was moving again, but I would wager to guess now he’d either a.) Skipped out on paying rent one too many times b.) Crossed a line with someone or c.) A combination of the two. It should be noted as well, that my dad perceived himself to never be in the wrong and never be at fault (it was always someone else’s fault), which did not serve him well when dealing with other people, as well as creating and sorting out conflict.

In addition to an inconsistent living situation, his presence was inconsistent throughout my life, too.

When he was present, I remember he’d take my brother and I out for dinner a lot, I remember gifts on random occasions which he would present to us, and randomly show up at our sporting events and moments of importance in our lives. This would irk my mum to no end, as when he showed up, he liked to pretend he was a fully fledged, fully supportive parent – “Joe Dad” as my mother referred to him – a facade of always being there, always supportive, all the time, when this couldn’t be further from the truth.

On the flip side of this consistency and showering of affection, there was a gaping hole. Birthdays missed, not seeing him for weeks or months at a time, maybe a phone call – maybe not. My dad also walked through life with a poor grasp of money and what to do with it when he had it. So even if he showered us with meals out and presents, he couldn’t save money to save his life and spent it faster than he made it. I recall one particular situation when we were spending the day with him. He stopped for gas and he put $5.00 in his tank. What is an average amount of money to put in your gas tank – $30? $50? Even as a kid, I remember thinking that it was weird and not quite right.

The final blow to the gaping hole came in 2010. I was 18 and it was my aunt (his sister) and uncle’s wedding. I had driven my brother and I, and I remember as we were leaving, my dad walked us out. He was drunk (now a particular detail which I view as insightful foreshadowing of the years to come), got teary-eyed (from the alcohol), and in his best “attempt to sound normal but slurred nonetheless” voice, said he loved us, and watched us drive away. That would be the last time I would ever see him. He eventually moved 45 minutes away from my brother and I to be closer to his sisters and for the next 6 years, until his death in 2016, he would on/off call to chat, but never make plans to see my brother or I. From here, we dive into a whole other story which I will share eventually, but for the sake of staying on track with today’s topic, we shall save that for another day.

I compare it in my mind to a fishing rod in the water with bait attached. The bait is my dad and I am the fish, being lured by the bait. It’s like when he was around it was like bait – exciting, amplifying a pretend normalcy despite the fact I had not seen him in months, despite the fact it was anything but normal. I know most people at this point would say what even is normal? but you get my point here.

Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

So now we return to my ex and how this may have played a role in certain points of conflict.

We’d met in December, and spent most of the month together, including pretty much every day of the Christmas break. I work for a university, and the school had let out for it’s customary 2 week holiday break, so he’d requested time off from his own work so he could spend it with me, his new gal pal.

When January rolled around and he had to go back to work (as did I), I remember that first week back being so hard. I went from seeing him every day and talking to him every day, to now not seeing him and now not hearing from him for hours at a time.

I remember not being in a great mental state on that particular Friday when that first week wrapped up – we’d met up after he got off work, having already canceled dinner reservations because he’d been asked to work late. I remember him pulling his car into a grocery store parking lot because he needed to pick up a few things and I started to cry because I hadn’t seen him and it had been really difficult. Even writing that and thinking back to it now makes me want to cry. I’d communicated to him it had been hard. He’d tried to make me laugh to cheer me up, then reasoned with me that he has jobs where he can’t be on his phone or talk to me as much, which I understood.

Upon telling my therapist of this situation, she said the common theme here is that I felt unsettled. Feeling unsettled because my father himself was unsettled – moving around, all the time, never staying in one place too long. Feeling unsettled with the inconsistency my father created and manifested by always being in and out of my life. Feeling unsettled when I go from seeing my partner every day to suddenly not seeing him at all. While I saw my ex more consistently than my father, it would be fair to suggest that the same panic, fear and sadness I experienced that week of my ex not being as present and as with me as he had been, were unconscious emotions related back to my experience with my dad.

Of course, my ex didn’t literally abandon me, but perhaps my inner little fish felt baited again in a similar fashion as it had all those years before.

While it could very well have been simply me having a hard time adjusting to a new normal (as my mother has pointed out, it can be hard to go from seeing someone all the time, every day, to not seeing someone nearly as much), it’s possible I unconsciously felt slightly abandoned. This is what I would communicate to my ex if I could. That while I am content with my own time and recognize people have their own lives outside of those connected to their partners, I perhaps need a higher level of communication than other people when in relationships to feel secure – at least in the beginning stages of a new relationship when you’re working out common ground and feeling not as secure as say a year, or 5 years down the road.

I don’t feel shame surrounding my abandonment issues. On the contrary, getting them out in the open and talking about them, allows me to work through them. Identifying particular mental states which may not serve my future relationships well, but that I can communicate to my partner in advance, can help to mitigate them in the long run. Not to mention, writing articles such as this one helps me to better recognize my wants and needs in a relationship – it allows my partner to be better equipped in making me feel more safe and secure when I am with them, which ultimately translates to me showing up as the best (AND HEALTHIEST) version of myself for my partner.

Featured Work: The Worrying Wife Workbook

Look ma – i’m featured in a thing!



My Instagram buddy and follower of my blog The Worrying Wife has now published her beautiful new workbook with LOADS of fantastic tips, tools, check-ins, affirmations and goodies to get you through this wiggity wack pandemic as well as general times of stress, worry and anxiety. Did I mention it’s FREE?

She reached out to me asking if I had a recipe to contribute …. and I did not! So I quickly got to work experimenting in my kitchen and managed to whip up this delicious green smoothie bowl so I could join in on the workbook fun.

Get all your good green veggies in with my yummy recipe (cucumber? In a smoothie bowl? Who wouldathunkit?? I’m shocked too but it works and tastes refreshing).

Have you tried smoothie bowls before? Have a fave recipe? Comment down below!