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Thread: I feel like I'm immature

  1. #11
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Great post from Batya.
    Annia, you write,
    I have lots of things I need to improve in my life. I also need to sort out why these social interactions make me feel so uncomfortable and out of place. I feel that's something that has to do with my issues and not with the people around since they're generally kind with me. It might also have to with the fact that they've been bonding for longer than I have and have more in common with each other than I do. But still, I don't think this discomfort I feel is normal.
    This kind of discomfort is perfectly normal for anyone who's socializing with a group of people who are close with one another and share commonalities we don't share. Add to that, you're in a foreign place and are likely exhausted by stepping up to function using a non-native language daily. You're trying to normalize while keeping yourself under a continual microscope.

    That's a really-really high bar for anyone, and the microscope kind of goes with that territory. Except it's a double-edge sword. Keeping it on high-zoom all of the time allows for no relaxation, and you're defaulting it to view yourself through a judgemental lens rather than a forgiving one.

    I'd start with researching whether your employer offers any kind of Employee Assistance for stress, or otherwise reach out to anyone who's experienced in navigating the social systems of your host country to learn whether there might be any avenues for counseling, group support, clergy counseling or the like. Research the Internet for hotlines and other outreach centers who can direct you to some local or cyber resources. Learn local norms in terms of religion, meditation or prayer, and consider attending as a guest to learn of available resources through such outlets.

    Consider practicing meditation to relax your focus away from self judgment use apps or websites that aim to help you relax and adopt a more gentle lens. You're stuck in 'ON' mode where you've worn yourself down by viewing yourself through the same critical lens you first adopted to adjust to your new job.

    Nobody can operate in a continual 'ON' mode without burning out. A constant lens of judgment where you come up short isn't inspiring, and it will rob you of optimism and energy. Too long spent in this state can trigger depression, and if that's not addressed while it's situational, it can become a chronic condition. So ask for help, whether from a trusted contact in your location to recommend possible outlets for treatment, or otherwise through an Internet hotline where networking for resource recommendations is a common practice.

    Head high, and take a breather from your critical lens.

    Write more if it helps, and head high.

  2. #12
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    Also consider that social events are often just plain awkward and they often make a lot of people feel weird. That's OK, that doesn't mean you have issues. You're just like most people who also tend to compare themselves to each other and be self-critical. Just imagine how these couples and parents must feel: not only are they likely to be comparing themselves as individuals to one another (who is smarter, more attractive, more successful, who made the more impressive home-made dish) but they can also fall into unhealthy comparisons with other families! (who has the better marriage, whose child is doing better in school/more well-behaved/cuter/cleaner, whose house is nicer). And on and on. I'm saying that everyone, no matter what they may appear to have achieved on the outside, can still be vulnerable to this kind of thinking because this kind of thinking comes from inside, and can drive you to always be chasing that externally validated sense of self-esteem that you may never get because it will keep shifting. You're single and you over-criticize yourself. Once you get married you'll just over-criticize your marriage, then if you have a family you'll over-criticize that, buy a house, get a better job...it'll never be enough until you accept that you just are enough no matter what.

  3. #13
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Annia
    I have trouble navigating through the most simple things in life while these amazing women go through so much and make it through with so much strength and success.
    They built that strength and achieved that success by struggling just like you do. But with them, you just see the end result.

    If you had the opportunity to stand outside of yourself, you would probably see those same traits in you.

    Success does not happen overnight. It is a constant uphill struggle (unless you aspire to take the easiest way out in every case lol).

  4. #14
    Platinum Member Jibralta's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    I just mean what you see is a snapshot. You don't know their struggles, you don't know if they behave in a mature way generally, you don't know whether they were ready for marriage and parenthood.
    About 10 years ago, I reconnected with some high school girlfriends. They had all gotten married and had children early, some even began before they graduated high school. Between the four of them, they have ten kids.

    A lot of times when we all hang out together, they get caught up in mom-conversation and I, not being a mom or mom-minded, just sort of drift off into space and drink wine. One evening, as they were all momming together, I realized that they were like superhumans. They dealt with SO much. I, on the other hand, only had myself to worry about. I felt like a big baby. I mean, my bad day is heavy traffic and weak coffee. Their bad day is taking off work to bring a kid to the hospital while still having to make dinner and do laundry after they got home.

    I was like, sh*t. I'm a completely irresponsible piece of crap!

    But as I was thinking this, their conversation turned to responsibility and taking charge of your life and who can we ask about how to start... we need a responsible person... and then, "Jibralta! You're the most responsible one out of all of us! What do we do?" Four faces looking at me with open, expectant expressions. They really believed I was the most responsible!

    I was like, whaaaaat??

    So, moral of the story is, a lot of this is just a matter of perspective.

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  6. #15
    Platinum Member catfeeder's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Rihannon
    ... can drive you to always be chasing that externally validated sense of self-esteem that you may never get because it will keep shifting. ...
    Yes! Understand that self esteem is exactly what it says, 'Self' esteem. It's not parent esteem, or boss esteem, or friend esteem, or neighbor esteem. It's not dependent on anyone else's lens.

    A critical inner voice is a habit that most people fall into at some point, but like any other habit, it can be broken. That voice can be replaced with the voice of an encouraging coach--it's just a matter of catching the negative judgment, and changing your inner dialog in that moment. Speak to yourself in the kind and encouraging way you'd speak to a friend until your reasonable ADULT voice becomes your default and replaces the knee-jerk voice of the critical CHILD playing to some imaginary judge and jury that you carry around like a weight.

    As you keep doing this, you'll create an upward spiral. You'll find yourself becoming more empathetic and patient with other people. Your generosity toward others will spiral back around and show you WHY it's never useful to be harsh with yourself. You'll create a harmonious cycle that loses the habit of anticipating harsh judgments from others, and should the rare instance occur where someone does voice a criticism, it will strike you with clarity as to whether their complaint is valid, or whether they're voicing whiney sour grapes that has little to do with you. You'll be able to respond accordingly by either taking the hit and admitting a fault, or you may find yourself indulging a whiner in a patient and composed way.

    This is the stuff of practicing self respect and self regard so that when bumps in the road DO happen, you're grounded enough to avoid reacting defensively, and you can contain the criticism to a single event rather than crashing into a downward spiral that views every aspect of yourself as flawed.

    We ALL have flaws. It's part of being human. It's how we all learn that becoming 'better' at anything requires trial and error, and our errors are as important as our successes.

  7. #16
    Platinum Member Annia's Avatar
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    Thank you so much for your replies. I saved some of them to reread when my perspective gets tainted by my harsh self judgement. I think you're right that it's just a matter of perspective and of me just seeing the "final product" of people's lives and putting them on a pedestal. I'm sure some people look at me living alone in another country in such a different environment (I lived all my life in a big city and I moved to a very isolated and cold place abroad), working a demanding job and with much more responsibility than I ever had in my native country and having learnt the language thinks I have it together and that I'm doing great at "adulting", while I go by trial and error and go learning along. When I look at myself I don't feel that I have it together at all, but most people looking from the outside probably think (or not lol).

    As to the subject of children, I remembered another episode that once made me feel bad and embarassed:

    I don't have siblings and I have basically zero experience with children and toddlers. Most of the family members I know are older than me and the ones that have children are distant family. I also almost never had friends with children until very recently. In my close family I have two cousins that are younger than me, but one of them lived in another city and the age difference is not so big, so I wasn't much with him when he was a baby and my other cousin lived with his mother who divorced my uncle very early on and almost cut all contact with our family, so I was never much around when he was little. I also never babysat in my life nor ever changed a diaper or did anything of the sort. I never really had the opportunity and though teenagers/young adults having babysitting jobs seem to be common in the USA, I think it's not very common here because I've never met anyone that had such job. So you can say I literally almost have ZERO experience.

    So some months before I moved to this country my aunt had a baby. She was on maternity leave, so she could be home taking care of her for a very long time. My mother sometimes would take care of the baby for a few hours so that my aunt could relax a bit or go somewhere. One time my mother was very irritated with me and basically called me selfish and egocentric because I never suggested to go spend taking care of the baby, who had maybe 2 or 3 months at that time, like she used to do and that the only times I suggested were the times when my mother would be there. I felt terrible, but the reason I never made an effort to babysit the baby was because the idea of taking care of a 2/3 months baby alone with my lack of experience terrified me. I was scared of doing something wrong out of ignorance, or that some emergency could happen and I wouldn't know what to do. I was scared of not doing good enough. I know that a baby is not rocket science, but the weight of responsibility of taking care of her newborn alone even if just for some hours caused me anxiety. I think that if it was staying at home with a 3 or 4 year old toddler I wouldn't be so nervous, but a months baby made it seem way out of my league. Even basic stuff like holding a newborn baby makes me afraid of doing it wrong and it takes me a while to relax.

    I get very anxious whenever I need to do something new weather at work or personal life, and this seemed to be way out of my league. Because of this reason I felt more comfortable tagging along with my mother or be there with my aunt present and observe how they do it and assist before taking care of the baby alone, to see how they do it and learn it. Then maybe I'd feel comfortable and could contribute more by babysitting the baby alone. But I was too embarassed to explain this to my mother and I was feeling guilty because of what she said.

    I feel embarassed just by telling you this lol

    How can I think of one day being a mother if just the idea of taking care of a toddler for a few hours makes me nervous? Maybe I'm not naturally fit to be a mother. I think I'd be one of those overprotective, anxious, overbearing mothers whose doctors can't stand anymore because she has a panic attack every time the baby coughs or bumps their head on something lol

    I'm also someone that gets distracted easy, so reading the horror stories of parents that forgot toddlers somewhere or in a hot car, or that the children had an accident because they weren't paying attention fills me with anxiety. Maybe that's the reason why I admire parents so much, because I feel so inapt and unexperienced to excel at taking care of another human being successfully for at least 18 years old lol

    (sorry for the big rant)

  8. #17
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    Look - you will make a good mother you know why? Because you knew enough to know that you weren't equipped to care for an infant alone. That's why. And it can be like rocket science. It depends. It can be just routine for a 2-3 hour stint depending if the baby is sleeping/hungry/needs a diaper change or is healthy/not healthy/just had vaccinations, etc. And yes holding a baby while you're terrified is no good for the baby either. They're really sensitive to that stuff.

    And yes you can learn -my husband had to (although -tee hee- at our parenting class he held the baby doll and noticed the neck could turn so he showed me, with a smirk, how he could do an Exorcist movie head twist while he "changed the diaper" -I promise you -total joke -not in his character to hurt a fly - and he found the instructor kind of silly/condescending (and it was hard to keep a straight face when she kept writing misspelled words on the board). But he had to learn and yes at times it was frustrating for me to be able to tell him when he was doing something wrong. But -instinctively- he LOVED our son. He bonded with our son -and so much of how he cared for our son was right -so right -because he loved him. That was enough. (Meanwhile with all my experience when my baby was 5 days old I called the doctor hysterical because I cut his nails with the wrong scissors -thanks post partum doula - and he bled a bit. The nurse was kind but holding back a laugh).

    You do need to know how to hold an infant -supporting the head and all that - and you do need to get more confident -but, please - so many people have children and have no experience with children and it's more than fine. I make and have made plenty of mistakes and been anxious, etc with all my "experience". It takes a village.

    (You reminded me of my friend who came over one night when my son was around a year old, not walking yet - my husband was out and I had to pee. And baby was fussy in the playpen. So I took him out and asked my friend just to hold him on the sofa while I went to pee. She said no -she was uncomfortable because she had no experience - but he was a baby, not an infant and not screaming just fussy -so I sat him down right next to her and asked and she wouldn't touch him -he almost rolled off the sofa and I caught him and just rushed to the bathroom and let him cry for the 3 minutes. Yes, I found that extreme given the 2-3 minutes I needed and to hold him sitting down. Yes she loved children and babies and really liked my son. So yes in certain cases you "can" do it - especially if you're not the main caregiver -and it will be good practice too).

    And yes I see inept parents all over and it annoys me to no end and sometimes I intervene if I can do so diplomatically (choosing my battles carefully). And twice in the last 4 years or so I've called police/law enforcement. It is a job an it requires many skills including focus, attention to detail, planning, organization - without those skills it just gets unnecessarily chaotic - but many jobs require those skills. My pre-mother hood job did and had nothing to do with children. Please don't tell yourself you wouldn't make a good -likely great!! - mother. Your concerns show you would be, at least to me. Feel free to PM if you like.

  9. #18
    Platinum Member Annia's Avatar
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    Thank you so much Batya, I love hearing your stories and life experiences. You have such an inspiring life story and seem to have learned so much from your experiences in such a constructive way that it allowed you to build the life you want. I really learn a lot from your posts.

    Your husband is hilarious and seems like a sweetheart. That kind of silly humour is something I could see myself doing haha

    I don't know why this whole "being a good mother" thing has been stressing me so much lately, if I'm no where near the stage of having a baby, because I want to be in a stable relationship first with someone I see myself being with for the rest of my life.

    I have two pregnant colleagues at work and another one who is on maternity leave, plus one of the women I was on that birthday lunch I was talking about is pregnant. I think I've been accumulating the hormones and worries of all the pregnant people around me lol

    One of my colleagues who's pregnant also has almost to none experience with babies and she never wanted to have children, until she did and decided she wanted to go through with it. My colleagues were shocked. My aunt who I was talking about, I think she didn't have much experience with babies either, and from what I see she's an amazing mom.

    I think the point I am now is that in theory I want to build a family and have kids, but feel that I'm not at that point yet emotionally and in terms of professional stability, and of course having not found the future father of my children. I also admit that I need to grow up in some aspects of my life. So it all seems very daunting now. But maybe if one day it happens, I'll do ok. But I'll probably have moments like yours of calling the nurse screaming for stuff like that lol

    I think I need to relax and not thinking much about it and if possible try to get more exposure to toddlers in general so that I feel more comfortable. And get all the other aspects of my life which are more eminent now in order like my mental health and my finances.

    But if I ever have a child, I don't mind that the Batyas of this world intervene if I'm doing something dumb parenting wise haha

  10. #19
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    LOL - I needed two mothers to intervene when I decided it was a good idea to stuff my toddler into one of those baby swing seats while wearing heavy sweat pants and a jacket in the winter. I could not get him out and was all alone in the park until two moms saw me struggling and came over to help me get him out. It really does take a village and yes certain parenting books and parenting classes are a huge help. You know you're not ready and that's perfectly fine. There are women who do the single mother by choice thing, I considered it and knew it wasn't for me for several reasons so I relate totally to you wanting the right partner first. Your insight and wisdom will help you a lot - read what Jibralta wrote -I am not surprised that her adulting "mom friends" presumed that she was the responsible one. Makes perfect sense to me!

  11. #20
    Platinum Member Annia's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Batya33
    LOL - I needed two mothers to intervene when I decided it was a good idea to stuff my toddler into one of those baby swing seats while wearing heavy sweat pants and a jacket in the winter. I could not get him out and was all alone in the park until two moms saw me struggling and came over to help me get him out. It really does take a village and yes certain parenting books and parenting classes are a huge help. You know you're not ready and that's perfectly fine. There are women who do the single mother by choice thing, I considered it and knew it wasn't for me for several reasons so I relate totally to you wanting the right partner first. Your insight and wisdom will help you a lot - read what Jibralta wrote -I am not surprised that her adulting "mom friends" presumed that she was the responsible one. Makes perfect sense to me!
    Hahaha I'm imagine 3 women around the child trying to get him out!

    I loved Jilbralta's story. I actually needed to read that to remember that it's all about perspective and the lenses we choose to see others and ourselves.

    And I think you're right, it's ok to admit we're not ready. I think we're conditioned to believe that we all should be wanting and feeling ready right from the start and we should be perfect at being a mother and a wife as if it's all already ingrained in us automatically. But we're all different and we all have our pace and not everyone wants the same things and that's ok.

    I also forget that if I were to have a baby someday, I probably wouldn't be alone. I think that being here in this place, not having having any deep bond here yet and so far away from home and being so cold and darkness almost 24 hours a day (I'm very north) , I sometimes feel so alone that I imagine myself going through all the hardships totally alone. And I need to change this perspective, because lately when I'm visualising having a baby, I'm visualising me going through it all, all alone, I'm not even imagining the father's contribution or my family's help and I know (but unfortunately sometimes forget), that I have an amazing and supportive family and should be leaning to that feeling of gratitude instead of stressing so much about things I'm not even living yet lol

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