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tinyfaery's avatar

How do you handle the days when you feel sorry for yourself?

Asked by tinyfaery (41662points) April 5th, 2013 from iPhone

So, I had a shitty childhood with abusive parents. When they kicked me out I was 17 I was homeless for awhile. My mom died a couple of years ago and since then my dad floats in and out of my life whenever he feels like; he was my primary abuser.

Once in awhile, for no known reason, I start a downward spiral which leaves me feeling angry and guilty all at the same time. Then I throw my pity party.

I know, I can compare my situation to others, I can do nice things for other people, etc. None of that works.

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29 Answers

blueiiznh's avatar

I kick myself in the ass!

(added) I do all I can to stay as far away from negative and downward spiral chance. I make time to do the things that bring me joy, happiness, and positive energy. It usually is a physical activity to help clear my mind.

bookish1's avatar

I know all about the pity party, dude. I had an abusive family as well. And sometimes the type 1 diabetes just gets in my way too much, makes me vulnerable to infections and illness all the time, I think about how it’s probably already cut 15 years off my life expectancy, etc…

On days like that, I try to work on a list of things I’m grateful for. I don’t know if this idea will appeal to you, but it works pretty well for me.

You’re allowed to feel the way you feel, so try not to berate yourself for your emotions (easier said than done, I know). Remember that you still have the choice to decide what kind of person to be the rest of your life, no matter the cards you have been dealt.

Hope you feel better soon.

janbb's avatar

I am in a similar spot right now – more to do with my spouse’s having left me and the ups and downs of my new life triggering childhood wounds. I feel like friends must see me on the street and run the other way sometimes. I am trying to find the balance and being aware and giving to their needs helps me feel less awash in my own shit. And getting out and doing almost anything helps a lot. I am also taking Zen meditation and trying to learn new ways of being in the world. But nothing much helps at 3 a.m.!

tom_g's avatar

I have had a health condition since November that has turned my world upside down. Life as I knew it is over, and I often feel like I could lose everything I care about at any moment. Part of me feels very sorry for myself. Why me?

But somehow I have managed to get through things I didn’t think I could. I reflexively start thinking of people who have it worse than I do, and I then beat myself up for feeling bad for myself.

As @bookish1 said, allow yourself to feel emotions without judging yourself for having them. If you can truly understand your emotions, accept them, and find a way to let them go from time-to-time, you might find some peace. Meditation can certainly help. But much of the work happens off the mat.

Pachy's avatar

When I’m down on myself (we pachyderms are known for exquisite wallowing), I indulge in all the things things I enjoy, like watching old movies, eating crap food, and napping.

marinelife's avatar

Have you tried getting angry about your childhood? Hitting a pillow and shouting, “No.” Jabbing your elbow with clenched fist behind you and yelling, “Get off my back.” Or making punching motions (with closed fists) at an imaginary target (your abuser) and yelling, “Take that.”

Doing something physical helps move the emotion through your body and away.

Bellatrix's avatar

As long as it doesn’t become a habit and start to affect your life, is it so long to let yourself recognise and feel the bad places you’ve been in your life? I sort of seeing it as allowing that hurt child out for a while and giving her a mental hug. So every now and then I allow myself to feel sad for the way things were back then. I let myself cry, get angry and feel hurt. Then I pick little self up, bring out the stiff upper lip and carry on again. As much as I don’t think we can continually wallow in the sadness of the past, we can’t completely ignore it and pretend it isn’t there. We were hurt and abused and life was pretty shit!

augustlan's avatar

Hugs, girlie.

It happens to the best of us, and some of us have plenty good reasons to feel this way. When my pity party lasts for more than a day or two, I just fully give myself over to it. I allow myself to cry all I want, eat junk food, sleep, do whatever I damn well please. Fully feel all of the lousiness, and then it seems easier to get past it and get going again.

answerjill's avatar

Sorry to hear that times are tough. Sometime exercise helps. In fact, just forcing myself to wash my face and get dressed and get out of the house for a while helps, too. That, and a regular weekly therapy appointment!

SABOTEUR's avatar

When I look back on the severely depressed person I used to be, it’s difficult to relate. Sometime between way back when and today, I learned that the best way to overcome depression was to not allow myself to become depressed.

Sounds flippant, I know, but it’s true.

Thoughts determine how you feel.

Upon learning this, I got a clearer understanding of the necessity of controlling my thoughts instead of allowing my thoughts to control me.

I began studying and mastering

It worked.
No more depression.

hearkat's avatar

Self-pity was a dominant part of my character for my adolescence through my 30s. I was just wired to expect the worst of and for myself, because I learned that I was less-than-dirt as a child. At some point around 41–42, it just clicked in my head that I have absolutely no control over anything but what I do with this moment, and that I’d wasted decades wallowing in self pity and wishful thinking. No one could “rescue me” or change my past… it is up to me to accept it for what it was, and start at square one.

Like @bookish1, I put effort into replacing my negative focus with gratitude, and I gradually transformed from a cynical pessimist into a hopeful realist. I considered that as miserable as my childhood and adolescence were, that I am stronger and more compassionate because of it. I’ve developed a skill for finding the silver lining in most situations, by contemplating what lessons lie within bad situations so I can benefit sooner rather than waiting for it to be learned in hindsight.

I’ve learned to appreciate my strengths and accept my human flaws, as I do for others whom I love. Most of the time, I’m able to will myself out of a situation, like @SABOTEUR. But there have been a couple occasions where negativity almost pulled me back down. I am very lacking in interpersonal skills, which I believe is an innate weakness (not unlike people with Autism Spectrum Disorder) in addition to bring a product of a very dysfunctional family (many of whom also lack social abilities so I suspect there’s a hereditary component).

Thus, there have been some times that I’ve had issues with people whom I admire – friends and colleagues – because I did not handle something properly. This gets under my skin, because my intentions were misinterpreted, and back-pedaling didn’t seem to smooth thing over as it often does. So I get mad and frustrated at myself, and I get stuck in a cycle of trying to figure out where I went wrong and whether I should bother trying to explain myself or if that would come across as weak, desperate or pathetic, and on and on. A couple times this carried on, and I started to realize that it was the old negative thought patterns trying to get a foothold, and I had to make a conscious choice to break that cycle, so I try to distract myself and get back to my routine until it passes.

josie's avatar

Not that it is responsive, but I have to say it.
It is a waste of my sacred precious time. I do not even bother with self pity. It is a soul destroyer.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@hearkat One thing that helped me immensely was “losing my story”.

You know…that story you share with people about whatever difficulty you’re having? Yeah…hard to look forward when you keep looking back.

Most people are disciplined about everything other than their thinking. Disciplined thinking is essential if you want to master your moods. I had to become more conscious of what I was thinking, and simply observe those thoughts.

Simply observing instead of entertaining thoughts eventually deprived those thoughts of energy, allowing them to dissipate.

It takes real commitment. You have to make up your mind whether you want peace of mind or entertainment.

Entertaining miserable thoughts enables you to be…eh…miserable.

And it has absolutely nothing to do with what’s occurring in your life…but what you allow yourself to think concerning what occurs in your life.

hearkat's avatar

@SABOTEUR: I agree for the most part; although I would not say that I have been disciplined in my approach, but doggedly determined. I also have found that some moods and emotions have to be experienced in order to move beyond them. When I get into a real funk, I have to exorcise the negative emotion. Sometimes listening to music that elicits the sorrow, grief, or anger I need to purge is enough to get it out of my system. But to really work through the deep-seeded self-pity and loathing I had, it was necessary for me to work through some of the feelings and to break things down to their essence and to allow myself to grieve for the childhood innocence and sense of family that I never had.

If you don’t get to the heart of the issues and let the feelings flow through you, they keep resurfacing. The cycle repeats and the spirit becomes worn. I believe that the only way out is through. The wounds must be opened and all the contaminants thoroughly flushed out in order for the healing treatments to be most effective.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have not had a full day of feeling sorry for myself for many years. Every once in awhile, I have to allow myself an hour or two to cry and think of all the sorry things, usually I take a long, hot, bath. After that, I go back to my normal, happy self.

tinyfaery's avatar

Thanks. I had a busy day at work so my focus was shifted onto my job.

I think I get into these moods when I need to feel validated. Sometimes I need to feel instead of think. When my emotions bubble up I just push them away.

Oh, well. It’s probably PMS.

hearkat's avatar

@tinyfaery – not having a period anymore has definitely helped stabilize my moods.

rooeytoo's avatar

I like Melody Beattie, this is what she has to say about gray days

Control February 15

Sometimes, the gray days scare us. Those are the days when old feelings come

rushing back. We may feel needy, scared, ashamed, unable to care for ourselves.

When this happens, it’s hard to trust ourselves, others, the goodness of life, and

the good intentions of our Higher Power. Problems seem overwhelming. The past seems

senseless; the future, bleak. We feel certain the things we want in life will never happen.

In those moments, we may become convinced that things and people outside of

ourselves hold the key to our happiness. That’s when we may try to control people and

situations to mask our pain. When these “codependent crazies” strike, others often begin

to react negatively to our controlling.

When we’re in a frenzied state, searching for happiness outside ourselves and

looking to others to provide our peace and stability, remember this: Even if we could

control things and people, even if we got what we wanted, we would still be ourselves.

Our emotional state would still be in turmoil.

People and things don’t stop our pain or heal us. In recovery, we learn that this is

our job, and we can do it by using our resources: ourselves, our Higher Power, our

support systems, and our recovery program.

Often, after we’ve become peaceful, trusting and accepting, what we want comes

to us – with ease and naturalness. The sun begins to shine again. Isn’t it funny, and isn’t

it true, how all the change really does begin with us?

I can let go of things and people and my need to control today. I can deal with my

feelings. I can get calm. I can get back on track and find a true key to happiness –

myself. I will remember that a gray day is just that – one gray day.

I didn’t have an abusive childhood but there was one vicious, violent alcoholic in my life and he made everyone’s life difficult. I found ACOA meetings and they helped me deal with it all. It is impossible to go through a screwed up childhood unscathed. So I just accept my madnesses. They say once you become a spectator to things you are no longer a victim of them and for me that has proved true. So I just say oh shit, one of those days and keep the faith that tomorrow will be better. Because I also think Abe Lincoln was on track when he said people are just about as happy as they want to be.

SABOTEUR's avatar

@rooeytoo Well said again.

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tinyfaery's avatar

That’s all nice, except for the higher power nonsense.

janbb's avatar

@tinyfaery If you get a chance, look for an essay by Barbara Kingsolver called “High Tide in Tuscon.” It is about natural ebb and flow and sometimes comforts me.

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OpryLeigh's avatar

I had one of those days today, I don’t know how I got through it but I did. Sometimes our bodies find strength that we didn’t realise we had. I hope you are starting to feel better and that you find the strength to not let it take over you too much. Having said that, sometimes we need to feel sorry for ourselves and there’s no shame in it.

talljasperman's avatar

I take a nap, order food, and take a staycation.

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snapdragon24's avatar

Read “Tuesdays with Morrie”...a life teaching book that made me cry on the first page. In fact its a book I think everyone should read…read it for me alright? It will do you good :)

1footballchick's avatar

I call my best friend and ask if she wants to go play tennis that way I can take out my frustration or sadness on an inanimate object.

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