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3 years ago  ::  Aug 02, 2011 - 2:33PM #1
OlderIncubus
Posts: 3
Dear Beliefnet,

It's probably about 7 years since I last properly visited this site. I find it quite ironic that when I was a teenager, going through my dreadful moodswings and dark times, I remember thinking "I can't wait till this is over. It's just hormones and by the time I'm 21, these hormones will be gone, I'll be fine". Now, just a few days after my 22nd birthday and I feel just as lost as I did coming out of my 12th.

Beliefnet was a fantastic source of support for me when I was really struggling through my adolescent years. All the changes, the emotions, the low-self-esteem, lack of friends, the damaging self-harm, the depression, the torture I put my parents through, my complete change in how I saw the world and what I felt was the passing of my childhood. I didn't cope well, and sought for support on the Beliefnet Forums. And my oh my, did I receive it! Some of it, wasn't quite what I'd expected (I learned some valuable lessons about Internet back then - and the levels of information you should give out on here!), but I know that many of the kind members of the community helped shape me and get me out of some dark, dark places.

As I got better, my Beliefnet account was visited as often the gym! I've since finished school with pretty darn good grades, graduated from University, I'm in a well paid, but temporary job, saving up enough to go traveling and fund a postgraduate so that I can then pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology. When I wrote on the Beliefnet boards all that time ago, I was desperate for a boyfriend, and I was told I had to love myself before I could be happy in a relationship - love would find me. And it did. I've had two serious relationships since those days (serious, considering they both lasted 3 years each, and I'm only 22!) and some not so serious. In fact, the second of those long term relationships has only recently come to an end, which I suppose may have been the catalyst in why I am writing on here today.

I feel I've grown so much strength in the last 10 years. I've gone in and out of one serious relationship, and I've gone through some tough times with the most recent one; "Albert". Al suffered from very serious depression. We met at University and he "got" me, he made me laugh so much (he was kind of a comedian, and I can see why so many of the great comedians, are in fact, so so depressed), he was kind (sometimes) and he was fun. But after the 1st year of our relationship, he became very jealous, very needy, very isolated. I would avoid going out with friends to please him. Dress down to calm him down. Stop myself from doing the things I loved, so I could do the things he loved. My first long term relationship, I was the needy one! But I soon grew to understand space, and trust, and I was never jealous for Al. I appreciate space. All of his close friends were other girls, and I just couldn't care less. I was a very trusting, supportive girlfriend. I'm not saying I was perfect though, by no means! In the third year of our relationship, his depression was crippling. I wouldn't leave his bed. After I graduated (a year ago now), I worked as Support Worker for 6 months. Supporting adults with severe and multiple learning disabilities, was a holiday in comparison to coming back to his flat and seeing he'd not left the bed yet. He'd not eaten. Clothes and belongings were covering the floor, you couldn't see the floor! Washing up, piling up. He had no clothes left to wear. He got up just to use the toilet, but nothing else. He was a vegetable. He would cry and cry and nothing I did ever made anything better. I was overly sympathetic, I would scream, I would deliver ultimatums. But in the end, I washed him, I washed his belongings, I fed him, I'd shop for him. After finally getting some friends involved, he eventually went to the doctors and was prescribed medication, but did little for him. I started looking at other guys (and even girls) in a different way. Al was no longer the one for me, I was attracted to others, more intensely than before. I'd fantasize my time away, so I was no longer with Al. In February, I snapped. We went on a break, then I eventually broke up with him. Said I just didn't love him has a boyfriend any more, just a friend. I didn't feel as though I was myself any more. He didn't love me, I *needed* me. I wasn't myself any more, I was just his carer, altering my ways and habits (sometimes to the extreme) just to make him happier.

I wasn't that hard to do. And I think because of that, I still haven't found closure. He didn't take it well, at all, and that did make it hard. Text messages and e-mails about how I'd crushed him. But funnily enough, he seemed to get better. I was out of bed more? He's gotten a job (or so his facebook tells me).

In March I got my current full-time job "Assistant manger" at the University I'd studied at and worked at part-time during my course. It's decently paid and with nicer collegaues (sometimes) than where I was working as a Support Worker. This was a clean break, a chance to settle myself after the chaos that became of my last relationship, and being in education for 17 years. I could work, and then around this time, spend some quality time on ME. I got what I wanted, but I have never, ever, felt so lost.

Unlike most, I didn't go back home after graduating, I've stuck it out, rented a flat with a friend, and am working hard to pay all the bills. Not that I don't like home, my parents are my best friends. I just wanted to be independent and I had no friends left at home - my real friends were back at Uni.....However, this may have been a mistake - all my friends HAVE gone back home, so it can be very lonely here. And now I've broken up with Al, I have a LOT of time on my own... I like my own company, I crave it. But then I feel so lonely? Why am I this difficult, can nothing satisfy me?

I met "Joseph" at work when I was there part-time. Not like the other Security guards (who, bless their souls, are wonderful and intelligent guys, but they aren't the "academic" type), Joseph is in fact also a postgraduate student. Jose was one of those fantasies I had whilst with Al. Nothing has obviously become of it; apart from already having a girlfriend, he just doesn't see me in that way. He really doesn't care for me, sometimes, I feel as though he genuinely does not like me at all. But he has this horrible hold over me. I see him as... well, perfect. He's incredibly intelligent, and passionate, and caring, and funny, and geeky. He reads the Guardian and works for charities that help victims of sex trafficking. He doesn't do drugs or smoke. He plays video games and watches good films with action and adventure. I'd hazard a guess that he enjoys the same music too. He passionate about human rights and helping those less fortunate, but he's still so down to earth.

I love the guys on security, sometimes I see them as surrogate uncles, taking care of me and I love to have a laugh with them. It's simple. In no way am I suggesting that THEY are simple, but it's just not a competition, it's not an essay to do in 12 hours that you absolutely must must must get an A in. I go to work, we drink tea, we laugh, and moan about management, then go home and stop thinking about work. I feel liked there. But I also feel apart, because this is, afterall, just a stepping stone in my career. I want to do a Doctorate. This is my "time out" from education, so I can just live a simple life for a bit. Work, get paid, pay the bills, eat, enjoy my time off, work again the next day. For a while, I fantasized over doing this forever. Just stay in this job and lead this simple life, no more essays and struggling ever again. But then I'd compare myself to Jose - or he'd challenge me, without ever even knowing. I'm intelligent, I shouldn't just waste that. I have ambitions, I should move on from this. I want to HELP people - not rot away in Customer Services. 

Jose pushed me again, this time about Vegetarianism, or Consumerism at least. I like eating meat, and as we the fittest, in this fight for survival, why can't I eat meat? Jose very well argued that yes we are the fittest, we are blessed with the ability to make moral decisions, to reason, to find other methods of survival without the cause to harm others. We are compassionate. Life is a beautiful miracle! (Maybe this is what I adore so much about Jose - the dichotomy of a "Gruff Yorkshire Security Lad - all hard and homely" and then this sensetive and passionate academic with eloquent and well researched debates) Yet we take part in cruel, obscene practices just because we like the "taste" of meat? It's disgusting. He showed me the "Earthlings" video, which I foolisly watched at work and couldn't stop crying over. I am so blessed, I can afford to NOT eat meat, so why do I do so? And at the cost of the pain and suffering of animals?

I think Jose's only desire was to win a debate, or hopefully get me to eat less meat. But this has caused the most obscene crisis in my head, my life. I can't eat? I have so much meat in the freezer, what do I do with it? And I have cheese as well. But those cows went through SO much pain, just so that I can have cheese?! That's not fair!

So - what's the answer, do I become a Vegan? But that's so hard, I don't know where to begin. I've been researching this for days, how do I even begin to become a Vegan? Does this mean no more chocolate? On the plus side, I'll probably loose a crap load of weight if I become a Vegan!

But is "it being difficult/less tasty" really a good enough excuse for the pain that all these animals must go through? I can't justify it!

And where do I draw the line? Everything in my life must have come about at the expense of another's suffering. Even fruit, the pickers will be in some third world country being underpaid and exploited. The clothes I wear, made by orphans in bangladesh, whipped and beaten to ensure I have my jumper. I just don't know what to do with myself?!

I then think, this is just crazy. Why on earth am I stopping myself from out right living because of this stupid video. But then I think "I'm just in denial. I can't cope with the idea of not having these comforts, so I go into denial, pretend the suffering isn't happening, just so I can have a piece of chocolate!" Well that's disgusting, how dare I think like that. Everything I touch, own, see, smell, hear, everything around me, that I've consumed, have yet to consume or want to consumer is at the expense of another person's suffering. What made me so special? Why do I get this luxury?! This is just so, horribly unfair! I don't deserve to be in this position, I'm not a good enough person.

Then I think, of Jose. What does he want me to do?... Hey! Why do I care what he wants me to do? I can't make a decision without thinking what he will think of me.

Why does he have this hold over me? I feel so small, so insignificant. He doesn't like me because I'm not strong like him, not intelligent like him, not as free spirited. Why do I care so much about a person that makes me feel so useless and petty? I hate myself around him. He's everything I want to be, and want to be with. It all feels so far away, I am so utterly undesirable, I have no hope of ever coming to close to being like him.

I've been crying myself to sleep - but I don't know if it's because of the guilt I feel over my consumerist ways, or the unrequited love I have for Jose, or that I'm lost, I don't know WHY it is I'm crying - and therefore what step to take next...

I'm sorry for such a long, and probably very petty post. I doubt I have depression, but my world view has once again come crashing down as it did when I was 12, I just don't know where to go to for support. I have few friends to turn to for help, my parents are so far away (and I just don't feel like I can talk to them at the moment - I see a divorce on the horizon, they have more important things to worry about), and Al - well, Al went ages ago.

In my desperation, I remembered Beliefnet. Just simply writing helped make everything just that tiny bit easier. 

I hope you don't find this too cheeky of me to ask, being an athiest and all. But I sure would appreciate somebody's prayers. I feel so lost. The most simplest right of eating, and I can't bring myself to do it. I can't starve - but I can't possibly eat. I've been sitting my flat for 12 hours just staring. I don't know how to exist with consuming something and it not causing expense at someone else...

The world seems so horrible a place, it makes me ache. I hate it, and cry for it at the same time. I just can't bare to exist in this place any more.

Is this depression?

 
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 04, 2011 - 11:50AM #2
joycon
Posts: 2,788

Hi and welcome back. It seems as if you have done a lot of growing in the 7 years. I am glad for that and being challenged is a good thing usually, until it puts you in a place to neglect your health and well being. You might want to consider getting some real life assistance to help you get back to caring for yourself. Praying for you.

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 05, 2011 - 4:59PM #3
JoyceB53
Posts: 2,368

Hello, Older,

I don't know if I was here at bnet seven years ago or not...um, 2004?  Possibly, but still, I don't remember exactly when I started posting here.  Anyway, welcome back, and I hope you can find some answers here, but sadly, I don't think I can help too much.

You did make a couple statements that hit me, tho.  One of those was words to the effect that you enjoy your own company, prefer being alone, so why are you lonely?  Well, just know that you're not alone in feeling that way.  I live alone, it's something i wanted for the last three or four years of a ten year relationship, and *most* of the time it's what I also prefer.  So why do I become depressed at times, right?   I dunno.  That's all i can say, just, "I dunno."  So, again, you're not alone in feeling like that.

As for not being able to eat, don't let the veganism issue stop you, please.  I've tried the vegan route, can't do it, and won't do it.  No way am I able to give up decent mayo, honey, goat/sheep cheese, or eggs. No way can you convince me that tempeh is a great meat substitute, nor can you make me believe that anyone actually likes that nasty stuff.  For about two years(and several other times during my life), I went vegetarian, but now I'm back to eating a little meat: chicken/turkey, lamb, and fish.  A couple years ago I had some sort of horrific breakdown and couldn't eat or drink much of anything except water and was miserable.  I realized then I was craving meat, so I ate some chicken and rice soup...it was absolutely the best thing I had ever put in my mouth, lol.  So, slowly, I started eating again.  YOU HAVE TO EAT!  It's truly a shame what animals are put thru, I know, and I mean that with all my heart, but over all of that, we, as humans, have to eat in order to survive.  We have to.  So, please, eat.   If you don't want to eat meat, then don't, but don't starve yourself over it, please.  If you do want it, then eat it.  You have to eat in order to stay healthy, and you don't have to eat stuff you don't like or want just to please someone else.  Food is a very private issue, the one thing in our lives we should have total control over. Eat.

Keep coming back, join us on The Front Desk thread, and good luck to you. 

Today is the day that the Lord hath made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it.

---Psalm 118:24
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 06, 2011 - 8:11PM #4
OlderIncubus
Posts: 3

Hi Guys,


 


Thank you so much for your words, thoughts and prayers. Just knowing that someone, somewhere cares, makes everything just that bit easier. Thank you.


 


I'm still feeling so lost. It's not a sadness that makes me want to cry. It's a strong and painful tug. It's an emptiness. It's a hollow ache inside that sinks me downwards and downwards.


 


I'm eating fine at the moment, lots of vegetables, quorn and a bit of fish too. I think what I'm struggling most with is my feelings with Jose (I felt like crying after I ate the fish - I wanted to run to him and apologise). It's as though I don't just care about the meat, it's more how I'm disappointing Jose! Making him dislike me more... And my unrequited adoration for him. It's strange that this hurts more than when I broke up with either of my long term boyfriends? He's just got such a hold over me. I feel so small around him. I feel so pathetic and useless. Undesirable. I feel as though I am nothing in his eyes, and therefore I feel like nothing. As though his opinion is the be all and end all?! WHY, oh, why, do I feel this way about someone who upsets me so?!


 


I'm not sure why I feel lonely, but like to be alone. I like my own company. Maybe I like my own company because I feel safer that way. I don't have to compare myself to anyone, I don't have to worry about what people think of me. But, when I'm on my own, my conclusion is that no-one likes me. The world still goes by, and it knows I'm alone, and lonely, and therefore must be "bad", "sad", "undesirable" person... So, I feel bad? I'm not sure. You were right - I just don't know!


 


What's the Front Desk exactly? I tried looking at it, but got a bit confused! haha


 


 

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 07, 2011 - 1:45AM #5
karbie
Posts: 3,329

This is one group you don't need to worry about judging you harshly--or at all, for that matter. I tell people here more of my life than I do some family members, probably because anything i say won't be held against me or over my head for years to come. I don't think of milk or cheese as being the results of suffering, although you will find less chemicals in goat milk than in cow's milk. When you get eggs or buy chicken, make sure they come from free-range chickens. I'm willing to pay a little extra to know some poor creature spent life in a cage. It surprised my daughter-in-law when I could not only tell her where to find free-range chicken but what brands.


I'm lucky, because there are large Amish/Mennonite communities and the produce is great. If you hate the idea of someone working in Hellish conditions to pick your vegetables for you, look around to see if there are any you-pick farms or farmer's markets close enough to be feasible. I can't do it now, but I used to do a lot of canning and if we didn't grow it, we at least got right from a farm. Ask the Great Vegan where he gets his food on his next tirade. As for eggs--if you buy them, they weren't going to turn into chickens, honey. My Great-Grandfather was a grocer and he taught Mother how to candle the eggs they got in trade so only infertile eggs were sold. The others were put in an incubator and went back to a farm.


I don't think I was here as much 7 years ago, and I am not saying what I'm about to say for any purpose but that of an outside observer. You've just gotten out of a relationship where you had to change everything about yourself for the sake of making the other person at least not go further downhill. You suffocated yourself until you finally had to let go in order to survive. During this dark period, you put this other man on a pedestal, fantasizing a relationship with him.


The person you imagined was probably not a brow-beating obnoxious Vegan snob who considered the rest of us omnivores as uncivilized, soulless primitives, unable to understand the 'sufferings" of everything we eat. And here you are, feeling guilty about a freezer with meat in it which  you liked and can't really afford to throw out. You won't win his approval for throwing it away. (If you really decide you just can't eat any of it, donate it to a soup kitchen and help your fellow human beings.) What I'm trying to say is that you seem to be on the threshold of changing everything about yourself again for a man.


If they are such a bad fit that the only way to keep the relationship going, or keep it going is to submerge all of your own wants, needs, personality--that's too heavy a price to pay. Only someone supremely  self-absorbed is this concerned with making the whole world conform to them. He sounds like he's gotten up on his soapbox, and instead of giving you some alternative ideas, suggestions, recipes--in other words, helpful, constructive things to try--has just made you feel like a horrible person. You aren't. I can be wrong, but I think that milk, cheese and infertile eggs weren't going to grow up to be an animal for us to torture.


 We became 'civilized" when we first became farmers. When we tamed animals to plow our fields, we were able to grow enough food to have a surplus that we could trade with others who grew or made things we wanted. In return, we fed the animals and risked our own lives to keep predators from carrying them off and killing them. Depending on where you live, humans are still part of the food chain. Bears, tigers, wolves, mountain lions, alligators, crocodiles, sharks,etc. don't seem to worry too much about what they consume and at least we kill something before we start chewing.


You've put this time aside to get to find out who you are. I don't care how gorgeous this guy is, but I find his approach and the way he's browbeating you over your diet as multiple red flags that he isn't Mr. Wonderful. You might be surprised at what some of the Security you work with know and read.They all accept you and like you for who you are and seem to care about your happiness.


Anyone you meet who thinks you would be great if only you'd change this.....or you think would be great if only they changed that..isn't a recipe for a good relationship. If something central needs to be overhauled, it would be best to just be friends. More marriages and other relationships go bad or cause enormous damage when either or both of the parties are sure that they can make over the other person. Or that they can change themselves to make someone else be happy, cheer up, or worst of all "Make- them- see -things- my -way." I've tried that and as you found out in your last relationship, it can make you feel trapped and soul-sick.


I like you. You are bright, intelligent, and obviously a very caring person. I'm gald that you've come back to beliefnet and I hope you hang around with us more.

"You are letting your opinion be colored by facts again."
'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
these are both from my father.
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 10, 2011 - 8:33PM #6
OlderIncubus
Posts: 3

Wow, Karble. That was excellent! I've not visited for a few days, and I've just been sat on the sofa sinking and sinking into a bad, dark state. Decided it was probably a good idea to go to bed, only to find I couldn't sleep. I was wide awake and crying and I couldn't stop it. It's 1am where I am, so I couldn't call anyone. Luckily, I remembered Bnet, logged on, and there was your reply, and I am so grateful it was there - I've stopped crying, in fact, I'm smiling, and I reckon I've calmed myself down enough to have a quick nap (before work at 6am!)


 


But not before I get some thoughts down...I'm easing off my meat for the time being, but also my Vegan ideas. I'm eating cheese/eggs, drinking milk. But instead, I'm just being far more aware of my "levels" of consumerism. I need food - I just need to purchase something that has potentially had the most minimal inpact on another living things life? I've discovered Quorn, and it's brilliant! I'm making more of an effort to visit my local (vegan/vege inspired) fruit and veg shop, as opposed to the all powerful tesco's that's a little bit closer.


 


Regarding my approach to, well, men, you're right! It's all so obvious! In those few paragraphs, it is just so clear! I think I've known for a long time, but seeing it written down just makes it all so much clearer. I am changing myself for a man - for others! All others! Whilst that in it's self is upsetting I;


a) can't seem to control it - I have fallen for this guy, and all I want to do is make him like me (which I hate 'typing' out loud - I feel so juvinile! It's like a teenage crush!) I despise this hold he has over me. Why?! (I'll admit - you were wrong about one thing, he isn't even that good looking! Haha. Not that I was ever one to care about looks mind...) He is quite mean, and he can be very arrogant. And these are qualities I dislike. So why, oh, why, do I like him so?!


Anyway, b) I don't know what the original 'me' likes anyway? Who am I? What do I want/like/hate/need/believe in? And how do I go about finding this out?


 


It makes such a difference just knowing that someone, somewhere out there in this huge and beautiful and miracle of a planet cares. I just want you to know how grateful I am, and I like you too :-) So thank you, thank you so much

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3 years ago  ::  Aug 11, 2011 - 1:59AM #7
JoyceB53
Posts: 2,368

Older, it took me several years of dating to finally realize that I had to stop changing...or trying to change...myself for each new man.  It finally dawned on me that WHO I was when he met me and liked me had to be enough.  When I did make changes to meet what I thought, or what he vocally told me, he wanted, then suddenly I wasn't the same woman he had met and liked so much.  So, I started staying 'me.'   Even so, my track record with men really sucks, but heck, now I don't even care, lol.  I live alone, and for the most part, it's wonderful this way.

I've tried Quorn, and don't like it much at all.  OTOH, the Morningstar Grillers are great, and their breakfast "sausage" is wonderful, seriously tastes like real sausage.  One thing you might like to do as far as being a vegetarian goes(not vegan, just veggie)is to either buy or make Seitan.  There are some really good "lunch meats" made from seitan...or at least, I think so.  In the meantime, eat what you're comfortable with.

Today is the day that the Lord hath made; we shall rejoice and be glad in it.

---Psalm 118:24
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3 years ago  ::  Aug 12, 2011 - 4:59PM #8
karbie
Posts: 3,329

Here's an idea--make a lot of soups. If you want a rich broth base for vegetable soup, Mother uses V-8 tomato beef , although just the original works well. I used to load up the crockpot for soup if I was going to be out for most of the day, and when the weather is as hot as this Summer has been it keeps the kitchen cool. Another short-cut is to nuke the vegetables in the microwave so they are almost finished  when you are using the stove. That way you can produce a soup in an hour that tastes like it has been simmering for hours. I'd get one vegetable prepped, and be at work on the next one while the microwave cooked the other.


If you want to impress this guy and can bring your own lunch, bring in a salad with surprise ingredients. Spinach, broccoli slaw, raisins or other dried fruit, leaf lettuce and pecans or even peanuts instead of just the plain garden salad should make his eyes pop. Believe it or not, broccoli is high in calcium. I can't drink milk, so I was looking for every possible food that contained calcium and how to make sure I'd absorb as much as possible ages ago when I was pregnant. Turkey is high in calcium as well but would get you a lecture.


As to him not really being handsome, I'm going to quote a friend of mine about her husband:"I fell in love with his mind--the rest of him just came along with it." We had introduced them, and while there were some rough patches, they were married for almost 20 years before she died.


for this guy, or any other...remember all the boys/men who say they'll call you and never do, or worse don't call you again after one date. I remember all those times my girlfriends and i cried, going over each word to figure out what we'd done wrong. We never came close to the "workings" of the male mind. We went on a double date when we introduced them; we did dinner and a comedy club. After that we went back to her apartment for coffee and cocoa, and it was obvious they hit it off well. He told her that he would call her. All the way back he kept talking about how wonderful she was, how pretty, how he couldn't believe that someone hadn't snapped her up yet...and just in the driveway, he finished with "She'd never go out with someone like me. I won't call her." Excuse me? You promised my friend, who let you in to her apartment that you would call her. While it answered why we went through torment as teens, it infuriated me as well.


So don't beat yourself up; the short version is that there are a lot of jerks out there, and probably a few men who reject first to escape being hurt. Apparently Mr V is one of those guys with charisma and lots of  male pheromones in the air. The last man you were with had low self-esteem and this guy has it coming out the wazoo. He's the exact opposite of the last man. No wonder you find him attractive...and while he's lecturing you, it probably makes you feel like he cares about your well-being and health.  I hope for your sake that he does. If not, here's a saying I've revised: "Tis better to have loved and lost, than married someone and been bossed."


Right now you don't have to defer to anyone about what your meal is going to be and when, what show you are going to watch, or share a bathroom. My husband watches a lot of WWII shows and so far the Germans keep losing every time and so do the Japanese. You have no in-laws to deal with, and the money the government lets us have from our paychecks belongs just to you. If you are comfortable in your own skin, it's easier to be around other people and you'll draw others to you. I wish you happiness, with or without a man.

"You are letting your opinion be colored by facts again."
'When I want your opinion, I'll give it to you."
these are both from my father.
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