How Do You Know Something Is A Problem?

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That's why I asked what "normal" means to you. It does seem to mean different things to different people. With respect to this, I'm pretty sure there are things I think are "normal" that some people might think are "problems". I'd have to agree, not being able to get out of bed is a big problem.
I really don't see that. I don't have any perception of "being robbed" of anything. I have no connection to the idea of have missed anything, or needing anything I didn't get. I have no particular feelings about it at all, as long as I don't have to deal with my mother. LOL So, if there's a "problem" there, someplace, how do I recognize it?

That my friend is sweet denial. Unfortunately I spend most of my time in denial so I'm certainly not judging.
Do you see denial as a problem for me? Do you think maybe if I found a way to stop the denial, I would have a more fulfilled life?
I find denial a problem. I feel like those things happened to someone else and maybe I think that stops me from feeling the pain. Does it or does it morph into fears that are not rational. These fears stop me from making friends or over react to some situations. Then I hide. I hide behind my irrationality and say I have no feelings about my past. I just don't like or trust people.

That just might be a problem.
If I don't mind, it doesn't matter!!!" (And why would I want stuff to matter?)

Your choice of words is very interesting. To me anyway. I will answer your question first. Why would you want "stuff" to matter?
Because it's your "stuff" and you are stuffing it by saying it doesn't matter and your stuff does matter because You Matter!
So you should mind because you do matter.
Maybe you have told yourself for so long it doesn't matter because you were not treated as you mattered. You matter very much.
It probably IS denial. But, for instance, I don't just say I have no feelings about my childhood, I actually have no feelings, or minimal feelings. It was what it was, I made it out. So it's hard to see it as either denial OR a problem. It just was what it was. Could have been better, but certainly could have been worse. For me, it doesn't morph into fears as much as it probably leads to some inaccurate ways of looking at things. My first problem is, most likely, recognizing the problem. Which, I think, is where he was going when he asked me how I knew something was a problem. LOL
Sometimes I think I'm really good at seeing problems ... but I'm not good at being sure if it's a "real" problem or just my problem.

With people problems, I think a lot of that feeling has to do with my interpretation of what another person's intent is OR the fear that it's perfectly normal and I'm just missing something and/or being paranoid/irrational.

And THAT second part is crazy-making. Literally. It's like I'm my own abuser's understudy ...

I really like the point made about two kinds of problems and three possible solutions. That feels manageable.

What I'm also learning is that when it comes to people problems, assertiveness doesn't deal so much with right, wrong, fair, or unfair. I've been stuck on the "is he/she right?" or "is it fair of me to ask ...?"

In reality, it's just about saying some form of: "[this thing] is something that feels bad, and I need [that thing] instead or we need to find another solution that works for both of us. I'd really like to work together to resolve this, but if that's not possible I have the option of resolving it myself by walking away."

It doesn't matter if [this thing] is technically right or wrong or a "problem" by anyone else's definition. Seems simple ... but it blew my mind for a couple of days.

And situational problems? They don't usually get to me. I think it's easier for me to accept those problems because there's no one blame (or to be a victim of). Then again, I don't believe in a benevolent or malevolent universe or that "the universe hates me" ... I think it's just ... the universe, blind and indifferent.

I think that was a great question!! How someone approaches the answer is telling. I didn't even think about situational problems when I read it, ergo, for me, the underlying belief is that "problems" involve other people, fault, and intention. I did not know that about myself when I started replying.

Thanks for posting!!
So I got home a little while ago. As I was walking out his office door, T hands me a sheet of paper (homework) and says, "I've been working on this awhile but had time to finish and print it out this morning." Guess what it's about. :shifty:
When it disrupts your life to some smaller or greater degree, it is a problem. When it upsets you or throws you off or interrupts something good that is going on, it is a problem.

The same thing that one day does not bother you, can some other day drive you nuts! So it to some degree depends upon your state of mind as to whether it is a problem or not, and to what degree.
In a case like that, where some days it bothers you and some it doesn't, maybe the problem isn't the thing at all, maybe it's how you're looking at it. How do you decide that?
That comes down to how negative we are feeling or not.
So then the question might be: is it really a problem or is it our attitude?
Some things are only a problem because of our belief / attitude whatever.
For example, the way most women have a problem with their body image.
An anorexic will see themselves as fat. The size of their body is not the problem but the way it is viewed by its owner.
Some might say they have no problem because admitting there is a problem opens a Pandora'a Box and they want to avoid that so no problem, no box to open. The same person might want to heal. They know there is so much more life out there to live and experience. They want that so much but they want it without opening the box. Which will they choose?

Think of something you know absolutely not to be true about you. Something you are sure of and if someone said it about you, to you or someone else you would laugh and say, "that's just silly" and it wouldn't bother you in the least because you know it's simply not true. There is something if you really think about it.

Let's say if it got back to you someone said you were an animal abuser. plain old crazy, you might not even own a pet or take well enough care of those you do, you know this is plain old bull. You KNOW this about yourself.
The problem is when we don't know ourselves and we question our truth. That opens us up to manipulation of others.
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