How to overcome self-pity?

Gwaihir

MyPTSD Pro
Hi Forum dwellers,

I need some advice. First there is something I have to get out of the way.
Namely, that feeling empathy for yourself is good. Understanding and patience are good. Compassion is good.

But that´s not what this is. There are specific days were I feel so extremely sorry for myself, I can´t do anything.
The way to explain it is like this: I revert back to a childlike state, and any adult portion of me simply fails to show up.

The childlike state feels so, so, so sorry for itself and it wants to feel miserable and wallow in the pain.
It feels that it never got a chance to feel self-pity back during the trauma (15 years ago) and so it feels like it deserves the chance to do that now.

When I feel self-pity I do not even try to "chin up" and be brave so I can protect myself from triggers.
I simply feel: "I don´t have to try, I am a child". So I feel justified in simply giving up and not face the present.

I have tried looking online to see if people deal with it, but it does not apply to me.
In the sense that these websites are always talking about mild cases of self-pity that are easy to overcome.

Looking forward to your opinions.

Gwaihir
 
I think self-pity is absolutely justified in our cases ... as long as it doesn't harm us. If you're taking days off to feel bad and then getting back up the next day with no ill effects, and the number of your self-pity days aren't increasing, then I honestly don't see a problem. Sometimes I really think we just have to go through this, especially if it's something we were never allowed to do before.

When I was a kid, "you're just feeling sorry for yourself" was always the phrase used by my dad to get me to stop crying. Guess how well that worked - it did nothing except to fuel toxic shame. But when I allowed myself to really feel sad for myself, it opened up a new world for me - a world of grief. Grief sucks, but it is necessary to feel it in order to heal.

This is just my own experience and YMMV.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I agree with @somerandomguy .

Maybe let your little child feel sorry for themselves. They need it? It was crappy what happened and they couldn't bexperience that then. But adult you can honour little you by letting that emotion happen?

Is there something little you likes to do on those days? Or something adult you can show little you? That might help?

But is self pity a bad thing? Is it a little child grieving?
 

Gwaihir

MyPTSD Pro
Ok guys, I sort of expected this, that´s why I said that self-pity in my case is NOT the same thing as empathy.
Empathy and compassion build one up. Understanding builds one up.

Wallowing in misery, for the sake of wallowing in misery, gets me from a state where I am sort-of-okay, to a state where I self-harm.
You guys are telling me that it´s fine to feel sorry for yourself - well, I think, to be perfectly honest, that´s BS.

Pity for yourself - compassion and such - is good when it promotes healing and actually works FOR you.
Clearly my condition is working AGAINST me. Why would you guys enable it? Enabling sometimes is worse than disabling.

If anything, this gets us to a discussion why traumatized people so often want to comfort and accommodate.
PS. I´m sorry I´m getting mad, but I need some help and this is not helping :P
 
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Sorry, I can only write about what's helped me. I don't think encouraging you to to feel bad for yourself once in awhile is enabling you. But take what's helpful and leave the rest.

You may wish to explore what's causing your anger at fellow sufferers who have been through the same thing and have told you what's helped them. You sound pretty angry at yourself, but that's none of my business. Over and out.
 

Friday

Moderator
You guys are telling me that it´s fine to feel sorry for yourself
Nope.

Or at least I wasn’t.

I meant my question completely directly. Is self pity something you CAN do as an adult?

- Because if not? Then it’s no wonder why it gets so out of control. (And that leads to a whole new series of questions). The same way someone who shoves all of their anger away, and never learns to manage it, so they have no self control, & become giant exploding rage bombs.

- But if so? The that leads to a completely different series of questions.

As...
I simply feel: "I don´t have to try, I am a child". So I feel justified in simply giving up and not face the present.
...begs the question.

so, TBH, does the reverse. (Do you believe children don’t try, or don’t have to try, in other areas? Or is it specific to this one?) Since when breaking down core beliefs it’s usually more useful to look at all sides of it, than just one. But where my mind went first was, alrighty... but what about when you’re an adult?

(apologies, I keep dropping my internet connect and losing half my edit/draft. So this has come in pieces.).
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Then you need to talk to a therapist?

We don't know your whole story. Nor are we therapists.

No one is enabling self harm or anything that hurts you (you didn't say it escalates to self harm in your initial post). Just giving opinions that you said you welcomed.

If it doesn't help, I'm sorry about that.
 

Deanna

MyPTSD Pro
Fifteen years ago would mean your trauma was around the holidays. The holidays suck all by themselves without PTSD. I would try talking to a therapist about medication. If the adult you, can't help the child you, ( as Friday talked about) you're in the rabbit hole with no rope.
 

Gwaihir

MyPTSD Pro
so, TBH, does the reverse.

Thanks Friday, I misinterpreted.

That´s quite helpful! It never occurred to me to see the "child" version of me as powerful. But they DID overcome all of that trauma. You´ve basically put everything in a total opposite perspective, thank you!!

Somerandomguy, I do appreciate you guys, and the investment it takes to write a reaction and think along. I also said sorry about getting mad, and I meant it.
My anger is directed at my own belief that I suck, which tends to lead me into giving up and then into feeling sorry for myself.

The anger is actually a friend in this case, as it is looking out for me: I do not need to feel sorry for myself in the first place, because I CAN be strong.
For me, and how I see it, this particular anger is actually helpful - precisely because it helps me break this feeling of "I can´t".

So I hope that´s valuable, your comments did help me see that.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Thanks Friday, I misinterpreted.

That´s quite helpful! It never occurred to me to see the "child" version of me as powerful. But they DID overcome all of that trauma. You´ve basically put everything in a total opposite perspective, thank you!!

Somerandomguy, I do appreciate you guys, and the investment it takes to write a reaction and think along. I also said sorry about getting mad, and I meant it.
My anger is directed at my own belief that I suck, which tends to lead me into giving up and then into feeling sorry for myself.

The anger is actually a friend in this case, as it is looking out for me: I do not need to feel sorry for myself in the first place, because I CAN be strong.
For me, and how I see it, this particular anger is actually helpful - precisely because it helps me break this feeling of "I can´t".

So I hope that´s valuable, your comments did help me see that.
Yeah, anger is an energy that can be used to channel yourself and break through certain mindsets. I hope you feel better soon.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Gwaihir hope this isn't all over the place, as it's bits and pieces of what I know. Your post reminded me of something I tried to look up for another and have to go to a different thread and post.

You said:

It feels that it never got a chance to feel self-pity back during the trauma (15 years ago) and so it feels like it deserves the chance to do that now.
but

Wallowing in misery, for the sake of wallowing in misery, gets me from a state where I am sort-of-okay, to a state where I self-harm.

Idk and don't relate about child-states, but just to say, yes I think it's actually critical to grieve (or what more specifically in my experience was to actually, for a moment, feel enough compassion for myself looking back from an adult as I would for any child that age). And, as you and @Survivor3 (& my mom said 😊 ) ~'anger can be the beginning of courage', a vehicle for positive change.

I was also reminded that for those of us without self-compassion that it is common to experience self-hatred +/or self-rejection in response to trying to have compassion for ourselves. It is considered the missing link as to why CBT only goes so far- the words are agreed with but the feeling can't be accepted as reality.

If you are interested, David Burns has a lot of (free) stuff on the CBT (TEAM) model, though much escapes me, and Dr Paul Gilbert has CFT (Compassion Focused Therapy), in which he says we are driven by the threat or drive or self-soothing systems. (And here it sounds you may be internally rejecting the self sooth one). Also, it is actually impossible for a baby/ small child to self-sooth- it has to come externally. So wondering if an emotional FB? Regardless, he said we have to learn to allow others to help us self-sooth (reduce the threat response) if we want to get better at it.

Good luck and Happy New Year! :)
 
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