Friday, April 20, 2018

Feeling Trapped?

I'M INNOCENT!!!

Poor Jack...his "imprisonment" of cage-life will be over in a week, then he has his sweet freedom. :)

Interesting comparison, but sometimes I feel like I have lost my freedom lately.

I am someone who is constantly in the process of self-improvement, self-therapy and healing. Way back when, I used to deny everything and brush it under the rug...filling the void with shopping, alcohol and eating. I was bitter, unhealthy, obese and broke. I hated my life but didn't know how to change it...or maybe I was just in a comfortable rut and didn't have the strength to try? I don't know...Dr. Phil had a very straightforward way of putting it..."How's that workin' for ya?"...in my years of depression recovery, I watched a LOT of Oprah and Dr. Phil! :)

But it's so true...how IS that workin' for ya? If something isn't working, why not change it? Of course, some things aren't easily changed due to emotional attachment, financial responsibilities, health challenges and so on...but nobody is really trapped are they? Nobody can control our thoughts and emotions as long as we don't let them.



We've become a society of complacency. Whatever the status quo dictates, a lot of people feel that's the way it should be. It ISN'T how it should be. Our lives should be led the way we want to lead them, end of story.

Most of my friends know our dog situation. As we get closer to the imposed deadline we gave to Stella and Pavlov's owner (Sunday the 22nd), I've been getting antsy, resentful, distrustful and very cautious. The last seven months of taking care of his dogs, his lies, his stalling, the stress it's caused, my routines and habits broken...it's gotten to me. Not only to I feel great sympathy and compassion for those two dogs whose lives have been so up and down the last four years...I feel betrayed. I really feel betrayed and I'm angry about it.

I've been reading so many articles lately on how to overcome feeling trapped. I've really been working on myself this week and have come up with these 7 ways to help you "un-trap" yourself and live a more joyful life:

1. Take responsibility: Are you feeling like a victim? Is someone or some memory of the past ruling your life and choices? What is stopping you from creating change? Happiness only comes when you step up and own your life. When you realize that (as an adult) your life is all about your own choices...you really become empowered...or overwhelmed...but it really is about choice.

2. Baby steps: What do you need to change? What little changes can you make each day to regain your confidence and make this change? Some things can't be changed all at once! Some things need gradual changes with small steps ahead, sometimes a few back too. If we rush into change like a bull in a china shop, we risk failing and giving up.

3. Crap I don't need: Make a list of everything in your life that you are doing out of obligation or that you really don't want to do. Why are you doing this? Time to escape the crap...write down what you need to do to remove this from your life. I have a "crap" list...it's so much smaller than it used to be thankfully!

4. The heck with others: Do you care too much about your image? About what others think of you? Do you put other people's emotions before your own emotions? Do you go along with what others want and neglect yourself, your relationship or your family? Be courageous...put your feelings first. Are you trying to impress people at the expense of your own happiness? Time to stop that and figure out why you need approval from others; the only person you need to impress is yourself.

5. Stop being a hero: Are you a people pleaser? Do you feel like you must always say YES!? Create and enforce boundaries to make your own life less stressful. Boundaries is such a buzz word, but honestly it's sound advice. Decide what you will and will not put up with and stick to your decision. I have been bad with boundaries in the past, and it takes a lot of courage and confidence to enforce them, but once you do, your life really does improve. I had iffy boundaries with family members who were abusive...I let them get away with too much and I was miserable. I finally enforced my boundaries, though it was tough...I am a much better person for it.

6. What if?: Do you suffer this syndrome? Ask yourself, what if the worst thing happens? What can I do about it? Usually the answer is "nothing" so stop with the what ifs! All it does is cause self-doubt and worry. We don't need that!

7. Feed your spirit: Most people link spirituality with organized religion. If organized religion is what keeps your faith strong, I respect you for it even if I don't share your belief because faith, no matter what form it takes, is a wonderful thing! :) But if you don't have a religion, it's still important to feed your spirit, your life force...do what makes your entire being feel blessed, happy and grateful. Do this daily. When your spirit soars, you can't possibly feel trapped.

I'm journaling like a mad woman these days but it's really helping me see perspective and not let all the turmoil be the center of my thoughts and emotions. I hope this post was helpful. :)

25 comments:

MrsDuncanMahogany said...

Dear Rain, I hope this ordeal is over for you very soon. I can only imagine how much this has impacted your life and your well being. I am keeping fingers crossed that Sunday brings much welcome news.

Rain said...

Oh thank you Dianna xx...you know how hard it's been. I'm keeping my head up...Alex too...it's really affecting our spirits. We will have to just endure until Sunday, though we are on egg shells right now. If things turn to crap on Sunday, we'll just deal with it one step at a time. :)

wisps of words said...

Please... Stop being a hero... Stop letting *friends* impose on you... Stop taking responsibility for other's things, even dogs... Stop being "understanding"..... Stop being a "door mat"..... Stop being sucked in, by emotional blackmail....

I still fear that this slacker so-called-friend, will try to make you keep his dogs.

Will play on your goodness.

Will make you feel, that YOU are responsible for their quality of life.

I fear that he will continue to take advantage of you.

But, which is the most important? Your health? Your plans? Your dreams? Or...... 2 dogs?

Horribly hard question. But I fear, you will HAVE to answer it.

-sigh-

Many, many hugs...

Pam Jackson said...

I know you feel for those two babes and I know it will hurt you to let them go, but you also know that the last seven months have been hard with them there....so you just have to let go. Keep on with the journal. You will be fine.

Martha said...

This is such an excellent post, Rain! So much useful and helpful information. I believe we can all take our power back from whatever/whoever is keeping it hostage. It is definitely easier said than done, especially if we’re conditioned to living a certain way, but it’s not impossible. At one point it’s important to ask ourselves what we need to be happy. Over time we get into a rut and we develop learned helplessness. We feel like we can’t change our situation, which is not always the case. Sometimes we just believe we can’t. Or sometimes it’s because change requires effort and sacrifices and challenges that we might not have the energy or motivation for. And it might seem easier to just continue as we are. But if we are not living life in a way that brings us peace and joy, it can end up leading to circumstantial depression. Our circumstances make us feel empty and sad and helpless, and even angry.

Your list of ‘7 ways to help you un-trap yourself’ is excellent! I practice all of them but not always at full capacity. Sometimes I feel completely empowered and other times I don’t. But that’s okay. Some days even baby steps are fine as long as I’m constantly moving forward. As I get older, all this gets easier and easier. We are raised a certain way and it can take time to shed some of the things we were taught that don’t work for us. Setting boundaries and saying ‘no’ took quite a bit of leg work but now I don’t have an issue with it. It is not the easiest thing to do, especially with people that feel entitled or have expectations of you. These types of people cannot and will not accept no gracefully and you have to accept that it’s going to get ugly when you don’t give them what they want. Earlier this year, I said ‘no I will not do that’ to a request and was told how cold, selfish, uncaring and heartless I am. And that I’ve always been that way. I was stunned! And it took a lot of soul searching to realize that this said more about that person than it said about me. But the good thing is that I didn’t give in. In fact, I dug my heels in a little deeper because it’s vital. Setting boundaries is one thing, reinforcing them is another. I’ll give you more details about this story when I continue my email saga :)

Anyhow, I’m rambling again... I am sorry for all this stress you have gone through and continue to go through. I really hope that things go well this weekend. Of course you feel betrayed! How could you not? Someone has taken advantage of your good nature, the empathy you have, the sensitive soul that you are. You have every right to feel all that you feel. But please take care of yourself, your health. And I’m always here, Rain, to listen. Always. Reach out whenever you need to vent!

Rain said...

Thanks Wisps of Words :) It looks like things will work out after all. Tomorrow we get the details. If it comes down to making the difficult choice, we will make it. After tomorrow, there will be no question as to whether he comes back or not. He's lost us as a friend and we won't help him out anymore. He's burned bridges all of the world it seems and I think we were his last one at this point, though he still has his mom who takes care of him. Grown man too...I just want to close this chapter sooner than later so that Alex and I have time to recover, heal and sort out all the negative feelings that this guy brought out in us. Thanks for your support! :) xx

Rain said...

Thanks Pam :) It will be hard to let them go, definitely. But I am happy that we gave them a good home and lots of love! They gave us lots of love, fun and entertainment too. :) I'm journaling every morning and night now...it's a very good outlet! Thank you for your support as always...it does mean to much! xx

Rain said...

Thanks Martha :) I was reading about learned helplessness the other day actually. I had some of that going on after burning out and felt trapped in my circumstance. I don't want to go there again that's for sure. Thank you for your support, it means so much!

This situation, as Dianna mentioned above, has made a huge impact...I guess both good and bad, it was a lesson for sure, in many ways. I learned that 3 dogs is all I can handle. I learned that past behaviour indicates future behaviour. I learned that giving someone like that the benefit of the doubt will always be a risk and it's a risk I not longer care to take. But I also learned how much dogs rely on the humans who have domesticated them and that I gave those two so much love and security where someone else wouldn't have. :) I feel proud of myself and Alex, we did the right thing. We were taken advantage of but not once did this impact how we treated those dogs. Alex got an FB message yesterday from him that no matter what, he is coming latest first week of May to pick up the dogs, either him or one of his friends. At this point, it sound believable, but I'm distrustful still. Tomorrow we'll get some finer details. This situation is nearly over, I'm anxious to get my life back...but I will miss those two, especially Pavlov, he's really velcroed himself to me during the last year (in June we had him 6 weeks too)...he needs his "mommy" lol... :)

Constantly moving forward is key for me too, even if the steps are minute. I just don't want to stay stagnant. Of course, I have my pity party days, and we all need to do that to release negative energy, but then swift action must come, and not too long after the pity party!! Boundaries are always things I've had a terrible time with. I know why, it has to do with childhood and trying to please the un-pleasable people in my life. Just knowing this doesn't change the automatic response in me though, so this is a tough issue I'm working on with baby steps. Oh gosh...I can kind of imagine what you're talking about, stunning is right! What a blow to your feelings...but you are right, it does say more about that person than it does of you. Some people can't accept the boundaries you place and they lash out at you for them. It sucks because despite the fact that you are doing the right thing for yourself, it still stings. Ramble on my friend :) And same goes for you, email me any time if you want to keep rambling. :)

Magic Love Crow said...

You have to feed your spirit! That's what is keeping your body going! This is such a great post Rain!!! I truly hope the situation with the dogs, all come out well!
I read once, that "people pleasers", attract "takers". No more people pleasing for me!
Once you truly take care of you, it is amazing other "things", don't bother you. I don't know how to explain it? You can still be a loving person, to someone who is going through something, but you don't have to take it on, does that make sense?
Keep being you Rain!!!! You're doing great!
Big Hugs!

Nas said...

Awesome words of wisdom. Yes, and you have to take your own advice. No one can keep saying yes all the time.

Rain said...

Hi Magic Love Crow :) The situation with the dogs seems solved! I'll post about that this week, but I have to say I'm instantly encouraged and feeling lighter. :) I think you're right about people pleasers attracting takers, it's happened to me most definitely. It's a hard thing to overcome though, but it's possible with small steps! It makes sense what you say. It's hard for me not to feel what others feel though, I have that empath side to me and it can be very overwhelming, but it's also something I'm working on every day. I have to remind myself that the feelings I have aren't mine at times, they belong to someone else and I can't hold them for anyone. I have enough trouble with my own emotions lol! ;)

Rain said...

Hi Nas :) Thank you for visiting! :) Being a "yes" person is NOT a good thing, you end up becoming a self-imposed martyr and live in misery, always feeling used. I stopped doing that a long time ago, but I still have weak moments, especially when it comes to animals in need. :)

John M said...

Very good list

Jono said...

These are all good, but I can't do ALL of them at once. Little bits at a time will be good.

Pam Jackson said...

Good morning Rain, just wanted to stop in and say hi and I hope all is going well.

Nicolas Hall said...

Rain, so much to mull over here. I just wanted to say this for now. Boundaries. . . the best advice I ever received in my life was about setting boundaries and it was also the hardest thin I've ever learned to do. It's an understatement to say that I would not be living the creative life I do or have the time to care for myself if had not learned that lesson.

And I wanted to speak to the "status quo" because my mother and were discussing this when I was home visiting last month. She had a very interesting perspective which was that, in three generations, hers, mine and the 20 somethings of today, there has been such a shift in the consciousness of what is "status quo" and what makes one happy.

In her day, as she put it, "we all had very little and no window into the outside world or what was even out there. We didn't feel like we were missing out on anything. The status quo was having a good job, a family and a roof over your heads."

Now, today. It seems everyone has access to see everything in the world via the internet. Good in many ways but it also seems to breed a constant looking outside of ourselves and a doubling of the "if only I could have/be" which seems to create a feeling of scarcity while, at the same time, fostering an overwhelming malaise as far as people getting up off their backsides and going out (or staying in) and making things happen in their actual lives. And it seems the status quo is all about getting us to never be satisfied. When the health and beauty market is a billion dollar industry, what does that tell you? It seems to be all about making us feel we need to constantly be "fixing" something and no longer about being satisfied and enjoying what we have, who we are, what surrounds us. . .

Of course, that's just one take on it but having grown up at the very beginning of that information age, I was subject to it too. Now I've gone full reversal. Less is more. Simplicity is bliss. Boundaries are gold. I am so happy that I had the opportunity to have a foot in both worlds for awhile as I grew up and was able to make a choice before I tumbled headlong into the never-satisfied world that was always lurking near by. :)

Thank you, as always Rain, for sharing YOUR thoughts and stirring so many in return. :)

Nicolas Hall said...

Separately, in regards to the situation with the dogs and the person who has taken such advantage of your goodness and kind hearts: I am SO glad that is to be resolved soon for you and Alex! It must be a terrible trial to have been put upon and lied to so often and then to have grown closer to those two dogs even though it was too much too handle. As we all know it's their innocent selves that suffer fro the lack of care or concern or responsibility from their human owners. Those dogs were sooooo lucky to have you two to foster them for this period. Please see that in and amongst all the turmoil!! You were a grace and a gift to them. :)

And people pleasers are always the target for the emotional vampires and the takers. My own boundary work came from that exact sort of scenario as well. I'll stilled anything for anyone when I can but on my terms now and never at the expense of my own well-being or self-care time.

Ok, now I've rambled far too long. . . :)

Rain said...

Thanks John :)

Rain said...

Hi Jono :) Yes, baby steps...too much too soon doesn't work for me either!

Rain said...

Hi Pam :) Thanks for stopping in...things are busy but looking up! :)

Rain said...

Hi Nicolas :) Thank you!!! :) I agree that boundaries are a difficult one. I was brought up as a people pleaser, so I naturally want to do all I can to make a person happy. When I suffer from it though, that's when I realize that I'm not good at setting boundaries. It's difficult, but I'm learning little by little. I have a forgiving nature, but again, sometimes too much so.

Interesting thoughts about the status quo. And I love your rambles! :) I completely agree about the internet age. It fosters an instant gratification lifestyle, one that is definitely doomed for disappointment. I have been slowly but surely easing away from technology, though I still do appreciate it a lot. Both Alex and I are also in reverse...less is definitely more, and we love our simple, frugal and quiet lives. We keep moving towards more solitude and simplicity too. It's a wonderful way to live!

The dog situation left my heart broken and I'm still healing. They will be gone on the 14th of May. I'm happy because I need my life back, but so sad because it's been nearly 8 months now that both Alex and I have really bonded with them and it's heart-wrenching to say goodbye. They are sweet souls and deserve a stable and loving home. We are proud to say that we gave that to them, if only for 8 months though. Once that person picks up the dogs, we are not planning to have him a part of our lives ever again. He left us feeling betrayed and disappointed, and I find it a shame. We will have some healing to do as well.

baili said...

first of all i am so sorry to be late for this excellent post dear Rain!

and trsut me it is never intentional

i think we all are TRAPPED in the dark wells created by our self consciousness

i am glad you were able to came out of it and dared to acknowledge the weak points and decided to work upon them

i always get inspiration from your positive attitude and strength to deal with all the negativity that invade on your nerves and you push it away with your amazing skills of "business " which is best as treatment for stress ,either i find it worth applying in dull moods and it works

anyhow time has passed and your test is going to be over now and i really hope that you will feel more free and happy after hand the pets over to man they belong

what matter most is the understanding of problem you are dealing with and step forward to solve it and this is your brilliance that you are doing best here

best wishes and warm tight hugs!!!

Rain said...

Hi Baili :) I have been in the same boat lately, I feel like I've lost touch with my Blogger friends because I haven't found extra time to do my daily catching up! And you're right, this is like a test on my nerves and I also think on my integrity. Life isn't set, we have to deal with things that pop up on a daily basis that messes up our entire routines and our plans! But I've found that wallowing in the anger and staying put in the problem just doesn't work at all. I have to be a little pro-active about things or I really do suffer emotionally. Thanks for your wonderful comment! :)

Fundy Blue said...

This is a helpful and inspiring post, Rain. I've really struggled with people pleasing and setting boundaries in the past. I'm slowly improving. I'm a big believer in baby steps! I'm working on fitness right now and trying to lose some weight. I can't diet, but I look for sustainable things to tweak to decrease my calorie intake. Right now I'm cutting down on coffee because I drink it with half and half. Can't nix the half and half, but I can decrease it. Good luck on feeling less trapped!

Rain said...

Hi Louise :) I'm slowly improving on my boundary placing too...both Alex and I made a BIG baby step recently with that drunken woman and her rude boyfriend! I'm pretty proud of us! Practice makes perfect! :)