Holiday Pain and Gratitude

image (9)If you’re like most people, there’s probably an element of pain, dread and/or overwhelm as we enter the holiday season. The rush to consume, the pressure to feel joyful, and the expectation of experiencing perfect familial bliss set against a Normal Rockwell backdrop is enough to send any human being under a gray cloud. Add to that being a highly sensitive person that can veer toward anxiety or depression and the recipe for implosions or explosions is laid out on the holiday table alongside the turkey and cranberries.

Holidays, birthdays, and transitions are a set-up for disappointment and pain. Whenever we expect to feel one certain way (i.e. blissful, connected, happy), the other emotions inside clamor for attention until we break down in some form. We simply balk in the face of expectations. And the expectation itself for pure joy is, in a word, ridiculous. Why do we put so much pressure on ourselves to feel one way just because of a calendar date? We treat ourselves like robots that can turn on certain feelings and turn off others just because it’s “Thanksgiving” or “Christmas” or “my birthday.” Then, because we don’t honor it consciously, the inherent pain around holidays and transitions sneaks and sidles into psyche through the backdoor until we find ourselves picking a fight with our partner or crumbling into anxiety or depression.

It’s no secret that we all carry pain and heartbreak in some form, and why we try to deny it and present a picture-perfect life to others is beyond me. For some, it’s the pain of their own divorce that has shattered their intact family and sends themselves and their kids into pre-holiday stress, loneliness and overwhelm. For others, it’s the pain of their parents’ divorce that sends the now adult-children into separation and distance as they try to navigate through blended family stress. For others, it’s the heartbreak of a recent breakup. For still others, it’s the grief of having no family or partner at all with whom to celebrate. I could write on and on. We all have pain. Nobody is living the Hollywood, Father of the Bride dream where pain is airbrushed out to reveal only the perfect house with the perfect family and the perfect life. It simply does not exist.

The most challenging part of inviting pain to our holiday season is that we believe it shouldn’t be there. How can you send someone an invitation when you believe they shouldn’t even exist? We carry a fantasy about everyone else’s bliss (and social media surely doesn’t help in this regard), so that when pain in any form arises (disappointment, loneliness, frustration, sadness), the knee-jerk response is to kick it out the door with a doggy-bag of shame for the road. This sounds like: “What’s wrong with me?” “I should have it all together.” “I have no reason to feel sad.”

So the first key step is to make room for all of the feelings, both those that we label positive and those that we label negative. Sit down with your journal and allow yourself to write about how you’re feeling as the holidays approach. Invite your pain to the pre-holiday gathering. Scooch aside for disappointment. Pull the throne over for heartbreak. Write and write and then put your pen aside to allow your body’s pain to simmer up to heart and eyes. In other words, have a good, big, full-bodied cry.

Next, breathe into the pain and breathe out spaciousness (the first step of Tonglen). Then see if you can connect to the second step of Tonglen: Breathe into the pain of everyone else on the planet who is feeling lonely, sad, disappointed, overwhelmed, and heartbroken at this very moment, and breathe out love and connection. If you think you’re the only one having a hard time with the holidays, think again! In some strange and beautiful way, we’re all in this together, and when you can connect to the invisible web of heart-strands that connects us in pain and in beauty, something opens up inside.

Lastly, and hopefully arriving naturally on the wake of practicing Tonglen, connect to gratitude. For all of your pain and heartbreak, there are equal amounts of blessings for which you can feel grateful. The expectation around Thanksgiving is to connect to gratitude, which is a lovely intention, but unless we walk through the pain we won’t likely be able to connect to true, felt gratitude. We can easily rattle off the things for which we’re grateful in a rote list, but to open to the felt experience of gratitude requires that we walk through the muck and mud first. Still, whether you feel it or not, it’s helpful to write a gratitude list. Sometimes it’s the act of writing itself that opens up the pathways to authentic feeling.

Compassion, as always, is key, We start with self-compassion, which means bring loving attention to what is instead of what we think it should be, and from there we bring compassion to those in our closest circle, and then out into the world.

These articles may help you connect to holiday pain:

The Grief Place

A Holiday Offering

Loss of Light

 

These articles may help you connect to gratitude:

Gratitude 108 Offering

Gratitude: An Antidote for Anxiety

“Real Love Is Only What You Give”

 

Sending you all love and hugs this holiday season. Thank you for being on the journey with me. 

62 comments to Holiday Pain and Gratitude

  • Confused

    Thank you Sheryl for yet another timely blog post. I am finding it hard to get out of a dark period of feeling sad about the annual spike of doubt about our relationship that my partner goes through. I try so hard to follow your advice, to show gratitude, and to be responsible for my own happiness. But I find it hard not to connect every issue we have back to the fact that he has doubts about whether I am the person for him. After more than five years together I am beginning to wonder how long should I be patient with him about this? Now I find myself wondering if I am the one settling for less than I deserve, and it seems we are entering a vicious cycle of doubt coming from both of us. He worries he’s not making me happy and I worry that he isn’t sure enough about me to fully commit. How can we both get out of this cycle?!

    • Have either of you taken the course? Are you in therapy? The doubt and anxiety won’t go away on their own. It’s the work of a lifetime for both of you to commit to your own practices, and to seek support if at all possible.

      • Confused

        We aren’t in therapy, but I did purchase your course on how to support a partner with relationship anxiety. I would be interested in doing one of your courses, but not sure which would be most relevant for me as the person on the other side of the anxiety?

        • Confused

          He did go to therapy, but found it to be only exaggerate his concerns by basically telling my partner he didn’t think he was happy with me, and making other inappropriate suggestions such as that something was not quite right if he didn’t feel a rush of desire when he sees me come out of the shower (!).

        • If he’s primarily the one suffering from relationship anxiety, he would need to take the e-course. I’m offering my Gratitude Week sale now, so it would be a great time for him to sign up (and it’s a LOT cheaper than therapy).

  • Confused

    Ok, thank you Sheryl – I’ll talk to him about it. Do you think I could benefit from the course too? Sometimes I have doubts too but these are usually sparked off by his doubts. Perhaps I often make his doubts worse by responding to him with my own insecurities?

  • Bran

    Hey Sheryl,

    I feel this wall around my heart that I can’t break. I was with my parter and I just felt this need to explode with love and joy and thankfulness and hot tears of just happiness, but it couldn’t come out. I don’t know what it was. I just want to fully love my partner and spend the rest of my life with her, but sometimes I douht that and I don’t want to. We’ve been having a rough patch these past two months because of stress. I don’t know what to do and it hurts because this is the girl k want to spend the rest of my life with but it feels like something is missing and maybe that something is that wall?

  • Beautiful as always. I know I avoid the pain of the negative things sometimes…and then I wonder why I’m crying and anxious in the middle of something happy! A good reminder to make space for all emotions.

  • Carebear167

    I took a gander at your Tonglen post and love the idea of using Tonglen to deal with your own emotions when you are stuck. I can’t seem to find any guided meditations or resources on using it to work with your personal situation. Maybe this is because, as you said, Tonglen is traditionally practiced for someone you care about and wish to help. I think it is such an ingenious way to work with your own “big” emotions. How did you come up with that?! Do you have any resources you can recommend? Thank you so much for your deeply inspiring work Sheryl.

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl, Pema Chodron is inspirational as you are for following her truths. Holiday season with christmas approaching is not a happy time for me as my mother dosent do gatherings anymore and she dosent attend to our invitations. I wish I had a understanding, gentle mother, but I dont. She looks at the negatives in people not the positives. Its just me and my husband once again spending it alone this holiday season. I am happy but I feel Lonely as family is important to me.

  • jaybee

    thank you, as always. a beautifully timed post. i know i am struggling with the holidays as my parents are (recently) divorced and I am newly married. trying to navigate who gets what time is HARD. and painful. so i’ve been talking to my different “characters” as you mentioned in a another blog post. and its interesting how much fear i have which becomes clouded by the “critic”. and thank you for the reminder that its ok to not be perfect. for some reason i am one of those who suffer from the thought that “ITS THANKSGIVING, BE THANKFUL”. one day, one breath, and one journal entry at a time I’m working on self love and care, with the help of your blog!
    i hope to join the e-course soon

  • Anne

    THANK YOU! As usual, your blog posts are so timely. This morning, I texted my siblings about some Christmas details and ended up feeling hurt by and annoyed at one of them. While what she said was thoughtless, it was not unkind. My husband, toddler, and I just went on a walk and through talking with my husband, I realized I am really grieving that my parents left their house and moved into assisted living at the beginning of November. I am only 35 and they are only 70 and 71 but life has been a little unfair to my dad’s health and this is the right choice for them. I’m grieving that we’ve moved four hours away last spring for my husband’s job and now there is nowhere to go back “home” for the holidays. My husband and I are used to huge family gatherings and it will likely just be the three of us for Christmas this year. I realize now that it is a mistake to try to force myself to see the bright side and instead I need to breathe in the sad feelings. Thanks once again Sheryl!

  • Anxiouslyengaged

    I have had so much pain in the last few weeks. It makes me feel so much better that you make this pain feel so normal. I can’t even necessarily finger point what the cause of this pain is but it’s there and just allowing me to feel it without placing any meaning on it is a wonderful thing. I am crying for my aunt who won’t be there this thanksgiving. And also (This may also sound strange) I know a few acquaintances who have recently gotten out of relationships and I feel so much pain and heartbreak for them.

    It’s so much easier I be grateful after I allow myself to grieve: thank you!

  • Melanie

    Thank you so much for this. Needed to read something like this right now. It feels good to not be the only one.

  • H

    Hi Sheryl,

    I totally agree about having lots of gratitude! This certainly helps you feel happier in your relationship. Your work has really helped me. I am not at the finish line yet but I’m guessing there is no finish line, there is always work to do in life. But that is the journey we are all on right now, is growing as a person. Whoever reads this and is in the middle of anxiety please do not do anything silly! Do the E-Course. It is worth every penny. I am feeling a bit numb at the moment with hardly any anxiety don’t get wrong, I am still scared but nothing like I was a few weeks ago. I have just let my feelings be but now I am left in this weird place, I’m just floating around, I’m just feeling numb about everything in life right now so I’m hoping I am finally leaving this ground shaking, heart pumping, head pounding anxiety. The only thing that is keeping me going is the thought of Christmas, I am so excited and so grateful for a good life and to have found your work. I sat on the sofa the other night and thought ‘I am SO glad I didn’t leave and chose to do the work.’ I don’t think I would of said that if it wasn’t for you. Thank you 😉

    • This is a blessing to hear, H. If you’ve gotten to Section Four of the course yet you’ll see that every single person who was interviewed says the same thing. The anxiety is a gift, which is so hard to imagine when you’re in the trenched. And yes, there is no endpoint to the work, as it’s the journey of a lifetime, but there certainly can be an endpoint to the anxiety.

  • just me

    Hi Sheryl,

    I have really enjoyed the e-course, but I am still quite scared and terrified that I am the first exception.
    Eventhough I have not dreamed about my ex and dirvorce lately, those dreams still bother me a lot and make me think that I have married wrong person. I feel so terrible while writing those words, but I am not able to believe and trust that there could be any positive interpretations to my dreams, because they feel so real. I always trying to find a way back to my ex in those dreams and my husband feel more like a dear friend and my ex represents more passion and excitement. I feel so awful and those dreams have made me think those what if-thoughts..

    • just me

      It just so hard to admit that I have had deeper feelings and connection with someone else than my husband. We are that calm pair with low chemistry and some disconnection..And my intrusive thoughts and dreams are maybe reminding me that I am settling..

    • I promise you’re not the exception ;). Have you gotten to Section Three yet where I talk in depth about intrusive thoughts? And how about the section specially on the ex? From your comment, it’s clear that you haven’t quite absorbed the concept that dream images are metaphors and that you’re caught in the trap of mistaken literalism (taking the dreams at face value). Keep going and it will start to make more sense.

      • just me

        Thank you Sheryl, you are always so supportive. I really try yo stay positive and keep doing my work. I have done those sections once, but maybe I have to do them many times, because I have been recently stucked with belief that maybe I supposed to be with my ex, because I have been thinking about him and our relationship so much. I feel so shamed about this problem and really want to learn to understand my dreams and intrusive thoughts as metaphors. I saw my ex once by accident for few years ago and I realized then that he was not anymore the same person which I have in my dreams and thoughts. He was not anymore that hot and charismatic guy, which I had in my fantasies. Maybe it is time to do much inner work..

  • Worried Sick

    Hi Sheryl,
    I’ve commented on here before after reading through your articles and recently I’ve been having a really hard time with doubts in my relationship. Although your articles make me feel more comfortable with intrusive thoughts, I’m really worried that something in my body might be telling me to listen to my thoughts. I am in a wonderful, loving relationship with an amazing partner and we are doing long distance. I find myself doubting our relationship the moment I wake up and it makes me sick. I just want to be able to enjoy our relationship like I used to without any doubts. I even used to imagine myself marrying him and having his children and I felt so sure. Now that we are planning to move back to the same city, I have these horrible thoughts. I will buy Break Free this week, and if I do the work, will I be struggling with doubts for the remainder of my relationship?

    • “I will buy Break Free this week, and if I do the work, will I be struggling with doubts for the remainder of my relationship?” If you do the work, the doubts will dissipate and eventually will quiet down to nothing. It does require time and patience, and the firm commitment to turn the mirror to face yourself.

  • Worried Sick

    Do you have many clients experiencing anxiety in long distance relationships? Thanks for the quick reply! I’m so glad I’ve found your work.

  • Charlotte

    Thank you sheryl for yet another beautiful post :). I recently commented about a month ago on another post regarding my boyfriend’s porn and cybersex addiction. He has since been doing everything he can to prove to me that he is committed to me and our relationship, and is seeing a therapist. I, however am in a lot of pain. Dealing with this betrayal is one of the hardest things I have had to go through, and my anxiety has returned. I am aware that you should only pay attention to these thoughts if there are any red flags, and I am terrified that because this has been a red flag that it means I need to leave. It is beginning to take over my life and I’m not sure how to move forward because I worked so hard a few months ago to accept my thoughts, however the anxiety always seems to find its way in again! He has always been amazing to me (apart from the addiction) and I really want to be able to forgive him as he has come along so far in the past few weeks. I find myself being bitter and horrible to him, when he sits there and takes every name under the sun and remains patient with me. I don’t want to be bitter towards him, because I know he is dealing with a lot of inner pain as well. Are there any courses available that would help me in regards to forgiveness, trusting again and moving on?

    • It takes a long time to trust again after there’s been a betrayal. I urge you to bring patience and deep compassion to yourself, and know that, with time, he will earn back your trust and you will find forgiveness. You may also want to consider couples’ therapy at some point to help repair the broken trust. If you do go that route, I would HIGHLY recommend that you seek the support of a therapist trained in EFT (emotionally focused therapy). You can learn more here:

      http://www.iceeft.com

  • Emily

    This is honestly such a thoughtful post, and timely too for me personally. In my struggle with relationship anxiety I’ve turned (as so many do) to spirituality. I’ve been an atheist for years but lately I’ve been praying. I find it comforting to send up thoughts of gratitude for my wonderful partner (including both his annoying habits that drive me crazy and the sweet little quirks which make my day- which aren’t even mutually exclusive categories!) and the relationship we have. Relationship anxiety has the effect of making a person focus so much on the empty half of the glass, and I find that my prayers, along with shows of gratitude directed at my partner himself (like little notes secretly tucked into his work bag <3) really help 🙂

  • Lili

    Hi Sheryl,

    Thank you for this beautiful post, its that time of the year to let the feeling of gratitude in your heart and be thankful…I am feeling very low these days, in my vulnerable state. As you have probably seen my posts before I suffer from relationship anxiety…I have been following your blog and trying to do some inner work. I am considering buying your course Break Free this week but I have doubts whether its for me. I really appreciate if you could help me make the right choice. I know you said before that anxiety can hit at any point in the relationship but I have been married for 10 years and the anxiety has been coming and going for such a long time now that I’m hopeless now. I wonder if it’ll ever go or not and if I should continue. I thought of sharing a bit more of my story. I married this person when I was young because he was nice and smart, with a good family background. The thing is we had a very short dating period (a month) and then got engaged right away. I have a nice caring partner (though at stressful times he can be less nice! can have some temper, and not good at expressing his feelings), but there aren’t any redflags. Right after the engagement the anxiety hit me (whether this was the right choice), and i immediately realized some things about him i didn’t like (e.g. appearance, some personality traits, etc). and they spiked my anxiety and made me feel no love at times. The anxiety has been on and off throughout the years and I have reached a point I don’t think we were meant to be. We don’t have kids yet. I wonder sometimes why I stayed. I think I stayed because he was kind and loving and the fact that I am afraid of separation and ending up alone. Do you think that I can benefit from the course and get rid of the anxiety forever? Did you have a similar client, someone suffering for so long? Many thanks in advance.

    • just me

      Hi Lili, I took a break free from relationship anxiety course and I have also suffered from relationship anxiety during our whole relationship (seven years). It was quite hard for me also to make a decision whether the course is for me or not. I have also thought that we are just not meant to be, because I have not been able to love my husband unconditionally, because of my doubts. But I decided to give that chance to our relationship. I have really enjoyed the course and it has helped me a lot, eventhough I have still a lot of work to do.

    • This course is intended for people who have been suffering from relationship anxiety at any point in the relationship for any length of time, and yes, there are many people both on the e-course forum and in the one-hour interviews at the end of the course who suffered for many years before breaking free. The real question is: what is the cost of NOT taking the course and at least giving yourself the chance of finding your clarity?

      • just me

        Hi Lili again, I decided to take a risk that my truth and clarity will be that we are not meant to be. That it is time to leave. Sometimes I have also been thinking that maybe I have stayed because of responsibility and fear of hurting my husband. Still part of me believes that we are just not meant to be, but part of me wants to give a chance to our relationship. We have a precious little son, which make to do everyrhing I can before giving up.

        • Lili

          Sheryl and just me,

          Many thanks for your comments. I am willing to take the course.
          I have came up with a technical issue with payment. Sheryl I posted my question regarding payment under the forum for the relationship anxiety e-course. I appreciate if you could get back to me soon so I can use the discount. Thanks 🙂

          Narges

  • Malia89

    Sheryl, Do you have a blog post that specifically speaks to the partner of a relationally anxious person? I’ve shared an article of yours about relationship anxiety with my boyfriend, but he is still a little unclear on what it is and that the anxiety, though focusing on him, isn’t really about him.

  • Jessicabythebay

    Thank you so much, Sheryl. I feel like i’m crashing right now. This year has been big – got married, moved, stopped going to OA meetings (still going to therapy and couples therapy) and in a week we are getting a dog. Tonight, we fly on the red eye to my home town for the holiday. I’ll be honest. I’m dreading it right now. I just took some time to journal and meditate and i’m feeling better, but very, very fragile and am worried about surviving my family: my mom’s neediness, my dad’s narcissism, my step-dad’s depression, my brother’s withdrawal. It all feels like too much. Naturally, I am projecting on my husband right now, who has been out of work for six months (easy for WS to say there’s something wrong with him when the outside circumstances support that story). He’s trying like hell to get a job, but no luck so far. I’m scared the sress of his unemployment will force us apart. My inner child feels very vulnerable with all this and my WS doesn’t like that. Any thoughts on how to move through the trip gracefully while honoring my own internal world? Thank you so much, Sheryl.

    • Stay as connected to yourself as possible through journaling and meditation. It’s great that you’re able to call the projection out onto the mat. Next step is to reel it back in, which means taking full responsibility for your pain and attending to it with kindness. Breathing helps, too. A lot :). And knowing that you’re far from alone as you approach going home with dread.

  • Tom

    Hi Sheryl,

    Wonderful post, the holiday season can bring on so much shame and guilt when you feel like you don’t have the ‘right feeling’ for a particular event. Your words are truly beautiful. I’m having a little problem with letting go recently, I feel the pain come up and the urge to let tears out but for some reason when I try to cry I just can’t, my throat closes up and the feeling seems to disappear. I just want to let it all out but the harder I try the harder it gets. Do you think maybe I’m trying to hard not to resist the feeling?

    • Yes, it’s possible you’re resisting the full expression of feeling, and the question is why. There’s usually a fear inside of the resistance: a fear that the grief will overwhelm you, that you can’t handle it, that you’ll die if you let yourself feel the full extent of it. If you can identify the fear it might help you bring truth and reassurance to yourself and allow the pain to move through you more fully.

  • becominglove

    This post resonates so much for me and enabled me to allow enormous grief to come to the surface. The grief was already there bubbling away beneath the surface but there were many days of feeling anxious and irritable before I finally laid down with it, literally. For me, the christmas period brings up deep grief about living far away from family and loosens the glue around all of my decisions about what is right for me, my partner and our families. Its a lot to wonder about and the illusion of the possibility of getting it right and getting it wrong affect me deeply. So, thank you for encouraging the feeling of this deep grief. Love and support to all those who are feeling it too.

  • Lea

    Sheryl,

    I’ve read every post and every comment on your site during this one year so far. It’s the only place where I can find peace and support and only your words keep me going forward in life. I’m in the worst state ever. It’s been a whole year so far since my fiance’s proposal and I haven’t had a day of peace since then. All I know is that I’m stuck in my mind and I just can’t move a step forward. We’ve even moved in together in our new home, meanwhile his father unexpectedly died and many things happened but my state hasn’t improved for the better. I think that the only reason for that is that I haven’t taken your course (although I’m sure it will be very helpful ) because I’m so scared that I’ll find out that my truth is to leave my loving partner. The fact that I’ve been suffering for so long has caused me to become angry and full of rage all the time that I’ve been blaming my partner about. It’s like I’m torturing him all the time because I feel hopeless and unable to help myself. I know I’m abusing his respectfulness towards me and that makes me feel even more out of control. And the circle goes round and round. THESE FEELINGS ARE UNLIKE ANYTHING I’VE EXPERIENCED BEFORE. IT HURTS SO BAD! My fiance says that he can’t wait for me anymore to decide whether I wanna marry him or not since it’s hurting him so bad and that scares me even more. He says that my mind is telling me to run away and I’m fighting against my true self but I know that that’s not true. All I know is that I don’t want to leave him….but is there a way to repair this in any way….. He’s so amazing although when I’m in my worst I often say bad things to him since I feel out of control..

  • Lea

    I’ma afraid I might be the red flag in the relationship and that scares me so much. I have to mention that it all started since the moment of the proposal…till then , nothing of this was happening.

  • Giulia

    Dearest Sheryl,

    The holiday season is still one month away from Brussels, Belgium, where I live, and Padua, Italy, where I am from and where my family resides.

    I am terrified.

    Only last year, on Christmas morning, after a blunt reply from my parents during my brief Italian stay I left the house and walked into the river not so far from my home. I drove there, I left the valuables in the car, and ventured in the wet, dead grass right before the shores. It was a beautiful sunny day, it was freezing, and I was so deeply sad that walking away from everything did not scare me. I wished not to wake up. I knew it would cause pain, but I felt beyond that, in a place far away, unreachable. I filled my pockets with stones – unnecessarily so, since I cannot swim. Took off my shoes for some reason, and in I walked. It was freezing. The cold water sent pain through my legs. I started breathing slowly, trying to ease it. I must have been in till my knees when I heard a voice. Crazy enough, my high school law teacher and what I assume was one of his children was there. Not recognising me. I prayed in my head for him to go away, because I knew that he was going to take me back. I think I have tried to reassure him that I was only looking for something – yes, sure. Then my dad arrived. He pulled me out of the water and started rubbing me and holding me to his chest murmuring words. I was mortified. But aside from the knowledge I had caused pain, even more pain, I was not sorry. It was a fakely merry Christmas.

    I was suffering from depression. Taking Citalopram and other medications. Had broken off my engagement in September. Had been struggling with anxiety, cheating on the love of my life, the depression, bulimia, and more, just in the space of nine months.

    I used to walk hand in hand with my fiance (such a weird word, we never used it when we were talking, and we mostly talked in French) in those shores, picking grapes from the vineyards, eating ice-cream from the small shop close to the church, or teaching him how to tell if green figs were ready.

    I never had tried to harm myself. Bulimia aside, I guess, but that was not done to hurt me consciously.

    I have come a long way from there. Please rest assured that I have never thought of hurting myself before then, and never will I do something like that again. But I do not feel on safe shores yet.

    I have tried to grow, I met a boy who loves me, but still, the weight of all I did (the cheating, the lying) says hello every now and then.

    My anxiety, which has been a faithful companion for most of my life, has returned one evening of August. The thoughts are the usual ones that bring here many readers. I don’t love him or don’t love him enough, I am just convincing myself, and all of the usual chorus of intrusive thoughts.

    You are helping me a lot. I have faithfully read all your work on here and mind body green. I wait for a post on this blog to help me carry on.

    But I don’t think it’s enough; I don’t think it’s a good enough life, the one lived fighting back.

    And now, as the season to be jolly draws closer, I am terrified. Terrified of the feelings. Of the future. Of the past. Of love. Love for my boyfriend, for my family, for myself.

    Help me, Sheryl. Give me some guidance.

    Thank you, and thank you for your selfless work. You deserve nothing but happiness.

    • Dear Giulia: Your comment is heartbreaking, and I sit here with tears in my eyes as I take in your pain. I’m sending out a virtual hug, love, and reassurance that, will proper guidance and a deep commitment on your part, you can work through your pain and fear and arrive, at last, on safe shores. Are you in therapy? Would you like a referral for an excellent therapist who works over Skype (she doesn’t specialize in relationship anxiety but what you’re describing here surpasses the scope of relationship anxiety)? And have you considered the Break Free course?

      • Silver

        I can relate to this. I been with this anxiety almost every point of our relationship. I really wish that I haven’t feel anything, I really wish that I really care for her, that I fall head over heels for her, that I’m afraid to lose her, that I can’t make her angry and give everything that she really deserves. She changed and made me learned everything about myself. I am narcissistic and wished that it will end. I wish that I can open my heart to her more, I wish that I can undo everything that I’ve done the things that I do that hurt her, I wish I wasnt filled with anxiety and uncertainty like other people, wished that I died today again or everytime that we fought. Wished that I have more emotions. I dont wish for butterflies but something more than that, wished that I want to talk to her everytime.

        • Silver

          Every action that I make sometimes makes ne doubtful, I tried using love actions, but it really goes back to anxiety hole. I wish to kill myself already

  • just me

    How do you Sheryl would interpret my dream, that I choose my ex instead of my husband?
    I have tried to do a lot of work with my dreams, but that dream make me think thay maybe I do not have enough romantic feeling toward my husband, eventhough I really try not take my dreams literally.

    • The ex represents a part of you:

      http://conscious-transitions.com/sex-with-your-ex/

      I explain it in depth in the course.

      • just me

        I have started to see my ex as a metaphor of my ability to love someone unconditionally and from whole hearth. Maybe it is not about him as a person, but my own longing for those deep feeling of love. Now when my anxious is gone I feel just numbness and thinking about divorce make me feel empty. I am just scared if I can get those romantic feelings back with my husband. I try to give us a time, but I feel so depressed an

        • just me

          I can not avoid thinking that maybe my anxiety has just be a sign that we do not have enough connection and chemistry, because my lack of feelings. I had once very intense love/hate feelings with my ex. Never felt then this kind of emptiness. This is scary. My dreams about divorce are now also an indicator for me that my hearth is not fully in this relationship. Part of me still keep fighting..

          • Please work through the entire course, which will take you several weeks (if not longer), then go through it again. This is not fast work or easy work, but if you stay with it you will break through. From your comments it’s clear that you’re looking for a quick fix and someone or something to rescue from taking full responsibility for your pain and well-being. That’s not how healing works.

          • just me

            You are right Sheryl. I know that answer is inside of me and I have to take full responsibility of my own wellness. I am now just tired, because I have suffered from severe insomnia and depression and my therapist has also suggested divorce/separation because of my lack of feelings and disturbing dreams. She thought that maybe my unconscious mind is trying to tell me that my hearth is not fully in this relationship and that is why my resistance is so high.

  • Giulia

    Dear Sheryl,

    Thank you for your answer. I am sorry if I caused you pain. I was a bit ashamed of myself after posting this, so coming back to the blog was a bit difficult.
    I was in therapy, “finished” in spring, but I suppose I should go back. The thing is that I cheat a little in therapy, and also since I can’t do it in my mother tongue. It is easier to say big things without committing if you are talking in another language!
    I am considering taking Break Free, as I have seen comments from participants saying it does work even on European times. Is that correct?

    Thank you for your work here, you are a precious human being.

    Silver, so are you. It’s not our fault if we have this problem. It’s not a failure if we deal with it for years, some of us forever. I feel like we are the heroes of our times, going about life with these heavy loads on our backs, trying to live like others. I also feel that those sparse moments of freedom from the burden are treasures to me and my loved one. Things that are pushing me to get better instead of finding a quick way out.

    It will get better.

    • Dear Giulia,

      No need to apologize; feeling someone else’s pain is part of the blessing of being a highly sensitive person. Yes, Break Free has worldwide access, as do all of my courses. I hope you’ll join.

      Sheryl