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Layers with people

For sharing your experiences and feelings about mental illness
maisi
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:29 pm

Layers with people

Postby maisi » Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:51 pm

I find the many levels of meaning and communication too complicated in friendships and relationships- happy to feel it, but not to exploit it even in harmless ways. I sometimes wondered if that meant I've got aspergers, but I don't think that's it. I'm wondering, on a forum of people trying to manage their mental health issues, what people feel about the mental states of people around them. Because if you've got a problem yourself you have to learn to be sensitive to it, and that understanding can be applied to other people too.

I watched some friends as I was growing up enjoying practising playing with unspoken communications and the reactions they could cause, and I remember feeling sure that this fun and games wasn't for me. My boyfriends/partners could know with me there would never be unfaithfulness because I don't have it in me to be that deceptive- everyone could take me as I am.

Too innocent, but also slightly above the bullshit too. I can't see the point of playing games with people unless you're insecure and can't be yourself safely.

Err, I guess I just want to talk about why less secure people seem so much stronger... :D

cookiemonster
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Jul 31, 2018 2:26 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby cookiemonster » Thu Sep 20, 2018 11:40 am

It’s all front. Loads of noise and nothing behind it. Strong have nothing to prove so no need for all the noise

maisi
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:29 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby maisi » Thu Sep 20, 2018 10:03 pm

Thank you! You're right of course x

betterinrecovery
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby betterinrecovery » Fri Sep 21, 2018 9:55 am

Cookiemonster and Maisi,

I am so glad that you brought this issue up Maisi,
I have been having some challenges in this area myself.

Just a few of my thoughts….a bit abstract
and then a bit more personal in next post.....

From children we are conditioned and we learn how to respond and behave with others. In a perfect world and In the right situation, I think we learn to be kind and straightforward and upfront people.

This is not a perfect world though ( so I have learnt), actually this is a really turbulent and insecure world.
We either find positive and creative ways of being and relating to people or we can be undermining and toxic. Lots of factors mean that we can’t, with the best will in the world be the former all the time.

All humans are on the mental health spectrum at some level. We can swing from reasonably good mental health to poor mental health.
As cookiemonster says, for some it is a front – e.g. behind the apparently confident barrister there can be a man/woman dealing with childhood trauma and neglect.
The busy mental health professional may have difficulties with their body image and relationship with food.

So having said the above, I guess we are pressured to ‘play games’ with one another to survive.
Most of the times we are not conscious that we are doing this – and we all do it.

The challenge is, how to develop and keep good and supportive relationships in the mist of this muddle, this turmoil.

N.B.
Some people are very lucky in that their family background, the environment that they grew up in and their health is more positive.

Does any of this ring true?
B

betterinrecovery
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby betterinrecovery » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:47 am

So Maisi and Cookiemonster and all

still talking about relationships and complicated friendships.

there are anthropology books that examine how people behave and are expected in their tribes and people groups ( I mean all peoples, including modern Europeans).

Then there are history books that show how people groups have behaved and how the way we behave to one another has changed over the centuries and as we have moved from village live to living in industrialised cities.

All this change in just a few hundred years –

Then there are studies that look at how we develop close relationships, what we do and how we do it. How we form in groups and out groups.

So bringing it home and making it personal……
the person living over the road, the person I work with and the person in the classes I go to might be very different and it takes skill and understanding to get along….sometimes that happens sometimes it doesn’t…’Ouch’.

Then there is the ‘ouch’ when the person I want to get along with says –“no thank you”.
And the ‘ouch’ moment when I realise that someone is trying to use or manipulate me, for whatever reason.

Then I have to add the vulnerability to mental illness to the mix – and yes, things get in a bit of a muddle, and I get really painful and I can feel isolated.

Then, like you Maisi, I just don’t have the energy and I do not have the psychological make up to play, as you put it, ‘the bullshit game’.

So, as people vulnerable to mental illnesses, how do we make and keep healthy and relationships and avoid playing the ‘bullshit game’?

Maisi, Have I understood a bit what you were saying in your post?

Best Wishes
B

betterinrecovery
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby betterinrecovery » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:55 am

p.s.
May I agree that,

Manipulative and toxic people do not often have strength of character...
They just play their game particularly well,

I think it helps to know the game these people play, but not to play the game with them.
thinking about this issue has helped me a lot.
thanks Maisi.
B

maisi
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:29 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby maisi » Fri Sep 21, 2018 6:10 pm

Hi B and cookie monster

Wow I just put a new fuse in my brain as you popped the last one :lol: I'm very moved that you took the time to respond in such a thoughtful way. Glad you're glad I raised it. My reply will be briefer for now- got a couple of things to do- but I'm sure I'll have more to say on all your really valid points.

Choosing my words carefully here, because I know that therapy due to a mh crisis after decades of (not really) managing by myself will be having a big impact. also still paranoid about the forumI think my problem in this area is being brought up in a loving environment with one very damaging (the word toxic has been used by several people) family member in the mix, quite a bit older, probably diagnosably narcissistic pd. So we learnt to be upfront, trusting and loving whilst being harmed in complex ways from the start...so most of us learnt about game playing intuitively, on the receiving end, and gradually developed defences or avoiding strategies. Now onto the next generation, and concerns for them really woke us up. Then things started to get really traumatic for me late teens, then I've been a carer my whole adult life, and never dealt with the trauma, let alone the family member. It kind of makes looking at levels of conscious and unconscious interactions and manipulation unsafe territory for me.

But it is fascinating, and as you say important info for life. I'd better go, but thanks both of you for your thoughts, v reassuring x

betterinrecovery
Posts: 449
Joined: Mon Oct 30, 2017 10:07 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby betterinrecovery » Fri Sep 21, 2018 10:42 pm

Dear Maisi,
Hoping for your healing and that therapy will take you to a place of more strength and resilience (you are already strong and resilient, I can see this from your posts).

We are survivors.

For myself, I have learnt to be nice ...that is my survival instinct.
The truth is some people are JERKS, to use an American term.

They can be parasitic and damaging.

The thing is....and I think I am speaking to myself mostly....
We do not (I do not), owe a Jerk my emotional wellbeing, my thought life or my sleep.
I will not allow them to intimidate me...I am a grown up now and I am taking care of the wounded child within me...and that inner child is being nurtured and is comforted.

The Jerk may be damaged themselves, but I have a responsibility to be kind to myself and not to a jerky person.
I will keep myself safe and well and I hope you keep safe and well too.

With best wishes
And wishing you well
B

maisi
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:29 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby maisi » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:10 am

Aw thank you- can't match yr insights in this way, but am very glad you're up for chatting about this stuff. Yep there will always be jerks around.

Got no perspective sometimes on what I'm saying or going through but can't deny it's just hard. Therapy is hard, the reasons for arranging therapy were hard, and I'm just glad I'm still here.

Yeah- be nice is quite a profound philosophy, and takes a lot more grace and skill than it looks like. I've met some very good practitioners of being nice, make it look easy, probably looked after themselves well to be fair.

Therapy- oh great (oh shit). x

maisi
Posts: 525
Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2018 9:29 pm

Re: Layers with people

Postby maisi » Sat Sep 22, 2018 8:32 pm

Just to reflect on your comments more,

A good point that we all do just sense unspoken messages, and adjust our behaviour in relation to these and also the context. That is natural- at the school gate, at work, with neighbours, family, partner, on a night out etc etc. And is affected by individual abilities and experiences, some are more capable than others, also people's motivations differ, what they want out of interactions. Some people are psychopathic, some super vulnerable, and everything in between.

A wonderful point that everyone is on a sliding scale of mental wellness, and that it can fluctuate, so have changing impacts on our ability to enjoy or cope with other people.

You raised social and cultural factors- do you you feel that gives you different perspective on how your relations with people are, because it would be different depending on this- is that what you meant? My first reaction is to think about women's rights and freedom from misogynistic violence, also poverty and the impact on human rights. I'm wondering how much not having access to a basic level of equality and safety affects people's psychology.

I do have layers, obviously, but need to make friends with my layers and what's there, and so not to need to avoid interactions that require me to be joined up.

It sounds like you're having a beautifully rewarding life, including the pains, pressures and limitations of mh difficulties (and just life, I'm sure), because you seem to see things in wonderfully complex ways. Thanks, you gave me a good think, hope you're ok this weekend. Poor attmp

x


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