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Can someone explain what it means to be "empty?"

Old 11-14-2010, 03:30 PM
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Can someone explain what it means to be "empty?"

My ex's friends have told me that he goes on and on about how much he misses me when we would be apart and how unhappy he is. But of course they didn't see the guy that stormed off in anger when something didn't go his way or whatever the case was at the time.

I told my counselor this and said it didn't make sense.

He said that he thought I kept my ex from feeling "empty."

Did he mean this in a narcissist supply kind of way? Or in a addict not feeling empty kind of way?

I've been trying to understand what that means exactly. Does anyone have any light they can shed on that?
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:39 PM
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I don't know unless he meant that having you around is someone for your ex to interact with, even when it's in a negative way. If no one is around for him argue with or whatever, he's kind of adrift. That's about all I can think of.
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Old 11-14-2010, 03:45 PM
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I spent a great deal of my life with an emptiness inside. I tried to fill that emptiness with drugs, alcohol, men, and sex.

They were all temporary fixes at best.

What I didn't realize was that emptiness was a God-shaped hole.

Recovery has put me in touch with spirituality, and that hole has been filled.

I no longer have that emptiness inside.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:25 PM
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I don't know unless he meant that having you around is someone for your ex to interact with, even when it's in a negative way. If no one is around for him argue with or whatever, he's kind of adrift. That's about all I can think of.
Ahh. Interesting. Hadn't thought of that.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:26 PM
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Is empty just another word for bored? Or does it have more meaning than that?
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:35 PM
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For me, it wasn't even close to boredom.

It was like a cold wind blowing through this huge hole in me.

I can't think of a better way to describe it.
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:40 PM
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Hmmm....maybe without alcohol and without you, he's just left sitting by himself. By himself, afraid to be with his own thoughts and feelings because he has smashed them down for sooooo long. Now he is alone with himself (empty) until he learns to deal with all those emotions that come rushing back....??

Just a thought. Sorry, best I could do :-)

Hugs, HG
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Old 11-14-2010, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hydrogirl View Post
Hmmm....maybe without alcohol and without you, he's just left sitting by himself. By himself, afraid to be with his own thoughts and feelings because he has smashed them down for sooooo long. Now he is alone with himself (empty) until he learns to deal with all those emotions that come rushing back....??
ooh i think you hit the nail on the head with this one...i think and agree this is what he is trying to say.... moment
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:00 PM
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When I felt empty, I felt detached from the world, as if I wasnt connected to the world.
I had no "weight" to keep me from floating away from reality.
When I could drink or do drugs, I could stop feeling that complete negative space and feel like I was attached to the ground.
Oh my, I dont think I described it well. Maybe I am describing depression.
The two were so intermixed and intermingled in me.

you are his reality that keeps him tethered to earth.
but that is not your responsibility.
it is his to find his weight in this life.
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Old 11-14-2010, 07:38 PM
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For me, it meant not knowing who I was or what my purpose for being here is. I got everything from outside, there was nothing inside. Or, more accurately, I didn't have the ability or confidence to look inside to find out what was there. I was always someone's wife, someone's mother, someone's employee, etc. I had no individual identity that came from within me. Other people, situations, and things defined me because I was lacking the ability or the will to define myself.

L
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Old 11-14-2010, 08:10 PM
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Originally Posted by goldengirl3 View Post
He said that he thought I kept my ex from feeling "empty."

Did he mean this in a narcissist supply kind of way? Or in a addict not feeling empty kind of way?

I've been trying to understand what that means exactly. Does anyone have any light they can shed on that?
I can relate to him, I'm an alkie/addict and my wife left me and I felt very empty inside. From recovery I learned the reason I felt empty was because I wasn't spiritually fit (still not completely). But I'll tell you what I've learned about alkies/addicts pursuing romantic relationships. When we first pursue a romantic relationship, the other relationships in our lives get moved to the back-burner. This is especially true when it comes to our relationship with a higher power. The reason for this is simple: a new romantic interest “fills us up” and “makes us whole” again, completely filling the spiritual void that otherwise would have been filled by our spiritual practices. I've learned that the two most important relationships are with yourself and your higher power. This is just what I've learned so far through my recovery and to me it makes sence. I hope this helps you out.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:00 PM
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For me feeling empty means devoid of light and feeling. when I hit my bottom I felt very depressed and almost suicidal.

In another sense in rehab/therapy circles they say we were at risk of cross addiction. Meaning we could replace drugs with interest in the opposite sex, we could replace alcohol with drama and so forth. Anything to keep from having to look at our own pain and the pain we created. So getting involved with someone could keep me from working on my own stuff it works for a while but it's a temporary fix until the real work begins.
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:09 PM
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I would take it to mean he has lost all other relationships in his life and you are the last person standing. Without you he is empty.

But what do I know..
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:52 PM
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I have found that inner emptiness is caused by only two things: a lack of connection with my own feelings and inner experience, and a lack of connection with a spiritual Source of love and guidance. For me both must be present for my fullness.

Some people on a spiritual path feel deeply connected with their Source, yet remain disconnected with their own feelings - their own Inner Child. Connecting with Spirit is not enough to feel a wonderful fullness of being - connection with my own feelings is vital.

I can even use my spiritual connection as a means of avoiding pain. This is called a spiritual bypass, because I am attempting to avoid my shadow side and go right to the light. This would be like going into a room and meditating while my actual child is crying in pain. There is no way that this would be a loving action.

When I am unwilling to feel the deep existential feelings of loneliness and helplessness over others, I may do many things to not feel them - stay in my head, numb out, use substance and process addictions, as well as shaming and blaming. All of these addictive behaviors are ways of abandoning my Inner Child - my feeling self. Of course I will feel empty when I refuse to feel my inner experience.

When I am willing to feel my core-self feelings - of sorrow, loneliness, grief, and helplessness over others - and learn to name them, be with them with compassion,
and finally release them to God rather than avoid them, I will then also feel the core self feelings of love, peace, joy, passion, and aliveness. It is experiencing these wonderful core feelings that gives me the feeling of fullness within, but I will not feel the wonderful feelings without also being willing to feel the painful ones.

In addition, I need to be willing to feel the wounded-self feelings of fear, anger, anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, aloneness, emptiness, jealousy, envy, etc., and open to learning about what I may be doing or telling myself that is creating them in order to discover the core feelings that I may be avoiding. The wounded feelings are always being created by the protective, controlling, addictive behaviors I do to avoid the painful core-self feelings.

INNER BONDING is a process that leads me to loving myself by taking 100% responsibility for my own feelings and needs. Self-abandonment is the core issue behind anxiety, depression, anger, addictions, relationship problems, and parenting problems. Self-abandonment leads to feeling like a victim, while Inner Bonding leads to emotional freedom and personal empowerment.

I have found INNER BONDING begins with understanding my feelings and behavior, resolving my fears and false beliefs that control my life, and gives me clear
direction toward becoming loving to myself and to others. Healing my deeper issues through INNER BONDING results in the peace, joy, fulfillment and empowerment that
I seek but find so elusive.

I have found my life has been transformed by using a powerful six-step mind/body/spirit healing process by teaching me to:

•Recognize my own true worth
•Discover my passion and purpose in life
•Take loving care of my heart, mind, body, and spirit
•Take responsibility for my own feelings of pain and joy, safety and worth
•Create deeply satisfying and enduring love relationships

There is a paradox that hindered me from complete healing: I cannot experience deep spiritual connection until I love myself, but I cannot love myself until I experience the love that comes from a deep spiritual connection. In other words, love of self -- which is what Divine love teaches me -- is a prerequisite to self-growth.

********************************************** *****************

Wrinkles are dimples with wisdom and knowing eyes learn from innocence. So it would follow when the child ceases to be, the adult fails to grow.

By Dr. Erika Chopich
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:14 AM
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Wow. Thanks so much for all of the responses.

I'm trying to understand and prepare myself for him contacting me to keep from being "empty"...which he already did over the weekend.

It might sound stupid - but I thought he understood that it's really over. It has become apparent that he either doesn't think so or has decided that I didn't know what I was talking about when I ended the relationship. I thought it was over for him too, especially since we weren't sleeping together anymore...the magic was pretty dead and he can't do much anyway, always being drunk. And he picked at me so much, you would think that he hates me.

A couple of weeks ago he wrote me and asked me to spend Christmas with him because "spending Christmas alone sucks." I said "No thanks I don't think that's a good idea." (Gee where are all of your drunks friends that took priority over me the rest of the year?) Over the weekend he asked me to come over and pick up my bike, I told him to give it away. (We had already discussed that by the way.) Then he wrote and said he "wanted to extend an invitation to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family." I said, "Thanks but I've already made plans." (he always found an excuse before not to invite me and I usually spent Tday by myself. )

It looks like I will have to block his emails?

What does everyone else think of this behavior? Pretty typical?
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:17 AM
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Yeah, I think blocking his emails and any other form of communication is called for. He obviously doesn't take a hint, and you don't need to keep reading his nonsense.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:19 AM
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I haven't read your whole story, but I think I get the gist that he is needy/lonely aka "empty" and calls on you to make him feel better or give him attention or make him feel loved or whatever he is looking for.
For people that are like that, it is typical!
You keep focused on you.
What do you need?
You seem like you're doing that with the boundaries you are setting (woohoo!).
Is there any reason you see not to block him?
That would simplify the drama, for sure.

Peace
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:20 AM
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YEs, pretty typical.
Narcissitic supply is a good phrase, but I also just heard something in a group meeting at my As rehab facility, when they had the family come in to talk about enabling.

The phrase they used was,"try to become conscious of the ways that you have always felt his pain for him, averted his danger for him, sheilded him from feeling the lonliness that his addiction has caued him to experience..."
They spoke about how if we insert ourselves into the mix too deeply, we can just be a buffer.
It sounds to me like he is desperate to have his familiar buffer in place, which would be you.
He wants you to take part in the holiday stuff, because it will be painful, difficult, or otherwise inconvenient for him emotionally.
It sounds to me like you have your head screwed on pretty well in this.
Kepp up the good work!
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by Buffalo66 View Post

The phrase they used was,"try to become conscious of the ways that you have always felt his pain for him, averted his danger for him, sheilded him from feeling the lonliness that his addiction has caued him to experience..."
Love THIS!!

I think I equated feeling their pain, helping, averting danger, shielding all as ways that people who love each other behave. I wanted someone to do that for me. I wanted to be that person for another.

Oops.

Thanks, Buffalo!
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Freedom1990 View Post
For me, it wasn't even close to boredom.

It was like a cold wind blowing through this huge hole in me.

I can't think of a better way to describe it.
That is almost exactly how I think of the "frozen landscape of the heart" I had for many years... borrowing Freedom's analogy, my emptiness had a mom shape to it, after my mother died and no one was available to take care of me at the personal level in the way I needed.

I still have that emptiness, but now there is a whole lot more space inside of me. The cold wind part doesn't take up as much room, relative to my spirit, anymore. Now I can go to a different spot where that wind doesn't blow. When I was young, I couldn't; I was stuck, and suffered horribly from loneliness and depression.

THANK GOD I am not inclined towards addiction. For me, alcohol doesn't do a thing to fix the emptiness. I was first attracted to my aexh because we had in common our struggles with depression. I didn't realize that he had not learned or benefited from that fight the way I had, that it was all a downhill spiral for him with no joy to balance it.
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