i am 23 years old, female, heterosexual. i have had a troubled childhood. my parents never got along and had very violent fights at home in front of me and my brother. there was both physical and verbal violence involved. they never got divorced but continued to live with all the bitterness. as a young child i was also sexually abused by some men. it also happened once when i was an adolescent and my father was right next to me, though in a drunken state. my mother has become paranoid and hoes into fits of filthy rage at the drop of a hat. for two years in high school, i was in a lesbian relationship with my best friend.
i dated a guy in college for two years. it was a mostly unhappy and exploitative relationship where i was physically abused towards the end. i came out of it only when i met my current boyfriend. now we have been together for over two years. we are deeply in love and i am thankful to him for changing the track of my life altogether. i have had the happiest phase of my life with him. he is strong and confident and caring.
however, i am terribly scared that i am ruining it all for him and for us by being chronically insecure. i have always been low on self esteem but have tried my best to conceal it from others. i have always been a high achiever, academically and professionally but very introvert. i have a very very restricted friends circle. i am paranoid that my relationship will turn into one that my parents shared. i am terrified of getting married. i believe deep inside that i dont have it in me to be a wife and mother and run a happy family. i know i get upset over little insignificant things. i feel i am too demanding and take him for granted too much. i dont know how to handle all this. i want to keep him happy forever. i know he gets frustrated sometimes with my mood swings. i am very insecure that we will break up in the long run though i love him with all my heart. i want to know if i need therapy and what i should do to keep my relationship going and happy. above all i want to know how to escape from my past and stop freaking out over how similar i am to my mother or how our relationship is turning into that which my parents share. please help me with your comments. they will be valued very much.
Wow, you have been thru alot for your young 23 years on this earth. As sad as that is, you can turn it around but it will take patience, possibly some therapy and an iron will. Mostly it will take time and determination. Start with the little things and take them one at a time. Try to change your reaction to it. You might succeed the first time you do it and fail the next, but each time you succeed and see the results are better than you expected it will build your self esteem a little at a time. Let him know you want to change your behaviors and request his help and patience and make him part of the cure. For example, if you are a jealous type (usually comes with ones self esteem, or lack thereof), and you think your man looked at some other female, let him know the emotions it brings up in you and talk about it. If it is just a glance and not a leer for example, if he conforms to your demands, he is not helping you conquer your fears by staring at the sidewalk. Each time you do not over react to your perceived fear, you gain that self confidence and image and trust you so badly wish you had. I would start with therapy and get some pointers of how to set this plan in motion according to what your triggers are. Then practice. I sure hope this makes sense to someone other than me. lol Hang in....
I'm so sorry for how you were brought up in a dysfunctional family and environment and your concerns are justifiable. This "was" your home environement, upbring and the only world that you know, but it doesn't mean that you have to live the rest of your life haunted by your childhood and events. This dysfunctional cycle should be an opportunity for you to live your life the way it should be lived and in a happy, loving, nurturing environment and yes, you can do this, because the past is behind you and you want to be the first to break the cycle of dysfunction, physical, vebal and sexual abuse. You do not have to live the rest of your life with the past destroying your future and continuing to affect you life and happiness. Right now you have a man that loves you, cares about you, respects you and those are qualities that are so hard to find, so I think he is a keeper. You start to heal with awareness of what has happened and that you want to change your life and then small steps by planning out your life, necessary counseling or therapy to overcome the past and move forward into the future and how life was mean to be lived. Going back to school would be fantastic. You become well educated, wiser, meet new friends and intersting people from around the world and a healthy home, work environment and relationship. Seek out a counselor (at school or clinics) that will help you come to terms with the past and everything that has happened and the steps and process to move forward. Find the right time to "discuss" with your b/f that you will need his love and support during this time. Keep the past in the past and do not take out any mood, frustration or inner anger on him. He is innocent of your past and he is your new beginning, so treat him with love, respect and dignity. You both are worth changing for. Keep away from negative friends, environment and unfortunately family if necessary to avoid set backs. You can do this, the healing process has begun with you wanting to move forward in a positive direction and that wonderful b/f that has been put in your path to help you heal. Good luck.
When we have low self esteem/self worth, many of us subconsciously choose abusive people/relationships over and over again because we are use to the abuse and don't feel we deserve better, we see it all the time. Healthy loving parents give children a strong sense of self worth because the love and attention shows them they are worth it. Toxic unloving parents do the opposite and give the child a sense of worthlessness where the child feels something is wrong with them for not getting the love they needed and thus insecurity in adulthood. This is very common so don't feel bad or singled out as many people had or have unhealthy parents. This good man in your life is worrying you because your internal programming says you are not worthy of his love and won't meet his expectations, in otherwords it does'nt fit your internal view of yourself. You are very sharp to recognize these conflicts in yourself and be concerned about a healthy marriage. This awareness and concern for others shows you are a high quality person worthy of much love. Be happy because working with the right type of therapist will change this if you commit yourself to the work. Know that this damaged child in you is not your fault, your toxic parents gave you a 'false' lower sense of yourself and it is not the real you. I had this problem and decided to work through it because I refused to have anything hold me back from the best life I could have. After 2 worthless counselors, I was led IMO by God to a brilliant Phd. Phsycologist. We rolled up our sleeves and went to work. Behaviour type therapists don't do much good because they don't chage your internal programming, they just try to change the way you think as an adult but it does'nt go deep, back to your childhood and fix the root problem. However a psycoanalytical family of origin type therapist takes you back to your childhood an re-does it, replacing those toxic unloving scenes with new ones of love and worthiness. As an example, you go back to a scene where you parents are fighting and giving you no love, you walk up as your adult self and rescue the child (you) pick her up in your loving arms, say 'I love you' these people are crazy, there's nothing wrong with you, your'e beautiful and deserve much love, I'm here to take care of you, love you, protect you and I'll never leave your side. These exercises are VERY powerful in which you re-parent the wounded child into worthiness and love. This work is hard at first but once you remove some blocks and start to soar like an eagle you won't stop, it's very exciting and you'll have of feeling of freedom that's amazing !! You can't escape from your past, you have to work thru it and then make peace with it. Bluntly put, you need to completely cut off ALL contact with your parents and any toxic siblings. One of the reasons we are born into a family escpecially a toxic one, is to learn how to leave it. This goes against what society tells us but we must for our first important step towards freedom. You can't breath fresh air next to a toxic waste dump. Forget a family counselor or therapist, you need a Phd. psychologist that does psychoanalasis not behavioural therapy, the good ones are harder to find these days but ask God to lead you to one. Some of the happiest most sucsessful people on earth came from unhealthy homes and learned how to overcome it and move on to great things. You can too, and the rewards are more than you can imagine right now. Since you are insecure that you'll break up in the long run, know that what you focus on, you give power to, and it usually comes true. Instead, focus on and imagine a long loving relationship with him and when you give power to that, it is likely to come true. Enlist God's help in this and he will give you all the tools you need, like this man who did'nt really have time this morning to write all this but felt compelled to. When you wrote... 'your comments will be valued very much' it really helped me to take the time. I hope I did'nt get to deep but I have many years of experience and training in these matters and sharing all I've learned in an effort to help others gives me great satisfaction. Best to you on your journey.....
thank you all for your very thoughtful comments. i read them over and over again. i had never imagined that this forum would turn out to be so supportive. so thanks again!!
it seems everybody agrees that therapy is a must for me. unfortunately, in the cultural setting i come from, there are very few good therapists available and the act of seeing a shrink is highly stigmatized. i shall try to do my best in this regard but dont know how far it'll work out.
also, it is certainly impossible to cut off ties with my family, given my cultural background. though i have been living away from home for over five years, i have to speak to my parents almost everyday and have to visit them once in a while. when the days of the visits come closer, i get all the more upset and worked up though its difficult to make my friends understand why i hate "home" so much.
i do have an offer for a scholarship to go to school in europe for two years. i am yet to make up my mind. while it will give me a lot of exposure and change of setting, it will also push me into a long distance relationship which is a terrifying thought right now. the more i try to think this out, the more it embroils me in the same old net of insecurity.
i know all this is just an extension of what i wrote about yesterday. but still, it feels good to be able to write all this here. would be nice if you all comment some more. i know i cant get ready made solutions for anything, but reading your comments has been very helpful. thanks :-)
Insecure860::: you say that therapy is stigmatized in the culture you grew up in...what about seeking counseling with a priest/rabbi/preacher/etc? Whatever religion you are, the religious leader in your belief system should be able and willing to provide you with some genuine, carefully thought-out therapy. And you can tell anyone who asks that you're seeking "guidance".
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