Kate Forbes

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    Kate Forbes

    Hi Suresocket

    Thank you for your very honest posts. You wrote….
    “I find myself being dependent on my boyfriend for happiness, validation, etc. I’m trying to let go of my insecurities about our relationship in order to move on but my level of self worth is very low and I’m not sure what to do, or how to stop suffocating this relationship. Does anyone else have this issue?”….

    Yes is the answer to the above. I have every single trait -including low self esteem issues, anxiety, depression,
    ADD and need for external validation. I have also always bounced from one boyfriend to another and like you, need
    my partner to constantly reassure me and provide me with external validation – even at the cost of smothering and
    damaging the relationship. I have recently also gone through a divorce with my ex-husband sounding a lot like your
    current boyfriend. My ex was raised to not talk about your emotions or feelings and as such, I found myself pretty
    much BEGGING him to provide me with the reassurance I constantly needed. His inability to provide this reassurance
    or whenever he would be away for any abnormal length of time would lead to me lashing out at him verbally.

    Unlike Anita’s belief however, my need for external validation / reassurance has not been caused by a lack of receiving it as a child. Just the opposite in actual fact. I am an only child who was way, way over-parented and
    overprotected from whatever my parents thought might be emotionally disturbing for me. Being an anxious child anyway, I had my parents around me 24/7 to give me the reassurance that I needed for all of life’s worries thus leaving me incapable of learning these skills for myself. I can now see in hindsight that I transferred this need for reassurance from my parents onto my boyfriends going so far as to have another guy in the wings as a back-up should the current boyfriend not work out.

    Sadly however, it has all come to a head in the last 6 months due to the collapse of my marriage, my Father passing away and my Mum moving into retirement living where I could not join her. This led to me having to live on my own for the first time in 43 years and to say I didn’t cope is the understatement of the year.

    However in a way, this has been a blessing in disguise. I am going to let you know what I have been diagnosed with and the treatment path I have started down and as we sound so alike, I would ask you look into this as a possible cause for the root issues of your dependency issues however I am not saying that the diagnosis fits you too as I don’t know you (nor am qualified to make such a judgement).

    I was diagnosed as having Borderline Personality Disorder which can encompass dependent personality disorder amongst many other things. I pretty much fit the criteria as a textbook case but some of the traits of this disorder are :
    1) Being terrified of abandonment or left alone
    2) Unclear or Unstable self image
    3) Self-Harm
    4) Impulsive, self-destructive behaviours
    5) Chronic Feelings of Emptiness
    6) Unstable Relationships
    7) Explosive Anger
    8) Extreme emotional swings
    I am starting to attend intensive psychotherapy with a Clinical Psychologist alongside attending a group program
    called DBT (Dialectical Behaviour Therapy). It focuses on emotion regulation, distress tolerance, mindfulness and a number of other skills to teach people like me how to be able to cope as an adult (emotionally). I don’t know about you, but I have spent a lot of my adult life feeling like I am a trapped, scared little girl in an adults body.

    Regardless of whether you think the Borderline Personality Disorder information you read resonates with you or not, your definitely right when you say a problem you have is co-dependency. Learning to self-soothe is what you need to look into and although scary, I would suggest you speak to a Psychologist or other trained counsellor and start learning the tools which will set you free and be given the skills to live independently.

    I am more than happy to discuss this further with you if any of what I have said rings a bell with you or if you want to talk more. I hope I have been of any help whatsoever and wish you all the very best.


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