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    Dear Peace,

    I am sorry for not responding earlier. I have been struggling with health issues and health anxiety related to that, and this has been weighting on me. But I want to say I feel for you and I understand your sadness and your difficulty to accept some of the harsh realities about your family (“I’m still processing a lot of these harsh realities.”)

    Why were they so selfish, making me feel utterly worthless and devoid of meaning?

    It’s hard to say why some people are selfish, but many factors can play in, including the belief that money can bring one happiness, or that money will make one accepted and valued in the society. So perhaps seeing money as a key to happiness and a sense of worth is what causes your family to be so money-thirsty, at least in part. And so they’ve put money and social status on a pedestal, while disregarding true values, such as goodness, kindness, care and compassion. I don’t know, Peace, but this could be why they are glorifying false values and diminishing you, whom they should love and care for.

    However, what you need to do is to stop linking your sense of worth to how they treat you (making me feel utterly worthless and devoid of meaning). This is a child in you, wanting to be loved and valued by her family, and believing that if they don’t value you, you are not worthy. That’s a false belief. Every child believes it though, and that’s why so many of us feel unworthy, because our parents and siblings made us feel unworthy.

    But now, as an adult, you need to start believing in your own worth, disregarding of how your family sees you. They shouldn’t be your measuring gauge, since they are unfortunately people with crooked values and crooked priorities. Your sense of worth shouldn’t be dependent on them.

    I know it’s hard to accept that you might not be as important to them as they are to you. It hurts. But it doesn’t mean you are not important at all. It doesn’t mean you’re unworthy as a human being. Their treatment of you doesn’t say anything about you – it says a lot about them. Try to tell yourself (your inner child) that you are worthy, special and unique, and you’ll see how your sense of worth will start changing.

    Trusting anyone again seems difficult; I feel sad, disappointed, and betrayed.

    It’s okay to feel sad, disappointed (in them) and betrayed (by them). Because they have indeed betrayed you. They’re not treating you like a loving family should treat one of their own.

    But please, know that your worth is not defined by them and doesn’t depend on them. And that other people are not like them. You have found a husband who is not like them. You can trust your husband, even if you shouldn’t trust your own family. So don’t measure other people by how your own family is.

    Now, they’re arranging a wedding for me, Even though i should be happy but i feel broken .

    I get you. The people who have betrayed you are arranging your wedding. But don’t feel broken about yourself. Because as I said, you’re a good person, and they are crooked. Instead of feeling broken and unworthy, perhaps feel a little angry at your family. Just a little, so it can give you strength to stand up for yourself.

    When you feel better about yourself and more empowered, you can then decide how you want your wedding to look like, how much of their involvement (and their pushing their ideas) you want to allow, etc. It will be also easier for you to decide about the financial matters. Once you start feel worthy and strong, rather than worthless and guilty, things will become more clear.

    We can talk more about the practical aspects (money, debt etc), but I think the most important at this point would be to improve your sense of self-worth, which is independent of how your family sees you and treats you.



    Dear Peace,

    The funny thing is, I’ve been living alone for seven years, but deep down, I always thought I had a family to support. and that i have people in this world who cares for me and i could rely on .I always had them on my mind. But this situation in my life has made me see them more clearly – they don’t really care. … In their story, I don’t really matter.

    Yes, unfortunately they don’t care about your happiness and well-being, but only about themselves. What I am starting to think is that what they care about is not just the caste your husband belongs to (and thus, their public image), but also how much money is available to them on an on-going basis. Because you said that neither of your sisters married men who are financially responsible and able to take care of their family (This pattern is common among my other sisters too, where they end up shouldering all the family expenses while their husbands don’t contribute much.).

    They seem to count on you (and your husband) to help whenever they need cash. One of your sisters even counts on your help to buy a house, which is certainly not your responsibility. So it seems they see you not as a person, but as a function: a money machine, or a cash cow if you will.

    That might be the reason why your husband isn’t good for them: because he doesn’t stem from a rich family and can’t provide unlimited resources. So I think greed is what largely drives their behavior. That’s why they say your MIL is cheap – because she dared to negotiate about the gold, rather than just giving whatever amount they’ve asked for.

    So I’d say both greed and public image/appearances is what motivates your family. Those are very low motives, unfortunately. And they are very rude and crude about it – they are quick to lie, gossip, threaten and emotionally blackmail you:

    They said they were stressed and couldn’t sleep, and they threatened that if I married this guy, my brother would leave our home because he thought these people were not good. They even talked about the possibility of a fight happening in front of our house back home if my marriage went wrong. One of my sisters, who had already asked me for money and whom I paid a bribe for, said she would move away from our area because she couldn’t handle my mother-in-law’s behavior.

    So really, they use any means to try to control you and force you to do their bidding. I hope you see that you need to protect yourself from this toxic system. I hope you see that it would be absolutely devastating for you to move back to India and let them “take care” of you (They told me to complete my education and come back, saying they would take care of me).

    What you need is to move further and further away from them, both financially and emotionally. And stay physically as far away as possible from them.

    As for the money, I would settle the debt. As for helping your mother, perhaps the best way is to pay a monthly lump sum for her expenses. And to let everyone know (including your mother) that you are paying it, and what it is for.

    If you want to pay for some other emergencies (such as your sister’s medical emergency – when she had a brain tumor), you can do it out of the goodness of your heart – because you are not a stingy person. But don’t let yourself be manipulated and feel obliged to pay for your siblings’ (and their husbands’) living expenses.



    Dear Peace,

    I am very glad to hear that your studies are going well, and that you’ve secured an internship which might turn into a full-time job once you get your diploma. And that you are financially independent. Well done!

    And also, I am thrilled to hear that you are happy with your husband, that he loves you, respects you and is supporting you every step of the way. That’s really precious and I am so glad things worked out for you in the love department!

    Sorry to hear about struggles with your family though. They haven’t changed much, on the contrary, their behavior is appalling. First they were vehemently opposing your husband, being super racist, then seemingly “tolerating” him if they can get enough gold from his family. When their appetites haven’t been satisfied, they started again with baseless insults and defamation of your husband and his family.

    They are leading a vicious campaign against this good, innocent man and his family, which seems to be an okay family and don’t deserve to be treated like that. Your husband certainly doesn’t deserve to be treated like that. You neither, of course.

    You’re seeing it very well that they want to make you their slave, fulfill all their wishes, they want to control you completely (In their eyes, making them proud meant becoming their slave because they wanted to control my decisions.). And even if you do everything they say, even if you sacrifice yourself for these mean, selfish people (sorry, I have to call them like that), you’ll still never be good enough for them. You will still be beneath them, and they will always find faults with you – each time you don’t do what they tell you. That’s how big their “love” is.

    I lost trust and felt betrayed and used during that time.

    They did betray you and have been emotionally abusing you for quite a while now. No wonder you feel betrayed. Because they initially helped you to get to Germany and financially supported you, only to turn against you because you don’t want to follow their dictates. You want to be independent and happy, leading your own life, and not be their slave.

    To be honest, I don’t think you should stay in touch with your family. Or you should reduce contact to a minimum because they are quite toxic. But before cutting or reducing contact, I would settle the debt. If I were you, I would repay the debt – separately to each of your 2 sisters. Make a break down of the costs: how much each of them gave you, and how much you gave to each of them in the last year. The difference is how much you owe to each of them.

    Your brother is a separate category – he didn’t give you any money, right? Instead, you’ve been helping him, but now it’s time to stop financing him. He is an adult man, older than you, and should be capable to take care of himself and his family. If your mother is living with him, you can pay for her expenses. I don’t think you should be paying their bills, but you can pay for your mother’s upkeep and help with her medical bills, if necessary.

    If I were you, I would only pay for my mother’s expenses – not for any of my siblings’ expenses. It’s not your duty to financially support your adult, able bodied siblings.

    So my advice is to insist on repaying your debts and financially separating yourself from your family. Because they are using your debt to financially exploit you and as you say, use you as an ATM machine. That’s why they say “no, you don’t need to repay it now”. But the very next day they come with requests for money….

    That’s why I think it would be very important to clear your debt. Insist on repaying it, and do repay it, even if they object. And then stop giving them more money, except for your mother’s expenses.

    I expect they won’t like it and will try to blame you and guilt trip you, portraying you as a selfish person. But please know that it’s not true – you are a good, honest person, and they are selfish, manipulative, mean people. So try to stay strong and cut as many ties as possible (first starting with financial ties).

    How does this sound?



    Dear Peace,

    oh wow, it’s been a long time! Good to hear from you! And thank you for inquiring and wishing me well.

    Yeah, 2023 has been a very challenging year for me health-wise because my health problems (which came out of the blue) limited me quite a bit and didn’t want to go away. They’ve subsided now a little, thank God, but a new issue came up with my eyes. I went to the doctor, got some eye drops and am hoping it would heal sooner than later. So yeah… this year has been emotionally and mentally challenging, and I am quite exhausted, hoping for a respite.

    How are you? How is your marriage, your studies?


    Hi SereneWolf,

    thanks for checking on me. I had a long vacation and some of my main symptoms luckily improved (yay! 🙂 ). But now I have some eye problems, which make it hard for me to use the computer. I am going to have that checked with the doctor, but in the meanwhile I am taking it easy and letting my eyes rest as much as possible. That’s why I haven’t replied to you – sorry.

    How have you been? How is your job search?


    Dear Katrine,

    good to hear that you’ve contacted the therapist and are planning to start sessions once she comes back from holidays…

    How are you doing? Have you been in touch with the guy?

    Are you going on holidays too, or you’ll be working most of the time?


    Dear Kodi,

    You are spot on about learning to worry about about health issues from a parent.

    Yeah, if our parents (or one of them) is a worrier, they can’t calm us down, but make us even more anxious. Because we as children are helpless and totally dependent on our parents. And so if our parent is worried and anxious, our anxiety goes through the roof. There is no way we can calm ourselves down – since we need them to do that for us.

    And this stays as a pattern, not just the mental pattern of catastrophizing and thinking the worst will happen, but also as hypervigilance in our autonomic nervous system. Our amygdala constantly firing and ringing the alarm bell, even if there is no danger at all.

    I very much relate to this, because my mother is a worrier too, not so much about health but about everything else, always thinking in negative terms. So I’ve learned to worry too, nowadays it’s primarily about my health, because I do have some health issues which objectively make my life difficult. But I see how sometimes I start catastrophizing over the slightest little pain that I have, and it fills me with terror. In those moments I feel like a helpless little child, believing that something terrible is going to happen and I will be doomed.

    Maybe you feel something similar when you start worrying about your son’s illness:

    Whenever my son gets a fever I freak out and am afraid he’s going to die. … I’m utterly exhausted from all the fear, frustration, anger, depression, irritability, guilt – basically every negative emotion you can have.

    Maybe when your son gets a fever, you start catastrophizing, and the alarm system in your brain (amygdala) starts going in overdrive and it spirals out of control. What helps me is to soothe myself in those moments, to tell myself that it’s going to be okay.

    Because what I’ve noticed is that I have 2 parts active in those moments: one is the anxious voice, who is thinking the worst thoughts and believing that the pain I am having means something serious and potentially irreversible. That’s the internalized voice of my anxious mother, telling me that I should be worrying. The other part is my inner child, who is listening to this anxious voice and is freaking out, because the child is helpless and depends on the mother’s protection. If the mother is worried and anxious, then of course the child is in utter terror. And that’s how I really feel in those moments, when the worry gets out of control.

    I’ve recently become aware of this mechanism, and so now when something happens, I tell myself that it’s going to be fine and not to worry. I am trying to soothe my inner child and be the calm, soothing parent to my inner child, rather than the anxious, catastrophizing parent. With that I am hopefully interrupting that automatic loop in my brain that activates the amygdala and gets me in the state of terror.

    Perhaps you could try something similar? Of course, various relaxation techniques might be helpful too. As well as creating that safe, calm space within your home, as Roberta suggested.

    Your mother-in-law (who you said is very calm and loving and loves to laugh) can be an anchor point for you as well, in the sense that not only you visit her regularly, but also, when you start worrying, you can imagine her telling you it’s going to be fine. So perhaps she can serve as that calming, soothing parental voice inside of your head, when your fear gets triggered.



    Dear I,

    I am sorry you’ve been suffering from depression and other health issues. It’s tough to live with a chronic illness, be it mental or physical. I do feel for you.

    And life doesn’t get better, please don’t tell me that. For 20+ years I have felt sad, empty, depressed ect.

    Unfortunately you’re right – life doesn’t just get better by itself. We need to do something about it. Have you been in treatment for your depression? Do you perhaps know what it’s related to? If it started in your childhood/youth, it probably has to do with some sort of adverse childhood experience. I think we cannot really move on in our lives until we heal the major wounds of our childhood.

    Please share some more, if you feel like it.


    Hi Kodi,

    yes, it is perfectly okay to want to be happy, even if there is so much suffering out there in the world. It’s a natural drive of each person, but sometimes this drive is blocked. One reason is that we feel guilty if we’re happy, because e.g. our parents weren’t happy and we felt sorry for them and their suffering.

    You said anxiety and depression run in your family, which is a quite possible reason why you’re suffering from it too. For example, if we have a depressed mother, we naturally want to make her happy and do everything in our power to help her. But we inevitably fail, because it’s a problem that we didn’t cause and that we as a child cannot solve. And because we fail to make our depressed parent happy, we start feeling bad about ourselves, because we believe we’re not good enough or worthy enough – again, blaming ourselves for our parent’s condition.

    Also, if our parent is anxious, they can’t give us proper emotional regulation and soothing. For example, they may get worried easily over each little child’s disease we have, and this makes things much worse because if our parent worries, we feel totally helpless and in terror. Perhaps that’s why you have the tendency to worry about your health excessively, because you’ve learned the pattern of excessive worry and there was no one there to calm you down and tell you that everything’s going to be fine?

    I wonder if you’ve experienced something like this in your childhood/youth?



    Hi Adam,

    I am sorry you’ve broken up with the new girl. I am sorry she went from sending you a good morning message and communicating regularly to barely texting you and not being keen to go on a date. I can imagine it made you feel ignored and hurt, and so to protect yourself, you did something rash: you removed her from your social media. And she naturally didn’t react well to that, moreover she used it to call it quits.

    I guess it was a bit of an overreaction from your side, where instead of talking to her about the change in her attitude/level of interest, you kind of went “ballistic” and removed her. It was a drastic move, born out of your hurt and anger. Just like you said here:

    Over the past week I really felt like I went backwards and I was very emotional over something that probably was very insignificant in the big scheme of things. It felt like I was back with my ex in a way because all I wanted to do was fight and I couldn’t handle the feeling of being ignored. So I started seeing red a bit and was probably a bit irrational.

    Yeah, it was a wounded child reaction, rather than an adult reaction. A better option would have been to talk and ask her what’s going on, and tell her that you feel she’d been distant since your last date.

    Am I expecting too much and being a bit selfish if I don’t get consistent communication and clarity about where we stand early on? It honestly felt like a manipulation tactic and a double standard to me, pulling away whether she meant it or not but then when I did it she got upset and I was the one begging for attention which hurt to hear

    You’re not being selfish if you want consistent communication. It’s okay to want to know what’s going on if the girl has pulled away and stopped showing interest. You absolutely have the right to clarify that. What was unbalanced is the way you tried to solve the problem: by cutting her off instead of talking about what’s bothering you. Instead of being honest and telling her that it bothers you when she is ignoring your messages while you know she is online. So your “solution” was an unbalanced one, although your problem was a valid one. If you see what I mean?

    This girl blamed me for basically ending it because I was the one to remove her but in my eyes I wouldn’t have done it if I was actually getting responses because I would’ve felt more content.

    As I said, you were triggered, and so your solution was a little unbalanced: to cut her off without communicating first. She probably took it as bad sign for the prospect of your relationship, because it’s not a good sign when the partners can’t talk and discuss things but get offended and make rash decisions. So I can understand her strong reaction.

    But also, it seems she is putting the blame for the breakup entirely on you, while the truth is that she had been pulling away recently and showing less interest. She did partially admit it though:

    She admitted it wouldn’t be fair on me with her mood swings and disappearing so in the end she must have had some issues packed away if she told me this.

    So it seems she is aware of her mood swings and disappearing. But instead of talking about it and explaining what’s been going on, she withdrew and started ignoring you. And then you felt hurt, it escalated from there.

    After this whole drama I was stupid and actually texted my ex just out of comfort, but I’m only talking to myself, I genuinely don’t mind if she doesn’t ever reach out.

    Has she replied?

    I think I am starting to actually understand my type and what I want from a potential partner.

    Can you write down what it is that you want from a partner? What I am guessing is that you want your partner not to ignore you but to show a similar level of interest and attachment as you’re showing – so you feel loved and appreciated. Would you say that’s true?



    Hi Beni,

    sorry for the late response, I am on holidays and am not spending much time at the computer. Also am having some health issues, which are bogging me down, so I am not in my top form…

    Yes, I listen to the audiobooks many times and close to everything on youtube. It’s a great tool. I really enjoy to text with you Tee. It’s nourishing and you have a harmonious way to do it. How did you learn it?

    Thanks Beni. I’ve never really learned NV communication per se, just always tried to understand the other person’s point of view and put myself in their shoes. That always helps have more compassion and understanding. And I’ve been a good listener too, always asking people how they are, inquiring about them. But I have to admit, now that I am suffering from health challenges, it’s not always easy because I have to deal with my own pain and have less capacity to deal with other people’s pain.

    Yes, that’s true I tend to stay. Ah, I haven’t made that connection yet that this exact situation means that I’ am stressed.

    Glad you’re noticing it now – that when you feel you don’t have options, it’s actually a stress response, not the reality of the situation. So in those situations, try to slow things down (e.g. do some slow deep breathing), and give yourself time to answer.

    I mean, if someone asks you something you don’t necessarily want to do, you don’t have to give your answer immediately. You can say you have to check your calendar and will let them know later, or something to that effect. And then you can process your upset when you’re alone, and then when you’re calmer, you can decide whether you want to go or not. Keeping in mind that you don’t have to please everyone and that “if you meet someones needs against your own needs, everyone is gonna pay for it“.

    I think I know what you mean. Being loyal and standing true to your word. I belief the most important is the intention behind, what if I do it out of fear? Which is something I observe.

    Yeah, that’s not a good motivation. If you do things you don’t want to do out of fear of being rejected, that’s not a healthy place.

    I think somethings I might have to “mess up” to learn by doing and to reconnect. I belief that’s where the fear is coming from. I did not understand why I had to do things and was manipulated into being afraid instead of showing me why it is important and valuable. I had to them to be accepted.

    You mean your parents intimidated you into doing something which is otherwise important and valuable (e.g. visit a sick grandmother), and you felt pressured to do it? Whereas if they would have explained, you would have done it more gladly?

    It just occurs to me that we need to first have compassion for ourselves, and only then can we have compassion for other people. If we are forced to do something while our own needs are not taken into consideration, what we’ll feel is anger and resentment. And then even if something is worthwhile and kind (such as visiting our sick grandmother), we’ll see it as a burden and have resistance towards it. Not sure if you relate to this?

    I want to do it in a way which nourishes the connection rather than drains it. I can communicate it in the way we spoke about earlier.
    I need to be very careful who I do this too because if I mess up with someone I trust that does not have the capacity it can break my heart.

    I’m just thinking that I want to ask people to do this in a more playful way. It’s actually too scary to do it in real life. I feel that the effects would be similar when played. In the end I think it’s about to learn to take things less personal and that it’s okay when people get angry. (Mom and Dad still love me even if they’re angry).

    Well, we can’t please everyone. It sounds like you’re afraid that if you say No, people will get angry and you can’t bear that. Actually, there might be people who will get angry with us if we set boundaries – because they’ve learned to abuse us and exploit us. But good people – people who are your true friends and who are non-manipulative – will never get angry if you set healthy boundaries. They’ll respect those boundaries. So if you set boundaries and someone attacks you and blames you for that, they’re not a good friend.

    I belief acceptance can be above everything. It’s like telling someone: “I don’t like you, go away” also you’re looking into each others eyes saying: “I accept you”. It differentiate here between acceptance and tolerance. Tolerance to me is to say go away.
    If I tolerate people which act out of my values it closes my heart somehow. If I don’t accept them it makes me loose myself and I loose compassion to the other person. It feels like I betray myself. Can you help me to understand this?

    I hear what you’re saying. You want to be loving to everyone, you don’t want to close your heart to anyone, right? And you feel you need to close your heart to people if you want to set boundaries?

    This might be if those people are manipulative and can’t just accept your boundaries, but blame you for it. And so you start feeling angry with them and inevitably you close your heart, because it hurts to be blamed…. Is that what is happening?

    Thanks for handing this back to me. I’d like to set boundaries with my mother. What I mean is that often the best I can do is, do it in ways which are not nourishing and make her feel rejected. I only want to do it in ways which are more harmonious, if I have the capacity to do it.

    Do you feel she is blaming you and guilt-tripping you if you set boundaries? Because that’s what might cause you to feel rejected, and you might want to go against your wishes and do it anyway, because you don’t want to hurt her?

    When I make me do it, it actually feels like the thing I talked above when I write “self betrayal”, “making me do things I don’t want to do”. It has to do with the impulse to do things perfect even if it’s against my boundaries.

    Yeah, it could be that you do betray yourself because if you’re being yourself, you get blamed and rejected, and you don’t want that. We as children are totally dependent on our parents. And so we often betray ourselves because we need to stay in the relationship – it’s a survival instinct. And we keep that in our adulthood too.

    So you might be doing something similar with you mother – desperately wanting to stay in the relationship and feeling that the only way to do it is if you betray yourself? (or at least that’s how it was the past?)

    Yes, I mean it in a selfish way. I remember quite some situations where I do it in a selfish way. I’d choose this words for it. I do it to cope with the fear of loosing autonomy.

    Sometimes we believe we’re selfish (or people accuse us of being selfish) if we want to respect our own needs. People pleasers believe they are selfish whenever they say No to anything. So I would reevaluate those instances where you felt you were selfish. Maybe you said it in an angry tone and lacking diplomacy, but your basic impulse was to protect yourself and your own needs?

    My minds great in finding every way my doing can hurt other people and it’s getting better at recognize healing things I do.

    Yeah, it seems you are very careful not to hurt people. But sometimes people will be hurt because you’re not letting them to take advantage of you any more. In reality, you’re not hurting them, but they might still accuse you of hurting them…. so that’s a challenge you’ll need to deal with.

    Wow, this is bigger than I thought. It feels like this is connected with why it’s rather difficult to organize meetups with people. I need connection and I know how to get connection without empathy. Hihi, to get connection without empathy. That sound like a crooked and painful concept.

    I think that real, genuine connection can’t exist without empathy on both sides. If you care about people, but they don’t care about you or your needs, that’s not real connection. With some people we just can’t have a genuine connection, because they don’t have empathy or understanding for us, but rather, they want to manipulate us or take advantage of us. I don’t know if this has been your experience, but I am just saying: it’s impossible to be open-hearted and unguarded with everyone because some people will take advantage of that.

    Yes, “schnieef”. I connect to the words you write. Again connection and autonomy

    Yes, we need to have both. We shouldn’t sacrifice ourselves in order to stay in an abusive or manipulative relationship.

    My mom thinks everything is her fault and her responsibility.

    But it seems she somehow shifts (or used to shift) a part of that blame on you? Or you felt sorry for her because she seemed helpless, she was pitying herself (you said she was in the martyr role) – and so you gave up on yourself so she would be less upset and less miserable about her own life?

    I wanted to say that in this situation she does not know how to meet her needs yet and what I think she really needs.
    I think she’s working on herself. She’s not reaching out to me.

    Good. If she’s learning how to meet her own needs, rather than expecting you to do that, that’s a good sign. I hope she’ll keep working on herself and also that you’ll be able to set better boundaries with her, not feeling selfish for doing that.



    Hi SereneWolf,

    sorry for the delay, I am on holidays and spending less time at the computer.

    That’s good! Also that’s why you’re an awesome wise mentor!

    Thank you! Although I have to say, these last few days have been rough health-wise, so it was hard to stay optimistic. But then it eventually got better again, and I can keep on keeping on…

    Well you do have a point and I’m doing like a spiral always just running away from commitment like this, and I think now I’m just using bigger excuse to run away from this. I don’t know when I’ll be emotionally “available.”

    I guess when you start working on those attachment wounds and the fear of intimacy and vulnerability. When you heal enough so you won’t feel threatened by being in a relationship. Because right now, you probably fear that you’ll lose your freedom, independence, ability to do what you enjoy doing, right? Maybe you’re also afraid of being judged, so you feel you need to perform and meet certain expectations, and can’t just be yourself in the relationship?

    But another thing is also that I don’t want to settle down so soon I feel like if things go well, like my other friends 2-3 years in relationship and then get married and get kids and then have your family responsibilities. Then I’d missed out on enjoying my 20’s like adventure travel and etc…

    Sure, it’s totally okay to be in a relationship with someone who is on the same page regarding settling down and having children. So you don’t feel pressured into something you don’t want to. Because having children is indeed a great responsibility and it will change your life.

    But you said your girlfriend isn’t really rushing to get married and have children. So it seems she isn’t the cause of stress but it’s more like that you’re telling yourself that being in a relationship means needing to settle down and have children within the 2-3 year time span. So it’s more like the false belief and the expectation that you are putting on yourself is what causes you pressure, rather than your girlfriend putting pressure on you, right?

    He be like I gave all of you freedom to do anything you want (Which is somewhat right)

    Hmm, well, he didn’t stop you when you moved away from home at the age of 16. In that sense he gave you freedom. But him letting you move didn’t mean he approved of it, or that he approved of your actions in general. Because you said he was very critical and judgmental of you, and he only approved of you when you behaved exactly the way he expected of you. The moment you failed to meet his impossible expectations (e.g. when you failed to give him the proper tool who was asking for, or you failed to be the best student in your school) – he would judge you harshly.

    So I’d say he never gave you the freedom to be yourself – even if he gave you the freedom to move away from home.

    during the call he also said that he also could made mistakes

    I don’t know if he meant to say that he might have made mistakes in your (and your siblings’) upbringing? If he is willing to admit that he might have made mistakes, that’s already something. Because my mother isn’t willing to admit that.

    I’m freshly 28! Don’t make me older please

    Haha, you said you were in your late 20s, so I put the highest possible age. But if you’re even younger than that, then my words have an even bigger weight! 🙂 Because you’re really young and the entire life is ahead of you.

    and Yeah I agree but this actively defending is seems hard! Is there any more efficient way? Like it happens in background or subconsciously etc? I’m being lazy I know Heck I even have time yet I’m not putting it for right use.. I should do that

    You see this last sentence? Your inner critic used the opportunity to judge you for being lazy and not working on actively defending yourself from…. the inner critic himself! You see that mechanism? The inner critic uses everything to turn things against you, even my advice on how to get rid of it! So just pay attention to that and notice every time you scold yourself for anything. Because every such scolding is the inner critic in action.

    Yeah so I have two interviews soon, and one HR was like this is an entry level position I believe you’re too senior for this but still if you want we can discuss further… and I do like this position even though it’s entry level it’s a really good pay even more than manager level pay. So I’m thinking talking to him like I’m more interested in this position for growth opportunity later on… But if you have better suggestion you can suggest me

    If you like the position and it pays well even at the entry level, and it gives you an opportunity for career advancement – then sure, go for it! The only question is – how come the entry level pays more than the manager level somewhere else? Have you checked if this company is legit and there are no scams involved? If they are legit, if there’s nothing fishy, then I’d say take it, by all means.



    Hi Adam,

    sorry for the late reply, I am on holidays and don’t always have access to the computer.

    I already noticed myself getting some attachment over this past week. We are talking less at the moment which I am somewhat fine with but it’s definitely making me a little bit anxious also. Not sure if I’m overthinking it but I feel I am getting mixed messages and I don’t know how to talk to her about this without coming across to forward or eager.

    I think it’s not too soon to start feeling attached after a month of knowing her. You say she is giving you mixed signals – does it mean she sometimes shows more interest and is contacting you more, and at other times she is more distant, doesn’t respond to your texts, doesn’t want to meet and suchlike?

    I’m just a bit lonely at the moment and I don’t know if that’s why I’m interested in this girl more than I should be

    Well, you do tend to feel bad when you’re alone. You said you quickly feel bored and can’t really enjoy things if it’s not with a partner. Since being alone is a source of pain and discomfort for you, it’s no wonder you want to stop that and find a partner as soon as possible. So yes, that could be a reason why you start hoping and perhaps getting a little too attached even if she is giving you mixed signals, or she simply needs more time to warm up to the relationship.

    I’m trying to just distance myself and not put all my eggs in one basket but I have always found this hard.

    I understand that. You don’t want to date more people simultaneously and keep more options open, but you want to build a deep relationship with one person. That’s okay. You don’t need to go against your nature and start dating casually, because if it doesn’t come naturally, it will be forced and you won’t feel good.

    Instead, try to tell yourself that you’re a good person – a lovable and totally cool person – even if this girl doesn’t always show the kind of enthusiasm that you would like. Even if she isn’t too eager, tell yourself that you’re still a great guy. Because what you really need is a better relationship with yourself and to reduce the negative self-talk.

    You said you’re quite critical with yourself, you hold yourself against a high standard. This is unfortunately fueling the inner critic and the belief that you’re not good enough. If you can be kinder and more compassionate with yourself, the inner critical voice will lessen and you’ll be able to enjoy your own company more and feel better in your own skin, so to speak. And so you won’t be longing for a partner so desperately and will be able to better tolerate periods when you’re single. If that makes sense?

    I don’t know if I should speak with her honestly, leave it and see how things go or just distance myself even more and not stay in contact as much.

    Hm, maybe you don’t need to talk to her yet, but rather try an experiment: whenever she doesn’t reply as quickly as you’d hope for, tell yourself that you are good and lovable anyway. In other words, try to soothe your inner child whenever he feels neglected and abandoned, or not good enough. How does this sound?



    Hi Beni,

    That’s a very good point. People tend to be overwhelmed or to give advice.

    Thank you, I am glad you like it. Yeah, some people are quick to try to fix the problem, rather than just listening and empathizing with the person. And some don’t know what to say and feel uncomfortable. So yeah, you might want to try this approach with the people you trust.

    In Non-Violent Communication, one teaching which stuck with me was: “If you meet someones needs against your own needs, everyone is gonna pay for it”

    Oh I love that! Very good point. Have you been learning NV communication? Because you do sound very balanced in your communication here…

    And yet there are situations where I do not leave because I forget that I can. I forget that I have options. Or I just can’t (mentally) and then I know it and live with that.

    Yes, when we’re in the stress response, our rational brain sort of switches off and our perspective shrinks. We don’t see that we have options. And so we slip into our automatic reaction, which for you might be to stay in a situation even if it’s uncomfortable.

    Yes, it’s about admitting to your self that I have options. I can skip work, weddings, breakfast or whatever if I want. This really helps, these days it’s one of my main practices to give myself all the options. Maybe even too many. I give it to other people too, it’s like: “Whatever you’re gonna do I will accept you”.

    Yes, that’s good – to know that you do have options, and to allow yourself to do what feels right to you, not that what is expected from you. So you’re giving yourself unconditional acceptance. Which is cool!

    Maybe even too many.

    Well, if you choose to do things that might be hurtful to others, that’s a different story. For example, you promise something to someone and they count on you, and then you change your mind in the last moment leaving them stranded – that would be giving yourself too much leeway. Not having accountability. So that’s already the opposite extreme. But if your actions don’t cause harm to anyone, you absolutely have the right to give yourself options and refuse to do what doesn’t feel right to you.

    “Whatever you’re gonna do I will accept you”.

    Again, if you give someone a “carte blanche” to take advantage of you, that’s not the best you can do for yourself. You need to protect yourself from toxic people, for example. But if this person is not harming you, then indeed you can give them the freedom to do what they want without feeling offended about it.

    There’s more to it, the next step might be that there are boundaries and values added to it. Acceptance and tolerance.

    Yes, exactly. You can be both tolerant and accepting and have boundaries. Because a boundary indicates the point where you start feeling violated in some way – when their actions affect you in a negative way. We shouldn’t accept everything, e.g. we shouldn’t accept abuse. Boundaries serve that purpose – to protect ourselves from abuse.

    I read that some people can’t say no at all, some options are just not practical even if it would be the right thing to do. I don’t push for it anymore. Like with my mom. I accept it happening or not happening.

    You mean you don’t want to set a boundary with your mother, even if it would be the right thing to do? Don’t know if I understood that right…

    The first part : “I know how much you’d love to see this movie”, I really want to adopt that. I think it can help making it less scary because there is empathy with autonomy. Yeah, I think I really want to use empathy and autonomy together. That might be powerfull. Autonomy is kinda scary by itself.

    Yes, definitely, setting boundaries is best done if you have empathy and understanding for the other person. That’s the point of being assertive: you respect the other person’s needs, but you also respect your own needs.

    Autonomy in itself in not bad though. I guess you mean autonomy as in being selfish and self-centered? Not taking other people into account? And yeah, that’s bad.

    I think in the broad I mean that somedays I feel connected and then shy again (withdrawl). In romantic relationship’s I get very attached and then I need a lot of space. BPD is overkill. I can connect with the following.

    – abandonment is unbearable
    – unstable sense of self
    – it feels like I can’t be without a person (that’s what it makes hard to leave)

    So are you saying that you’re not diagnosed with BPD, but you see some similarities with it in your behavior?

    What you’re saying here: “In romantic relationship’s I get very attached and then I need a lot of space. abandonment is unbearable” could indicate that you need a secure attachment with your romantic partner (something you haven’t received from your mother), but you also need a lot of autonomy too, a lot of freedom to be yourself (which again, you were not allowed as a child).

    Both of those instincts – to be attached/bonded to someone and to be free to be ourselves – are healthy impulses. They are not or should not be in a contradiction with each other. But in an unhealthy relationship they are in contradiction, because we can’t be bonded if we are being ourselves. As a child, we were rejected if we were ourselves, e.g. if we showed neediness or weakness or whatever our parents didn’t like. So we were conditioned to abandon ourselves.

    And it could be that you’re having this struggle within you: how to be bonded to someone and at the same time remain autonomous, remain free to be yourself?

    And I get you, de only difference is our mom’s strategy.

    What is your mom’s strategy?

    Yes, she does. You right, it’s great and a thing to be celebrated. Good to be reminded.

    Yes, that’s good news and something to be appreciated. I hope your relationship improves as a result!

    Yes, I noticed that I answer questions which are more specific. I think she needs to connect and in this moment and does not know how.

    Oh I see… so you think that she wants to genuinely connect and have a deeper relationship with you, but doesn’t know how, since her previous patterns were not healthy? But now, as she is working on herself, she wants to change that?



    Hi Beni,

    thank you too, it’s a pleasure to talk to you.

    Yes, I think I’m in some transition phase.

    Good, you definitely have a lot of self-awareness, you’re very observant of yourself. And you’re understanding your old patterns and trying to respond differently in some situations. Which is great! It’s a slow change, but that’s totally okay.

    You can even tell some people – but only those you trust – that you’re trying to be more open about your feelings and show more vulnerability, and so not to worry about you but simply lend you a listening ear, without needing to fix anything. I don’t know if this would be too much to ask, but anyway, just a suggestion in case it may help you open up even more.

    Guess your right, I don’t feel some things there yet. In such situations it’s kinda like I don’t remember my autonomy and I can submit or rebel. It’s not always like this and I am already doing way better than a few years ago. Sometimes I know what I want and it’s scary to say. I want to learn how to say it in a gentle and assertive way.

    What I am noticing is that your communication style is very gentle. So I am guessing that you have it in you and that it won’t be that hard to express yourself in a gentle, yet assertive way.

    As for the black-or-white reaction (submit or rebel), that’s very typical because those are the only two ways we’ve learned as children. And it’s actually a part of our trauma response (fight-flight-freeze). Fight would be to rebel, flight or freeze would be to submit, I guess.

    I think what could help is not to view such situations like an attack – like someone threatening you – but more like someone expressing their preference and you having the right to accept it or refuse it. You having the right to express your own preference.

    My experience is that whenever I don’t feel helpless about the situation, the more empowered and less angry I feel. Because I know I have options – I can say no and refuse to do what I don’t want to do. So this gives me a more relaxed attitude about it, rather than triggering the fight-or-flight response, where I feel I need to defend myself from danger.

    And then you can be more diplomatic about it, e.g. saying “I know how much you’d love to see this movie, but I really feel tired today and need to get some rest”. So you acknowledge their need, but you also express your own need. That’s how you assert yourself politely and gently. Does that makes sense?

    Yap, that’s how it feels like. I watched a video yesterday about borderline personality and thought ah that’s how it feels.

    You mean the extremes of feelings that a person with a BPD feels (e.g. first the intense love for someone, then intense hate after the person doesn’t give them everything they ask for)?

    I reflect a lot about boundaries these days. I’d like to learn how to set healthy boundaries. I don’t think it’s something I can pretend to have or not to have.

    Yeah, you can’t pretend to have boundaries. I mean, we can have too weak boundaries, which can be easily crossed, or too rigid boundaries, where we put up a wall around ourselves. It takes some healing and practice to learn how to set healthy boundaries. And also self-awareness, because you first need to know what is it that you want and don’t want in your life.

    I’m not shure what would happen. Memory says it’s dangerous.

    I totally get you. I also have a bad experience acknowledging weakness or vulnerability to my mother. It always backfired because she would blame me for my own suffering, telling me that it’s all my fault, or she would later use the information against me, to attack me or judge me in some way. She never showed empathy. So yeah, admitting that I am hurting was always dangerous and traumatic.

    It might be alright as she is working on herself too.

    Oh really? Is she attending therapy? Because my mother has always refused it – she keeps blaming other people (including me) for her problems.

    It’s easy to answer more closed questions, that is something she could do. I also know that in such situations I’d not remember any closed questions.

    I’d like to help her, I could ask her what would you like to know?

    You mean, when she asks you how you are, but actually has that martyr expression on her face and you know she isn’t really interested in knowing how you are – you think that it would help if you asked her “what would you like to know?” instead of answering a more general question of “how are you?”


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