- This topic has 22 replies, 5 voices, and was last updated 5 years, 10 months ago by Anonymous.
January 25, 2018 at 6:59 pm #189069
Hello, everyone. I have introduced myself on these forums before, and I appreciate all your help and guidance.
I was looking for some thoughts on a problem that has long been disturbing me. I have a hard time getting close with people intimately: I really don’t know why, but it is the worst. My past relationships have all failed because I have been unable to be intimate. I haven’t dated anyone in over 3 years because I have an intense fear of intimacy. I know that this is very silly, but I can’t get it out of my head.
The worst part about all of this is that even more than an intense fear of intimacy, I also have a fear of being alone for the rest of my life. I often have nightmares where I am all by myself with no one and nothing.
I decided to take some time off from my studies this year to work for a non-profit in Colorado for a year, but I am intensely afraid of going there and being all alone. This is very odd because most people would describe me as a charismatic people person, but that’s as far as my relationships with others go. I feel unable to express deep love, and I really don’t know what to do about it.
I don’t want to be alone forever.January 25, 2018 at 7:01 pm #189071
The thing that makes this more ridiculous is that I have jumped out of an airplane before, but I can’t seem to handle finding a relationship.January 25, 2018 at 8:14 pm #189101
I understand that fear. I don’t think I ever really loved someone in my life. I can love as a verb but to deeply feel that love with a romantic partner I wonder.
I also buy into the concept of needing to love myself first and foremost. The Metta Meditation is a good technique to help with that.
I have gone on multi-day silent meditation retreats. I figure this way I get to be with myself and only myself in order to go deep and accept me. I recommend that. Perhaps your Colorado work will be that for you?
When you say you cannot be intimate, what does that look like? That can be many types of behavior or non-behavior.
I look to Bene’ Brown’s work on vulnerability in order to allow people in and reveal yourself to them. Check out her TED talk on You Tube and her book(s).
I would work on being emotional open and vulnerable with people other than those you want to be a girlfriend with. Do that with friends, family and even strangers. Of course having therapy is a good avenue as well in order to explore the core that is keeping you from that.
If intimacy is showing people your flaws, frailties, fears as well as revealing how you are feeling and thinking at the present moment then that is something you can practice with anyone. This is called being authentic and vulnerable.
What do you think?
MarkJanuary 25, 2018 at 8:39 pm #189109
Hi, Mark. I appreciate your kind advice again. I fear that if I ever were to show people what I actually feel at the moment, it would not go over very well. I have a lot of anxiety and apprehension, though, I am trying my very best to keep this contained.
I want to have the aura of being confident and self-assured, not afraid to try new things, but in the back of my head, I can only think that this is a façade, that in reality, I don’t feel very confident or self-assured at all- I literally don’t have a single clue what I am doing, and am just throwing myself at a bunch of things to feel like I belong to something.
I know that probably seems very ungenuine, but it’s how I feel.
The thing that makes me feel even more like a fraud is that I can literally help anyone get just about anything they want, and I take a lot of joy in doing that, but I don’t know how to get anything I want. I’m not even sure what I want.
As far as the intimacy, I have a hard time developing a deep and loving connection with other people. A lot of them just seem very distant to me. Perhaps what it comes down to is that I haven’t met the right person yet.January 25, 2018 at 8:40 pm #189111
I guess no one would like the answer: “I literally don’t have a single clue what I am doing right now” very well.January 25, 2018 at 8:45 pm #189113
I also don’t want to sound too self-pitying when I say this, but I only feel really good about myself when I know I have an impact on others around me.
If I am by myself, I often feel like I am worthless, a waste of space, a fraud, a piece of trash. I guess it’s part of the reason I don’t like to be alone.January 25, 2018 at 9:04 pm #189117
If I am being honest, I believe that I tie my self worth to what I can accomplish and do for others. I will go out of my way to help people accomplish their goals and dreams, but I have very little regard for myself. Most of the time, I live with feelings of intense hatred and disgust.
It seems that no matter what I do, it will not be enough.
I was suprised to find out while I was attending therapy sessions that someone was honest with me and said that she’d “never seen someone with such self-loathing,” which was surprising, considering that I was doing my very best to hide it.
I suppose people can see that sort of thing when I can’t.January 26, 2018 at 6:28 am #189141
Good that you are aware of what works for you and what you don’t want for yourself.
I cannot help but notice of all the ideas I gave in my response to your post that you chose to respond to only one which your rejected because it is too uncomfortable for you to try.
It sounds that you’d rather wait for the right person in order to change than do the inner work for yourself. Perhaps what it comes down to is that I haven’t met the right person yet.
You talk about wanting to come across as self confident and self assured and therefore it is too risky to try to be genuine. I know that most people are not fooled by what we try to project and who we really are. Our energy and body language gives us away of what is really going on inside.
Change is uncomfortable and can be scary. Staying in our stuckness is familiar and safe. I understand that being highly anxious is a daunting challenge to do anything.
I wish you well in your journey.
MarkJanuary 26, 2018 at 8:01 am #189163AnonymousGuest
You wrote yesterday: “I only feel really good about myself when I know I have an impact on others around me. If I am by myself, I often feel like I am worthless… I guess it’s part of the reason I don’t like to be alone… Most of the time, I live with feelings of intense hatred and disgust… It seems that no matter what I do, I will not be enough”-
To understand more the situation now, we have to look at how it started: a baby, a young child, is not born with a sense of his own worth, neither is he born with a sense of lack of individual worth. It is born open, wide open to input. If a parent smiles at the child, expressing pleasure for having the child in the parent’s life, that becomes the child’s sense of self worth.
Without that smile, without the message from a parent that he or she is pleased to have you in her life, later in life, true: “no mater what I do, I will never be enough”-
You can make the whole world smile (Robin Williams did, an international comedian and movie star), but if you didn’t make that one person in your beginning life smile, there is indeed nothing you can do to make up for that early lack.
Nothing you can do unless you heal, that is. Heal from the lack of that smile, and often, from the frown of the parent looking at you in those early days.
If what I wrote here means something to you, let me know.
anitaJanuary 30, 2018 at 12:45 pm #189835
Yes, I appreciate the advice. I guess my problem is that I don’t necessarily feel worthless- I know deep down that I am, that deep down I will amount to nothing. It goes beyond a sense of just feeling bad about myself over something I’ve done: it is existential.
Last year, after a bout of major depression, I was diagnosed with a persistent mood disorder, which makes absolute sense, as I can remember being as young as 2nd grade and wanting to run out in front of a car and die.
It really is the most awful thing to experience, going through life feeling absolutely awful about yourself, but you learn how to hide it well.
Most people would say that I have a good sense of humor and always seem very happy, but this is a facade, a carefully constructed image that I have crafted for myself-not even so much as to protect my self from pain, but others as well.
After awhile, you learn to get really good at it, to the point where you could be nominated for an Oscar for best actor, but the part is a very tiring one to play.
Most days I feel like the only way I can protect myself from feeling the pain of being me is by trying to make other’s day better- at least that way I can feel a little good about myself (if only for awhile).
That’s why it’s really awful to be alone when the one you hate most is the one that looks back at you in the mirror. It’s like being in an abusive relationship that you can’t end because to end the relationship would be to end yourself.
Either way, I must go on.January 30, 2018 at 2:21 pm #189841
You made the effort to post here asking for help with the posting title, “I Have a Real Big Problem. I’m Not Sure How to Deal With It.”
You told us that you have been diagnosed with persistent mood disorder and have had seen a therapist. I would think that the therapist would be most qualified to give you help with this issue. Plus I don’t see you really taking in any suggestions put forth here despite asking for help.
Are you more here to be listened to? I want to clarify your intention and what you want from us.
MarkJanuary 30, 2018 at 4:20 pm #189849
Yes, sorry, I should have sought more clarification. I did attend therapy last year, and I was put on anti-depressant meds for at least 4 months or so. Overall, I found the experience helpful, as it allowed me to process a lot of uncomfortable emotions that I had held onto for years, particularly, a time when I was beaten with rocks at a young age (not my parents), people that I thought were my friends.
My problem is that I still have a voice in the back of my mind that tells me really awful things that I wouldn’t say about anyone, and the longer I am by myself doing nothing, the stronger the voice becomes. When I talked to a psychologist about it, he said that I may have to live with the fact that this voice may never go away, but it is very hard. I want to seek validation for what I do (which I know is indeed selfish), and when I don’t get it, I feel instantly crushed.
I am coping right now the best I can by trying to do meditation and keeping myself busy (but this honestly feels like trying to run away from myself).
I really honestly have no idea what I am doing with my life at the moment (to be honest, I never really did). At this point, I am essentially keeping myself busy to prevent from going insane.
I guess what I should have been more clear with is that I have a difficult time silencing the tape recorder in my head. It tells me that I am worthless, I will be forever alone, etc..
Going to therapy helped somewhat, but I don’t think that it helped with everything. My therapist asked me to question whether this voice was telling the truth or not, but the only answer I can come up with is “yes,” so I’m really not sure how to approach this yet.
As far as being unable to be intimate, I also think it comes from this voice that repeats in my head.January 30, 2018 at 6:12 pm #189851
I am sorry that you feel burdened by your anxiety and low self esteem. Must be hell.
It sounds like you are doing things that are helping yourself like helping others to get the validation you need and seeing a psychologist.
I encourage you to continue to find activities and places where you can help others for that seems like something that makes you feel better.
MarkJanuary 30, 2018 at 6:40 pm #189853
Thanks, Mark. Part of the problem with my anxiety is because of the way the economy is in this day and age, I can’t really afford to wait any longer to begin my life, but it feels so overwhelming that I have no idea where to start. Sometimes I lie awake at night fretting about the future.
I was originally planning on nursing, but after spending some time at a nursing home, I didn’t like the very little attention that the patients seemed to receive. I was under the impression that the nurses did more than just stop into a patient’s room, ask them how they are doing, maybe do a couple things, and then leave. It seemed very impersonal to me.
Thankfully, I have done well enough in my studies where I was accepted into an online OTA program that would take a year to complete, and this seemed like a better fit for me, as it is far more personal and development orientated. The problem is, however, that even though the program is one of the best in the country, the cost is over 40,000 dollars a year, so if I decided to do it, I would end up with over 80,000 dollars in debt, not including interest. The cost of paying that off over a lifetime would be crushing. The program would also require me to travel to Virginia for hands-on training every Wednesday of the month, and I just don’t think it would be possible to afford all those expenses, considering that all my money for my education I have paid for entirely by myself.
So for the moment, I am attempting the AmeriCorps program in Colorado, working for a non-profit agency. I do have a great passion for helping people learn– the ESL classes at the library I absolutely love, but I can’t help but feel that I am wasting my time. I’ve invested 3 years into my education, and maybe only 2 of my classes would qualify as a position as an ESL teacher. So for the moment, I feel completely stuck.
I am living with my parents at the moment because it didn’t work well for me to live with my roommate, and I currently don’t make enough or get enough hours at the group home to move out, so this seems the next best thing for me.
I am a bit concerned, as well, for taking the assignment, as I don’t know anyone in Colorado, and it is just like the military: once you are in, you are in. I am afraid that I will be absolutely lonely for an entire year, which is a hard thought to think about, but I try to stay positive and hope that I have a wonderful experience.
I guess aside from the episodes of depression, there is a lot of uncertainty about everything at the moment.January 31, 2018 at 3:56 am #189873AnonymousGuest
Following my post to you, you wrote yesterday: “I guess my problem is that I don’t necessarily feel worthless- I know deep down that I am, that deep down I will amount to nothing”-
this deep down knowing is believing. What we believe is something we feel is true. A belief is a combination of a thought (ex: I am worthless), and a feeling/emotion that glues the thought into a neuropathway in our brain, a web of pathways.
As you know, there are people who believe to be true what you… believe is not, religious beliefs, for one, that you find.. unbelievable. Same with your belief that you are worthless- it is a belief, not necessarily true.
You mentioned earlier that you grew up with cerebral palsy. How has that affected you and how does it still affect you, in the context of employment, relationships (that fear of intimacy you mentioned), and otherwise?