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Re: Therapist tells me.... Amanda29

Posted by raisinb on August 30, 2008, at 10:55:43

In reply to Therapist tells me...., posted by Amanda29 on August 29, 2008, at 20:50:45

Hi Amanda--
I wanted to answer your post because I have gone through so many of the same feelings. But I feel like a lot of what I'm going to say is will sound cliched or unhelpful. But I don't mean it to be.

Anyway, I spent a lot of years feeling much like you, and what I learned is only what worked for me, so take it with a grain of salt.

But I think that going over and over what makes you unlovable--or at least makes it "difficult" for others to want to connect with you--is not quite the right way to go about it.

People used to say to me all the time, "before others can love you, and before you can accept their love, you have to learn to love yourself." I used to hate that. First of all, how exactly was I supposed to do that when I never had love in the first place? Second of all, it sounded pretty judgmental.

In the end, I found out that it was true, though. Or rather, once I got a little better at loving myself, I didn't need others' love so much, and I got better at seeing them, which has improved my relationships dramatically.

I wish I could list the steps by which this happened, but I'm not quite sure. I know it took a lot of pain and crisis, and even a suicide attempt. I know it wouldn't have happened without my therapist's commitment and caring, but I also think if she hadn't activated an intense, conflicted, painful transference in me, nothing much would have changed. My therapy has been truly horrible at times (and I'm sure it will continue to be), but I can't see how it could have worked any other way.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, do everything you can to start loving and valuing yourself. I discovered how to do this almost by accident, and I also learned, through crisis, that I had to do it, or I'd probably end up dead. If I hadn't had this stark realization--if I hadn't hit bottom--I never would have changed my relationship with myself.

I did--and still do--small things that might seem silly to others. I started really looking at myself in the mirror--really seeing myself, and having compassion for myself. I talk to myself and reassure myself, rather than beating myself up. I spend a long time in the shower washing myself lovingly, rather than quickly, as if my body's something to be quickly dispensed with (see, I told you it would sound silly). I make myself breakfast and take vitamins. I take my medication religiously. I take myself places I want to go, like you'd take a child out. I suppose once I hit a crisis point, all of this stuff intuitively came to me. It is hard to do. I have spent thirty-some years berating myself and obsessively searching for what *else* is wrong with me. Even though it's destructive, it can be done without thinking.

I don't know what will work for you. But it does sound to me like you're trying a little too hard to get your therapist's love, and that of others, when you can learn to love yourself a little, and that's something that nobody can take away from you. And it leads to a whole new view of other people, one that I think--as an added bonus--improves your connections with them.

I also want to echo what Racer and Healing said. Those are very insightful posts.




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