Hello, I am a 28 year old woman, currently heartbrokenly single. I have been in a few serious relationships, one 4 year, and one two year.
I am worried though, no, extremely worried that I will never have a healthy relationship again and that I am destined to be alone forever and ever.
I know this sounds dramatic, but here me out...
My concern is not so much finding someone, or being good enough of what not (though those are concerns as well) I am more worried because I seem to have a SERIOUSLY difficult time letting go of someone that I love. It obliterates me in fact. I am in therapy now to try to get to the bottom of why I have such intense abandonment problems, and so far I have no answer, my childhood was more or less normal, happy, etc.
But I am crazy nonetheless. I like myself, and I like spending time alone, I am considerably independant in so many ways, and yet, when I loose a man I really really love, I fall apart. I realize that everyone falls apart when their heart is broken, but my reaction is frigteningly extreme, and has twice landed me in the hospital to get an i.v. because I was so physically ill from the sadness that I lost a lot of fluid.
I know, it sounds pathetic and weak, and maybe it is. But I know that I am also strong and reslient, so this reaction really confuses me, and feels totally out of my control.
I have been on and off with my ex for almost a year now (mostly because of long distance) and for the past few months we have been trying to dot he friend thing, but yesterday I had to tell him it was too hard, I still love him, and so I'm not able to keep in touch right now. He didn;t respond, and is probably ignoring me. I feel pathetic and crazy.
And all day today I felt like I was loosing him again, and have been crying my eyes out! Evn though we are already long past broken up, the fact that he did not react to me made me feel invisible and like he doesn'r care at all.
I am getting side-tracked, I;m sorry.
My point is I feel awful, and I can easily spiral down into this. How am i supposed to be able to get into realtionships if I am dangerously depressed and debilitated for months and months after they end?
What is wrong with me? Why do I attach so strongly, and why am I so devastated when it doesn;t work? Even when I know something is wrong for me, even when I know it is over, it takes me sooooo sooooo long to accept it. It;s crazy. I'm worried this means I am doomed to be alone forever, like I am inherently flawed since I am so intesnely affected by love and the loss of it.
Ending a relationship is not unlike losing somebody who has died. The death of a relationship can cause as much grief and mourning as when we have to face the death of a loved one. I know many people (including some on this board) who are totally devastated when they break up, and very shocked at the depth of grief they are experiencing. There may be abandonment issues here - the extreme nature of your separation grief sounds quite childlike to me (I do not mean in the sense of immature, but of a little child part of you who is totally devastated and distraught at being, for example, left at day care for the first times). Maybe something as innocent and everyday as this upset you in early life, before you could talk about it, even crying in your crib and not being heard. I have heard of people who can remember this sort of thing, and even in happy childhoods this can happen. My daughter still has painful memories of me forgetting to bring her lunch once at kindy. She was convinced in that time that I had deserted her for good. You just never know what is stuck down there in your subconscious mind. I can see you being afraid of it happening again because it touches something very painful in you.
This present relationship ending like this may give you an opportunity to explore your feelings and try to figure out how to deal with those emotions. I wish you all the best, Sera.
Thanks guys. It's a relief to be able to talk about my feelings openly on this board. I have been sad for so long (TWO YEARS NOW!!) that most, if not all of the people in my life are sick of hearing about it, and they can't see how truly painful these losses were/are for me. It's so incredibly frustrating because I used to see myself as so independent, so loving, so strong, but after each loss of love, I am OBLITERATED. I am riddled with anxiety, panic and a bottomless dread/depression, I would go so far as to say my whole world is shattered, my oerception of things, and I start to feel terrified at life alone, like I will never find happiness again.
I should note that I am not the type of person that hops from one relationship to the next, in fact I have spent quite a lot of time alone, probably proportionate to the ammount of time I have spent in a relationship.
I can see now, and I guess I always knew somehow, that I never truly recovered from my first SEVERE heartbreak (I'd had ones before this as well, but this one was terrifying.) This happened about 5 years ago when I seperated from my close childhood friend and boyfriend of 4 years. Although I chose to end the relationship because he was too much trouble (lots of drugs, drinking, etc.) and I was going back to school, once we actually stopped talking and he started dating an aquaintence of mine, I was DEVASTATED. Even though i knew he was no good for me, I felt like our whole 4 years waas a sham, and felt that if the person I was closer to than anyone IN MY ENTIRE LIFE, then I must truly be totally alone, people must not truly know how to love.
I endured an initial period of intense panic and gut-wrenching depression, and even ended up in the E.R. from dehydration and lack of sleep. Mind you, I was trying my absolute best to keep it together, and to take care of myself, and yet NOTHING I could do lessoned the pain, and my whole body revolted.
This is so frustraating for me becuase I used to be so strong (before having my heart broken) and I have a strong sense of self, and am incredibly self-reliant in many ways, but this bizzare and extreme reaction is out of my control, and makes me feel weak and pathetic.
After the initial horror, I eventually fell into a pattern of drinking to calm the anxiety (something I had never done before) and woke almost every morning feeling devastatred and longing for him, and I had frequent bouts of uncontrollable crying. Very frequent in fact.
I got on with my life in some ways, dated a bit, attended school, remained social, but I still felt afraid and so sad most of the time.
Then I met a new man, and after a very catiious start, fell in love with him after many months. I still had a tremendous ammount of anxiety and some sadness during this realtionship, though it was much more bearable than it had been before. I still thought about my ex of 4 years, but made certain to not have contact with him, it was too hard on me.
Finally I did meet with my ex though, over coffee almost a year and a half after we split, and i finally was able to see him for the jerk he was, and put him behind me and fully give myself to the new-ish relationship.
Having put my ex behind me, I fell deeper in love with my new man, and felt so happy for the first time in a long time. I eventually moved out of stae for my career, and we split, sadly, but I couldn;t see a future for myself in the town we were in, and he owns a buisiness that he could not leave.
After my being gone for a few months, he announcced he could not live without me and wanted to move here.
He came to visit and look for jobs, etc, and I felt closer to him than ever.
Until out of the blue he changed his mind and decided not to come.
I was devatated all over again. I fell into an intense depression after initial vicious anxiety, and motnhs later he contacted me and told me he was coming, he had to. THis also fell through, and I hadn't let go to begin with, but it was like loosing him all over again.
Nine months went by, I couldn't date, though I tried, I could barely sleep much of the time, and became less and less social and more and more sad. I seem to cry at the drop of a hat some days, just seeing happy couples sometimes is enough to make me feel like my stomach has fallen out. I feel so alone.
Eventually he contacted me again, and we had a brief rendezvous, and seriously consdered being togehter again. We still loved each other so much and were both miserable without the other. I spent a week with him, and even though I wanted it so badly, I was too hurt by then, and too sad. He had been with several other women and I had hardly dated at all. Though I could not blame it all on him, I felt that he put us in this position, put all that pain and time between us, and made me feel so lonely for so long.
Though I wanted to, I just couldnt get past the hurt to really give him another shot. We have tried to be friends since then (about 6 motnhs ago) and I even started dating someone seriously. But I still love him....
And my other relationship didn't work (he had serious sexual dysfunction) I was talking with my ex less and less. But just a few days ago I fel the need to tell him I couldn't talk to him anymore, for a while, that I still love him and it is too difficult for me and that I feel lost and sad.
He did not respond to this. And in a way I feel like I am loosing him all over again, even though I know it is what needs to be done, I feel sooooooo sad again. Despondant. I feel doomed to be alone forever. And I am absolutely terrified of not having him in my life.
I have been crying my eyes out the past few days since I told him this. I have to force myself not to call him and tell him how much I love him.
What is wrong with me?
Why do i get soooo sad, why can't I let go?
I should add that my life has been unbearably stagnent the past two years, since our reltionship initally ended, it has been hard for me to focus, get anything done, or even think about the future. I feel stuck and afraid and sad.
No, I really don't think you are a lost cause. If you are a lost cause, then we are all lost causes, too.
I was thinking about what your childhood was like. You played games with other children, didn't you? Perhaps losing a game was very hard for you. It affected your self-esteem and made you feel unloved. In a way, you have to go back to your childhood and relearn to play games just for the fun of it, aware that winning and losing is just a detail.
I also think that you might need a special kind of therapy that is called psychodrama. It has a connection to theatre, to performing, and I have an intuition that this would be good for you. Have you ever been on a stage?
Don't take life too seriously. Much of life is just performance, you know. You have to find ways of reinserting fun and humour into your life. It really doesn't matter if you lose or if you win. What matters is that you live and accept whatever life brings to you.
I just want to say that i can identify with you a lot there were times after my breakup that I really thought how devistated I was coulndt have been normal I watch other people go through break-ups and their rections werent even close to what i went through the only good thing was I lost about 15 pounds seriously. The main problem with that is not moving on I couldnt focus on finding someone else in fact I've gone back and forth with my ex still to this day because i couldnt stand having him out of my life and the depression of even contemplating it. Your going to therapy thats a good step. I if your taking any kinds of medication for your anxiety make sure your following the orders of your meds and not drinking or taking anything else. Sometimes these meds that are designed to help will do the exact opposite if your not careful. There are a lot of people out there that are like you and there are a lot of people out there that are worse than you trust that.
I don't know. I know so much is supposed to be about your childhood. I am resistant to this idea for some reason, but suppose it's probably quite true. I guess I'm resistant to it because I was actually a really happy, silly, fun kid. I had plenty of very close friends. Yes, there were rejections and losses of course, but I always took them in stride. I am in therapy right now to try to get to the root of this tangled mess. I am confused because even though I had some anxiety and serious depresssion before my relationships, it was NEVER as persistant or extreme as it is now after they have ended, painfully.
My therapist seems to think that my relationship with my 2nd boyfriend "uncorked" something in me, and made me attach more strongly to him then anyone, well, EVER.
I think he is right.
Obviously I have close friends and I love my parents and have a pretty good realtionship to them. But something felt almost physiological with this man, biochemically we felt attune. I know sex plays a big role in this for me. I don't know which comes first, the attachment or the sex. But I do know that sex is a way for me to feel close to someone, maybe more so then in other people. I dislike casual sex (to my dismay) not because it makes me feel ashamed or guilty, but because it's simply unsatisfying. I should alos note that I have not become attached to everyone I ever had sex with, so it's obviously much more complex then that.
But what I am saying is that I felt mentally, spiritually and physically attune to these two men. And when I lost that I felt destroyed and maybe more than anything: terrified.
It's hard to explain.
I felt ok about my reltaionships with other people before this, like I said, good friends, good family. But now I feel out of orbit. Unteathered to anyone or anything and it gives me this low-grade anxiety and sadness almost constantly. What is usually in the background, heightens at times and leaves me feeling utterly alone, deastated and very afraid.
It's bizzare, I can't fully expalin it.
It's almost like dread.
The thing is, I have a pretty strong sense of self (at least I used to) I am a unique and independent, stubborn, passionate person, so i am confused by this. i WAS FINE before these men, and now I feel lost, sad, alone, afraid, and estranged from myself in some ways. I feel estranged from joy at times as well.
What is wrong with me????
I want to feel strong and happy again, on my own!! i AM beyond weary of longing for what is already lost.
I think a keyword for you is maturity. When you reach maturity, you will know that you can't feel happy and strong all the time, whether you are alone or with someone else. There are ups and downs. Serenity is another keyword. It takes time. Don't expect to change overnight.
Hmm. I actually consider myself to be quite mature. I don't think this is so much of an issue of immaturity. Like I said, I have had many other losses in my life. I do certainly not expect things to be good all the time. I would be a fool to believe that is how life is. It's much more complex than that, my despair over the loss of love, and why it is so intense and lasting is what I am trying to figure out.
I think you may want to discuss ways of improving your self-esteem with your therapist. I think that low self-esteem is sometimes unrecognized and that is often the reason why some people have a tougher time with a break-up than others. I would recommend finding group therapy as well -- getting the perspective of others in a safe, anonymous way can be very helpful.
Thank you for your input.
I was so sure that the break-ups had not effected my self-esteem too much, as I still really like myself and think I am a good person. That is, until last night I had a bit of an epiphany. I'd already known, quite obviously, that the break-ups had thrown a wrench in my life, inciting some sort of riot of emotion within me: namely severe depression and even more severe and persistant anxiety. Certainly, I struggled with both of these conditions before and during my relationships as well, but they were at least usually tolerable, and if not, only for very brief periods. Well, something flipped after my break-ups and now I feel this weird sense of dread and utter and complete aloneness just at the base of things.
For two years I have been needing a serious change in my life, a vacation would even suffice. Sadly, I have become afraid of change, the very thing which I used to thrive on.
It's hard to explain, and seems to be a very complex problem I have, it's been trying to get to the root of it.
I don't quite know how to explain it, except that I used to be the type of person who wanted to do something, and did it, moved to another country, get a new job, a new house, whatever. And now I am terrified of going off on my own to start anew. I have the strange feeling I will evaporate. Like there is no one there to come home to or who will think of me. It;s hard to expalin. And please, bear with me, I know it sounds bizzare. But it is, in all honesty a bizzare feeling. I mean, I am lonely, but I have many people who love me, and for some reason I cannot carry that love with me like I used to be able to. I just feel alone, and this feeling causes a weird background anxiety and dread, especially when considering moving abroad, which is what I have been wanting to do for two years now.
My question is, has anyone experienced anything like this? And what it the remedy for it?
I want to move forward with my life, but in many ways I feel crippled by the anxiety. I realize that to conquer one's fears, one must face them, but the times I have tried I get SO overwhelemd and dizzied with panic that can go on for more than a week.
What is wrong with me? I used to be so self-assured, now I feel bad about myself not because I think I am a bad person, but that I feel weak for being so controlled by my own fears and sadness.
I have made a commitment to make a big change, move abroad or start school, or move cities by March.
I know it needs to happen because I have wanted it for years now. I feel like the only way I can achieve it is to set a date, but then I think about applying to programs and new jobs and i am asahmed at how much I have wasted my time in the last year (I have taken an unimpressive mindless job becuase i COULDN'T FOCUS ON the serious social work job I used to have anymore.) So, yes, my self-esteem has been seriosuly affected I now realize. It;s hard for me to think of what I am good at even anymore. I've been stuck for so long. On the other hand, I know I am awesome. So, how can I kick this anxiety and live my life again? How do I get myself back?!!
I havw tried this, and settled for the small things for too long now. I agree, it is good to take things slowly, but I HAVE BEEN taking them really slowly and working on myself, baby steps, for almost a year now. It's high time I make a larger change, whatever that is, because not doing so it making me more anxious and depressed.