Ask a Psychiatrist and Get Answers to Mental Health Questions ASAP
I'd be happy to read it. You can cut and paste it here in two, three, or more pages-- simply reload the page after you post and you will get to a new box to paste more information.
Be sure that you have clearly indicated what you want addressed.
I am so glad you wrote back. It's funny that you found me... if I could pick a question or issue after 20+ years of doing what I do for a living, this may be it ;-)
I don't think I could, as eloquently, describe how my life and professional background so completely matches your needs... but in a tony nutshell; I grew up a weird home with a psycho father, which lead me to want to fully and completely understand everything about everyone; it makes sense, right, knowledge is power -- the more you know the more you can "intellectualize" it all -- no need to be affected by it, especially if you can sit on a high horse and ponder...
So I got all this education and all this professional experience... I began working with substance abusing teens, then graduated to heroin addicts- from there to eating disorders, sex addicts, sexual offenders and their victims. I have an impressive resume working with the National Institute of Health (NIH) on a sexual offender study.
Blah, blah, blah... and what I am going to tell you, no matter how much you want to deny its simplicity --and the absolute crux of all of your indecision -- is that you did what I did -- what all children who are emotionally overwhelmed do: you shut off your feelings.
I know it sounds simplistic, and I know you might even think you FEEL, but you don't. I know you don't; because you have indecision in every area of your life. You don't know if you want to get married, you don't know what you want to do for a career, you don't know WHY you can't make this decision. PROOF that your feelings are buried -- not dead, but certainly buried.
By now you've probably come up with all the things you do feel. You feel love for your girlfriend. You feel angry and had all these feelings today when you realized how much your childhood affects your present day life. So... that's progress toward having access to your full set of feelings all the time.
Let's go one step further. REAL FEELINGS aren't predictable. But for those of us who grow up in dysfunctional lives, the feelings we actually experience are sort of trial feelings. They can be just as intense as anything in the universe, but we know what we will feel in any given situation -- those, I call our "safe" feelings.
REAL, honest to goodness, genuine feelings are not predictable. Have you ever heard someone say they were surprised at their own reaction or feelings toward something -- well people like you and I would think, "that's weird... I know what I'd feel". Real feelings are not always predictable.
So, if you are still with me, we've established that you don't genuinely experience all of your feelings. We also know it's because that was what kept you alove as a child-- had you fully emotionally realized your circumstances, you would have gone crazy on the spot. We have defense mechanisms in place. You used "intellectualization"; you can easily think things through, you are articulate, extremely keen and highly intelligent.
Intellectualization prevents us from having to feel. We think about things... we don't feel them on a gut level. We know people -- get things other people may not understand about people, the human condition and suffering, but we don't get down and dirty with our own feelings.
SO... what do you do? First of all, exactly what you are doing... this self exploration will get you there. You may also want to consider counseling -- a place to talk about it all. Hearing ourselves is a HUGE help. And lastly, start to feel your way through situations. Ask yourself, "how do I feel?" Search the internet for that huge poster of FEELINGS. Read them. Run a list of feeling words: happy, sad, joyful, irritated, fearful, excitable, apprehensive, find new words...
If you were deeply and genuinely feeling all of your feelings, you'd know what you want.
Sometimes knowing what we want leads us to make decisions we'd rather not make. You do have to accept that if you go down this path, you may find that you want new things - or different things. It doesn't have to exclude your girlfriend... but it could.
Finally, tons of young people get married, and there really is a peer-pressure environment to do so. But WAY more than half of those people get a divorce. People who tend to wait until they really know what they want as they age tend to do better and have marriages that last longer. Ignore that time-sensitive marriage/baby thing. Look around at who is happy and what makes them happy (common interests, mutual respect, being able to easily allow the other person their separate interests, and easy-goingness (as if that's a word)).
Stop thinking.... feel your feelings, all of them.
Comments... questions? Feedback?
Tell me your feelings!
Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX very kind!
Please feel free to write back at any time :-)
I usually don't see how/when payments are made to me. If there is an issue, I am sure JA will resolve it; they are completely on top of things like this.
I'll recheck in a day or so... it's kind of you to be concerned :-)