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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5763
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi I am having a problem that I do not know how to overcome.

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Hi I am having a problem that I do not know how to overcome. I grew up in a divorced home, my dad left me at a young age, and then when I got older my mom also left me when she realized I "have too many problems." I was then forced to move in with my step mom who was an emotionally abusive alcoholic. Every boyfriend I have had has always said I love you and then left me. Every person who has said I love you to me has left me and this has caused some deep-seeded trust issues and self-esteem issues. I feel like no one can ever love me and I am afraid to let anyone love me or say I love you to me because every time it is said to me the person always leaves and it breaks my heart. I am currently in a relationship with a guy, we have been together for two years, and he understands my past and my issues and accepts me, and I have accepted his love and given him mine. Things have been great and I finally felt like I was in the right place. I had a lot of problems assimilating into his family though. Every time his mom had a small problem with me I would get nervous and self-conscious and defensive, I never wanted to screw anything up. His dad has a temper and 6 months ago he yelled at me for accidentally shining my car lights into the neighbors yard at night and he said I wasn't welcome back in their home. The next day he said to my boyfriend that he only said that in a rage, but I was too scared to come back because I flashed back to what happened when my mom kicked me out. I was afraid of my heart getting broken again and if I came back to their home I would be so hurt if he kicked me out again. I was afraid to tell them about my past and my problems because I thought they would judge me. Now my relationship is in jeopardy because of the strain between my boyfriend's family and I. I am terrified and I want to do everything to make this right.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It sounds like you have been through a lot. Having so many significant people in your life leave is a devastating loss. And the effect on you would be significant. You have not been able to bond with anyone or have anyone provide positive reinforcement to you, except in your current relationship. That can cause a lot of deep pain.

One thing I noticed is that you take a lot of the blame onto yourself for everyone leaving. But I get the sense that you have been exposed to a lot of people who have their own issues and who are unable to connect with others. Your father leaving probably had a lot to do with your mother or other circumstances rather than you. Children cannot cause a parent to leave. And mothers usually don't just up and go unless they have issues of their own. You didn't do anything to cause her to go.

But because your parents left and you had to live with an unstable step mother who hurt you, you had no choice but to take all this in and assume that you were the cause. As a result, you may have developed a fear of being hurt again and low self esteem. That can cause you to react to others with fear and defensiveness. Most people will not understand what you went through so they will assume it is about you and not your pain and in turn react in their own way, possibly being mean to you.

You mentioned that you have a long term relationship with your boyfriend. He understands you and accepts you for who you are. This is proof that it is not you that causes others to leave. You have just been surrounded by others who may care more about themselves than anyone else.

Because of the deep pain you have experienced and the hurt and low self esteem you carry with you, you may want to consider talking to a therapist to help you sort out your feelings and find ways to cope with all the losses you have suffered. To find someone to talk with, ask your doctor for a referral. Or you can search on line at

You may also want to work on your feelings by learning more about loss and the pain you feel. Here are some resources to help:

Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem by Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning

The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field by Nathaniel Branden

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thank you. I am scared because he is the only person who stood by me and the person who I trust, but he is about to leave me too because of what happened with his family. I'm trying to make things right but I don't know how and none of them want to talk to me. I don't know how I will cope if I lose another person, especially him.

You may just want to say you are sorry for what you feel you did wrong and let it go at that. At some point, they have to accept the apology and let the incident go. Your boyfriend's father did not react well to what you did so that needs to be considered as well. Flying into a rage over something insignificant then refusing to accept an apology is a bad sign. It means that the family could be dysfunctional and that can only cause you more pain. And if your boyfriend would leave you over such a small thing, then that does not bode well for his ability to stay in a relationship.

It sounds like you are blaming yourself for this incident. Taking all the blame is only going to hurt you further. Other people are not always right and they also do wrong things. It will help you to build your self esteem so you feel on more even ground and are able to see incidents like this as they are and not take the blame onto yourself.


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