How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Jean Your Own Question

Jean
Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience:  Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
66147936
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Jean is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I am coming to the close of my first year in my first relationship.

Resolved Question:

I am coming to the close of my first year in my first relationship. I'm having trouble trusting my significant other and opening up fully to him emotionally (e.g. I often have trouble speaking out when something [that he does or that has happened in general] is wrong.) I often worry that he is cheating or that he is not completely invested in our relationship. And I feel that there is always a power struggle involved, with me continuously trying to remain in control of the level of emotion, even though I believe I'm in love with him. I've discovered I have authoritarian parents from a collectivist African culture.
I've had issues with my parents, particularly my domineering and somewhat abusive father, who has recently disowned me for my decision to pursue a profession other than medicine.
I'm afraid I'm beginning to see connections between my family structure and my behavior in my current relationship, and I'm also afraid that I'm repeating patterns with my boyfriend (I think I interact with him as I do my father).
What should I do? Should I discuss this with my boyfriend--who currently has only a slight idea about my past and how I feel concerning relationships?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Jean replied 1 year ago.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Hello, thank you for your question today. Welcome- I am available to assist you.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Are you available for a live chat?

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Almost a year in your relationship- sounds like you care about this man- and may be time to share a bit more with him.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You sound very aware, and insightful about where this has originated from- growing up. How does one find that partner who is an image of a parent?? This is so common-

Customer:

Actually, I just graduated with my degree in psychology. But having all of this information just confuses me. It's much easier to analyze or answer other's questions...


 

Customer:

I do care about my significant other. I would even say I love him, however I'm not exactly sure where he is in the equation and I don't feel comfortable asking.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The thought is that we find that person who is an image of the parent who we feel hurt by- in order to heal this. Imago therapy is the type of therapy that describes this.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are afraid?

Customer:

I am. I don't really feel comfortable expressing emotion like that. But I would like to figure out where we stand without being the first one to do so...I also worry that I'm really transferring my issues with abandonment onto him. That I don't really even love him, but want to be appreciated by my father. I can't tell whether what I feel is legitimate.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

When a relationship gets to more of the commitment or serious stage- there's more to lose- and the fear tends to show up. You love him, so the fear is you will lose him- the mistrust is an example of this. What do you worry will happen if you share more openly with him? Gets confusing between what is hurt from the past and what is present- it's good you are trying to sort this out, process this.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

One forever looks for acceptance by a parent- no matter what our age.

Customer:

I worry that maybe...he won't ever love me. That he's just comfortable that I'm here, that I'm invested. That he really doesn't appreciate or cherish me, like I do him.


 

Customer:

And I worry that he'll see that I struggle with all this, that I'm not as secure as I seem. Really a mess, underneath everything else.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

The first step may be exploring a bit more the emotions towards your father- really take a look at what's left unresolved in that relationship. Disowned you?? We would hope we would get unconditional love, care, and acceptance from a parent. I'm sorry for that. Expectations are high and really specific with your father- sounds like. You are good and lovable no matter what profession you seek. Yes- you describe the fear- to be abandoned.

Customer:

You're right...I feel that everything is conditional with him. He's said that "the family can get along" with out me. And since that time, he has not attempted to call/contact me in any capacity. Literally cut me off, making remaining in contact with my mom and four sisters difficult...


 

Customer:

I've always felt uncomfortable with relying on others, but I feel like this recent situation justifies that.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

I'm sorry for that rejection from your father- that sounds hurtful-abusive. Yes you keep it to yourself because you worry he will judge you, not love you. When we share the really honest stuff- that's what builds intimacy in a relationship- but it does take courage. If our father can disown us- well anyone can- or we expect that they will- but it simply is not true.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

It does feel true- I understand.

Customer:

So I should talk to him about it?? How much should I tell?? Sometimes when we're joking around, he'll say something that triggers my thoughts with interactions I've had with my father. And I get upset and don't explain why. I don't want to sabotage my relationship because of my dad...

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You said you are "afraid" in beginning to see the connections between the family stuff and now- that's scary but a huge step towards healing. Does not hurt any less- however.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

We tend to create the thing we fear the most.

Customer:

Hmmm. Maybe that's right...

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Yes, you may want to take small steps in opening up, even just explaining what is coming up with the rejection by your father. Let him know it's really hard for you and to be patient and understanding.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

We all have stories to tell of what we experienced -and bring them into relationships- the baggage so to say. You sharing will help him to understand where you are coming from.

Customer:

Right. You're right. Okay last question. What happens if he...isn't receptive to what I'm going through? Or if he isn't supportive? I mean, what if he does turn out to be like me father? What do I do then?


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You could open it up and ask him if he has questions about you- your family. Quite sure he has his own story of sorts. If he's not supportive- hmmm- you deserve support in a relationship. Start with something small and see how he reacts- a small worry you may have.

Customer:

Thank you. That's really quite helpful.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

If he turns out to be your father- may be the best opportunity to heal- find your voice, learn to be more open and assertive with him. You may feel like that "daughter" young girl, but you are in a different place, you are an adult- need to find your voice. Yes- it's scary, and a risk- but take small steps.

Jean N/20pluscounts :

You are welcome- my pleasure- check out the Imago therapy info. good stuff.

Customer:

Okay. Imago therapy. Got it.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Best wishes to you!!

Customer:

Thank you again!


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Let me know if I can help again-

Customer:

Absolutely.


 

Jean N/20pluscounts :

Please rate my answer so I can get credit- much appreciated!!

Jean, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 433
Experience: Masters degree in counseling, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW)
Jean and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
< Last | Next >
  • I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much Corrie Moll Pretoria, South Africa
  • I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well! Claudia Albuquerque, NM
  • Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion. Kevin Beaverton, OR
  • Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
    I feel better already! Thank you.
    Elanor Tracy, CA
  • Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem. Julie Lockesburg, AR
  • You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions. John and Stefanie Tucson, AZ
  • I have been dealing with an extremely serious health crisis for over three years, and one your physicians asked me more questions, gave me more answers and encouragement than a dozen different doctors who have been treating me!! Janet V Phoenix, AZ
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/Dr.Keane/2013-8-20_204325_drkeane.64x64.jpg Dr. Keane's Avatar

    Dr. Keane

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1262
    Clinical Psychology PhD, Licensed Professional Counselor with experience in marriage/family, teens and child psychology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RE/resolutions66/2011-1-17_05728_IMG8202smilingeditedforJustAnswer.64x64.jpg Elliott, LPCC, NCC's Avatar

    Elliott, LPCC, NCC

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    5024
    35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/formybunch/2010-12-06_191055_img_0975.jpg Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC's Avatar

    Kate McCoy, M.Ed, NBCC, LPC

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3733
    Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/DR/DrAkiraOlsen/2012-2-20_746_AkiraADpicmain.64x64.jpg Dr. Olsen's Avatar

    Dr. Olsen

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2336
    PsyD Psychologist
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/norriem/2009-5-27_134249_nm.jpg Norman M.'s Avatar

    Norman M.

    Psychotherapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2193
    UK trained in hypnotherapy, counselling and psychotherapy and have been in private practice. ADHP(NC), DEHP(NC), UKCP Registered and ECP.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/PsychologyProf/2010-07-15_171248_logos060400409.jpg Dr. Michael's Avatar

    Dr. Michael

    Psychologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    2177
    Licensed Ph.D. Clinical Health Psychology with 30 years of experience in private practive and as a clinical psychology university professor.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KURTEMMERLING/2010-07-23_215531_just_ask_picture1.jpg Steven Olsen's Avatar

    Steven Olsen

    Therapist

    Satisfied Customers:

    1727
    More than twenty years of expertise in counseling, psychological diagnosis and education