Hello, I am Rafael. Thanks for asking your question - I'm here to support you. (Information posted here is not private or confidential but public).
I can see you are having a hard time knowing how to be in a romantic relationship.
Hi, thank you for joining the chat.
Then let me say a couple of things about your message
No problem. Do you want me to answer your question?
The first core requirement for anybody to be able to promote and develop a healthy and fulfilling relationship, from the very beginning, when you start selecting the right person to even the point where people plan marriage is about you knowing how to take good care of yourself, meaning respecting, understanding, loving and supporting yourself.
Then this sense of self-worthiness and self-esteem that you mentioned, is at the very core of your well-being, and allowing any other person to have this power over you, control on the way you feel to the point of you not feeling happy, worthy because of how much the other person likes or rejects you is never a healthy approach.
If what you want to have is a healthy and fulfilling relationship, to be able to find a good person for you, a worthy boyfriend, the very most basic questions you need to make yourself are if this person appears being respectful, caring, mature and understanding enough or not.
Sure you want to show the best of you, but at the same time, one of the most common mistakes people make around relationships is not being truly themselves, mostly focusing on pleasing the other person, and when doing that we end creating an illusion where anything could happen but what we end the most, which is giving ourselves and the other person the chance to know a little bit more about ourselves, for you to see how good match you happen to be, how compatible you are in your values, ways of thinking, expectations, personalities and everything else, things we can only allow if being truthful, really honest and open when sharing.
This applies to every relationship, and you are very assertive wanting to work on it, since without you taking your own power back to rule your life, from feelings to decisions, anything potentially worthy and fulfilling could get distorted and dysfunctional..
Do you know what codependency means?
Codependency is about distorted ways you see yourself and other people, leading to developing attachment and sharing in relationships but in dysfunctional ways, mostly because of fear about not being good enough, and instead of being loved and accepted, the person feels overwhelmed by the fear of rejection, abandonment, of not being good enough, thus what the person does uses to point at pleasing other people's ego, and to expect and want from them also in distorted ways, making her own self-esteem, happiness, stability and happiness dependent on what other people think, feel, say or do about her.
These patterns become very powerful, compulsive, and that's why we call codependency an addiction, since it deeply distorts and undermines a person's life, well-being and relationships.
Most times it is rooted in very poor sense of self-worthiness and assertiveness, most times people experienced negative experiences related to neglect, abuse, abandonment and also trauma in the past, many times from childhood, what led to the development of this condition.
I am sorry to know things have been this tough for you, but the fact that you are here looking for insight and wanting to make changes shows you have what it takes to start this process.
It's not an easy one for sure. it takes time and hard work, with the right support, but it is necessary and worthy, since it is about your own healing, growth and fulfillment in life.
Then that makes sense, you were a victim of abuse, apparenly chronic, and that's what uses to happen when we have a tough time feeling self-worthy and confident. When we are very young, our personalities are literally being shaped, and that's why any form of abuse could be that powerful impacting us.
What's your age?
You are very young, then you can make all the changes you need with the right support.
I see, that's very frustrating. At the same time I see you were not aware of how codependency could be at the very core of many of your problems, and how understanding yourself, this condition and working on rehabilitating from it could have a huge impact in your life and relationships.
Therapy could be a wonderful source of real enabling, but it could be useless too, it depends on how competent, ethical, professional and mature the "professional" happens to be,
I am sorry, that's very sad. But I think that you can work on it, you are a very young person, the fact that you understand what we are discussing here, and show willingness to work on it, could lead you to make improvements. the fact that you have not found competent therapists and a good match to work with you doesn't mean therapy is useless. In fact your experience s not uncommon, i have to say that many people do face a lot of frustration, having a hard time finding truly good therapists, it is an overwhelming issue, sad to acknowledge but true.
Please read about codependency, you could find many books about it at any local library, get at least two and take the time to read them, trying to understand the core ideas, to reflect on how they relate to you and try to put into practice thee suggestions you find there.
Do you live together?
You will always find people who are more or less respectful, caring , mature and assertive, thus what you can do is to learn to set healthy boundaries and limits in order not to expose to any form of abuse, and not to get into emotional situations where you feel disrespected or mistreated.
This is tough to develop but necessary, it takes time but can be achieved. If you work on it while at the same time work on your self-image-esteem, coping skills and processing the impact from previous abusive-traumatic experiences, you would be able to heal and grow for sure.
I think one core problem you may present is codependency, based on your story and the fact you have identified yourself with the description I made of it.
You have been suffering of anxiety, depression and relationships problems for long, and it seems all are related to past experiences o abuse and trauma you have underwent. Then it makes sense top believe those experiences have not only affected your mood creating anxiety and depression, but also your personality, and this is why it is so important to work at these core levels for you to feel and be fine, effectively cope and promote real and healthy relationships and the fulfilling you long for in life.
You were traumatized by such experience, that's why even when it does not happen any more in reality, in your psyche it remains alive impacting you, this is why the work you need to do is at that level, and that' why therapeutic venting, processing are so important for you to release the painful feelings and emotions you got from there, and to work on developing necessary skills that would help you better cope, while also literally rebuilding your sense of self-worthiness, esteem and self-image.
These paranoid ideation-feelings happen because the impact from such experiences is still fresh and unresolved within you, that's why only when you therapeutically process them, you would feel liberated and empowered at the same time. This is a painful process, but a healing one, and while working on it, you learn to take better care of yourself, from, the way you think and feel about yourself, to the boundaries you set and how you share with other people.
What you mean? You are talking about this past student from school?
Why you fear that? Didn't you say that this situation around her dressing like you happened in high school and that you have not seen her since then?
I see, I do believe that what you tell me is in fact what you think, but you also said you have been suffering of paranoia as your psychiatrist explained, and I think these fears have become part of this paranoia because of the impact such past experiences had in your mind, and since you have not received adequate professional support, they have remained and evolved this way. Paranoid ideation -feelings must be confronted as such, as illusions in order not to fuel them even more nor undermine your mental health. This is why effective psychotherapy is so important you see?
I believe you feel truly terrified by these fears, and at the same time think this could be paranoia distorting the way you think and feel in the present, not allowing you to enjoy your life the way you need and deserve, that's why you need to address such paranoid thinking-feeling with this awareness and refocus on reality. This should be core part of your therapeutic process.
I do suggest you to focus on what is healthy and helpful for you to feel fine, respecting, loving, understanding and supporting yourself. Leave behind ant destructive fear or thought, rather focus on what is useful and help you in the present, from good physical health, to a healthy diet, hobbies and responsibilities.
Focusing your life on the present, on creating and promoting concrete situations that bring meaning and fulfillment in your life could be the best approach to cope and to shape the life you long for, while healing from what happened in the past.
I truly hope you could get better, be yourself, heal from the past and work on creating your present the way you deserve with the right support.
Please focus on reality. People could endlessly speculate in their minds about infinite possibilities, and that would not help when it is about something destructive, much better to focus on what depends on you, reality, the present, right now, and make of it the best you can.
I know you said you were going to sleep and do not want to keep you longer. Thank you for being this open and honest here with me.
You're very welcome, thank you for trusting me.
Have a good sleep.