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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 am very sorry to know about this very frustrating situation.
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Thank you for your help. Do you have any thoughts on the situation I explained?
Thank you for joining the chat
Everything you say makes perfect sense, and unhappily this is not an uncommon scenario, abuse and neglect , specially when happening during early stages of life-development so shape the way we think, feel, cope and experience life in every area.
Yeah unfortunately I know that going through such a situation has affected many things in my life. Do you think that what I initially spoke about in relation to relationships is in some way related to the latter? Also, is my feelings towards intimate relationships abnormal? It is not that I am purely disgusted by intimate relationships, I think that it is just that I am scared I suppose and I find that because I haven't gone through such an experience yet I am slightly disturbed by the thoughts of people I know going through such things.
You underwent verbal and emotional abuse for too long at school, and it seems you suffered of serious emotional neglect at home, since you said you never received a compliment from anybody about you, and that's overwhelmingly sad and concerning, showing how poor was your life at the emotional level during all those years
This is a direct consequence of your past for sure.
I think your fears make sense because of your past expereinces and the lack of guidance, healthy modeling and support around these areas.
It has affected my relationships as a whole, even with my parents. I feel unable to show my mum and dad any emotional connection as I'd feel too weak and vulnerable. I never hug them and I never say "I Love You" to them - but they don't say it to me either anymore. I definitely love them and appreciate them, however I am incapable of actually showing my feelings to them.
I am sorry to know that
How did they raise you? Did they offered warm love, open affection and communication, did they praise you and said how much they love you and care about you, motivating you at every level, helping you understand yourself, others and life?
Like many other children, I did witness domestic violence as a child growing up all the way through to my teenage years. It wasn't anything full on. But at times my parents would yell at each other which really scared me as a child. My dad would fight with mum. He would sometimes throw plates and push mum around. He never hit her, at least not to my knowledge, but it was difficult growing up with this at times. It wasn't a regular occurence. But there were times in my life when this did happen, and I couldn't stand listening to them fight. I remember one time as a child mum would lock herself in a room just to escape. Don't get me wrong, my Dad is really nice but at times he can lose his temper. He doesn't hit mum. But yeah, it was difficult.
Then all these long term serious issues around domestic violence, neglect and abuse, lack of emotional nurturing, guidance and support, could easily create all the issues you have described. Since at school you also suffered of chronic abuse, things could not have got worse. You got nobody to protect you, since those who were supposed to play that role, from parents to teachers were dysfunctional, unable and/or did not know how to do it.
We all come with genetic predisposition to develop in certain ways, but it is through every life experience, specially those core ones young infancy, childhood and adolescence that we get literally shaped in our personalities, minds and hearts, and that could easily explian why you feel the way you do.
I'm just unsure what to do. I don't want these past experiences affecting such key areas in my life. Don't get me wrong - realistically I have turned out quite good as a whole, or at least I think I have. I am a very positive person and I am quite outgoing at times. I love meeting new people, and I'm usually the initiator, and socialising and I am a very hardworker when it comes to my studies. However that is how everyone sees me. They don't realise the whole other side to me that I go through. Unfortunately I have a big problem when it comes to people's perceptions of me. I care way too much about what people think about me and how people view me which does affect how I am in life. I am also very self-conscious around people as a whole. I find myself feeling uncomfortable just lining up to hop on public transport or walking around university, as if people are constantly watching me or judging me.
I understand, but only you know how it feels. Your sense of self-worthiness has not developed in healthy ways, and from there your self-esteem, self-confidence, coping and social skills, and the way you develop relationships unfold.
It is obvious you do not want this to happen or affect you the way it does, but unhappily ,wanting it to stop would not make things work, you have actually to truly commit to work on yourself to make changes and improvements at those core levels, and the best way to support yourself in this process would be through psychotherapy.
What is psychotherapy?
Through psychotherapy you would work on exploring yourself, identifying core issues, venting feelings and understanding what and why your experiences have been affecting you the way they do, learning better coping sills, improving your sense of self-worthiness, confronting dysfunctional beliefs and eradicating unhealthy defenses and behavioral patterns you have developed around relationships and more.
And you believe that this will be the most effective way to tackle my situation?
Psychotherapy is the therapeutic or healing use of psychology, to treat and support people co better cope with life issues, rehabilitate from mental health disorders, work on their self-development and more.
Okay. Where would I go to seek this sort of help?
This would work on the core of it, while other means would mostly make up your ego, without allowing and supporting real changes-improvements.
Just get you local phone book and look for psychotherapists, or ask your primary care physician for a referral, or directly go to a local mental health clinic or hospital and request psychological services.
Okay. Can I just ask, in relation to my initial question/statement I sent, I was wondering where you thought my feelings and attitude towards intimate relationships has come from?
At first I thought that perhaps it was just because I couldn't find someone I was attracted to enough to let myself go. But I'm beginning to think there is much more to it.
I think they come from your very sense of self-worthiness, the lack of healthy modeling , sharing and education around healthy intimate relationships, from your very parents and because of the neglect and trauma, abuse and dysfunction you underwent and witnessed for so long.
Oh okay. I find that most of the time I choose to ignore the impact of my past on my present life and try to pretend like it isn't affecting me. But every so often there will come a time when I am fully aware of what it is doing to me. Is it possible that I will eventually overcome this myself? Is the likelihood of that slim and that my best plan of attack would be to seek psychotherapy/
Or is *
I do never suggest the use of denial, avoidance or repression as ways of coping,, since they are all unhealthy, destructive and not only delay but worsen the issues and their consequences. Leaving issues unresolved, equals adding further fuel for them to get worse and undermine our lives even more, making it harder to rehabilitate from them. You are very young and this gives you wonderful chances for changes, growth and even total transformation of anything unhealthy within you, then please do not delay this necessary process.
Okay thank you so much for your advice. This has been incredibly helpful to me. I've been wanting to seek a professionals opinion of my situation for a long time but was just never sure how to go about it. One last thing, is there a particular terminology that would summarise or identify what I am going through?
You're very welcome. I am very glad to know it has been this helpful. There are literally hundreds of ways to label similar issues, many times coming from similar or different roots. What I could say that could help you is that you have developed a very poor and distorted sense of self-worthiness, and from there your self-image-esteem-confidence and ways of coping have developed limited too. You could suffer of codependency due to the emotional neglect, abuse and dysfunction, the traumatic events you experiences and witnessed around domestic violence and chronically at school, that these could have impacted your own personality getting even deeper because of not having been addressing them but repressing them through denial and avoidance. This is why psychotherapeutic support is so important.
Yeah I understand. I was just looking at the rates of various psychotherapists in my area and I will not be able to afford approximately $100 per hour for a session. Is there any other way you know of to get this psychotherapeutic help that would cost less?
If you'd like to consider counselling or psychotherapy online please feel free to contact me posting your request through the Relationship category, addressing your request to me and I'Il be able to offer these services online and via confidential interface, with much affordable costs.
Skype is a very good free interface allowing face-to-face online sessions, bypassing the limitations and problems distance, location and time restrains present. If you'd like to try, just let me know.
Okay thank you I will definitely look into it. Where are you located? Also, so there is no organisation or anything else that would offer free support? (I didn't think there would be but I thought I would just check in case).
Use Google to look for professional online counseling or psychotherapy. You will find many websites from online businesses to private practices offering these services. You could find some free websites but none offering free professional services.
Look for a local support group for codependency, that would help you a lot too and complement individual psychotherapy.
Okay. Once again, thank you so much for your help. I really appreciate it. You have no idea how just a little conversation like this has really helped me and opened my eyes. It is my first step towards working on myself and I am truly grateful for your advice. Thank you so much.
Self-development groups are very helpful too, but nonce can replace effective psychotherapy provided by a competent, ethical and experiences professionals. Just be careful, since there are many bad professionals in this field.
You're very welcome. Thank you for trusting me this much!
Please take gentle care and consistent action!
Yes I definitely will! You will probably be hearing from me in regards XXXXX XXXXX additional help. Many thanks and take care :)