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Ask Dr. Norman Brown Your Own Question

Dr. Norman Brown
Dr. Norman Brown, Marriage Therapist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 924
Experience:  Family Therapist & teacher 35+ yrs; PhD research in couples
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what is it going to take for me to end this horrible emotional

Customer Question

what is it going to take for me to end this horrible emotional beast that has me hating myself,,and current boyfriend ,, who has done nothing to deserve the hell and misery I am putting him through,, I do not lknow what love is,,I have never been loved before ,Ihave been mentally & physically abused by both men & women,,,,,I am in a constant need for attention,& affection,,,& like a reecent counselor told me,,my purpose on this earth is to know what its like to not be loved,,,,ok i get it
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Dr. Norman Brown :

You're asking what it will take to stop hating yourself? That's a very dramatic broadside of an opening salvo. You're saying you're desperately trying to repair the damage to your self-love resulting from abuse in childhood and possibly ever since as well.

Dr. Norman Brown :

The first response I have is to make a fundamental distinction between two types of therapy--because nobody's going to be able to give you a magic formula to repair yourself by shutting off negative thoughts (the socalled Cognitive Behavioral therapies, which is almost all the younger therapists have been taught in grad school), or by busting apart your present emotional binds (Gestalt or dramatizing therapies) or by applying any fixit strategy that targets only your present experience and actions. You'll need to engage yourself in the other kind of therapy, generically known as Psychodynamic therapy, which includes NeoFreudian, Object Relations, Self-Psychology and Jungian, as the best-known. These therapists have studied child development and the disabling effects of parenting and abuse (NeoFreudian), the healthy configurations and disorders of attachment in an attachment-safe therapeutic relationship (Object Relations), the innate need for "mirroring" or the admiring attention of your primary caregivers for self-reflective loving (Self Psychology) and the symbolic life in dreams, imagination & synchronicities, through which a primal connection to a personal higher power emerges, whose "mirror" shows the real you in ways that support forward momentum (Jungian). And these therapists are old enough to have experienced and grown from such therapies themselves, so they can walk with you on paths they already know for themselves.

Dr. Norman Brown :

You'll need to commit yourself to one or a mixture of these psychodynamic therapies, by interviewing potential therapists in advance. For if what you write is truly the cry of your soul for a life worth living, then you'll need to enlist the long term loving companionship of a psychodynamic expert in the harrowing and meaningful project of building yourself a sturdy personality from the ground up.

Dr. Norman Brown :

That means you'll need to devote a significant portion of your income to compensating that person for at least a year, and more likely 2 to 4 years. I don't want to guess what you'll need to pay, but therapists who aren't too into the money part will make arrangements for ongoing work that you can afford. But a whole lot still depends on your current situation in life, as well as your own willingness and courage to make building a self that was not available in your family of origin a lasting priority.

Dr. Norman Brown :

IF, on the other hand, you've been exaggerating your plight a little bit, then you might have Attention Deficit Disorder, which predisposes the millions to tumultuous lives, whose prefrontal lobes are inadequate to restrain their hunger for everything new, arousing, adventurous and risky. In that case ADD and other medications may bring your personality into sufficiently improved focus and manageability so that far less depth analysis and reparenting would be needed to set you on a much more satisfying life trajectory.

Dr. Norman Brown :

It is a great sign of your realism and honesty in self-reflection that you report at the outset your awareness of the trials you're putting those that get close to you through. So you have a very healthy intellect to offer to anyone courageous enough to take on the challenge of going with you towards where you need to go.

Customer :

i do not understand your response.. what can i do on my own,, books or whatever

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.

Dear Chris, I wrote what I wrote, because IF you had an abusive family as you report and you try to learn how to love yourself on your own, you're going to be limping with a cane that isn't responsive enough to give you the help you really need.
I could give you a program of self-development in Positive Psychology that could give you many good moments of feeling good about yourself, if you want to start there. But deeply committing to professional therapeutic help is the best way, because it sounds like you need to be able to relate to an older person who is both loving and skillful at what she or he does.

You want to start with little steps? OK. Take a yoga class, start regular workouts in a gym where people like to talk to each other. Take a look at Positive Psychology 24 virtues online, the first article (Progress in Positive Psychology, p 3) by Martin Seligman and copy the 24 personality strengths. Look at those you'd say you don't put into action very often; pick one or two each week and keep taking chances by putting the virtue(s) into action. For when you do something good, it's rewarding, so you'll feel good about yourself. And you might start including some of those virtues you're practicing as regular parts of your personality. Things like generosity, humor, appreciation of beauty and excellence, curiosity, courage, honesty, gratitude (each day think of 3 moments or things you could feel grateful for), hope, love.

Expert:  Dr. Norman Brown replied 1 year ago.
Dear Chris, I wrote what I wrote, because IF you had an abusive family as you report and you try to learn how to love yourself on your own, you're going to be limping with a cane that isn't responsive enough to give you the help you really need.
I could give you a program of self-development in Positive Psychology that could give you many good moments of feeling good about yourself, if you want to start there. But deeply committing to professional therapeutic help is the best way, because it sounds like you need to be able to relate to an older person who is both loving and skillful at what she or he does.

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