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Tamara, Counselor & Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1073
Experience:  20+ yrs Private Practice; Cert. Master Therapist; National Board Certified; APA Board Certified
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Im a 34 year old woman seeing a 31 year old man..The first

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Im a 34 year old woman seeing a 31 year old man..The first twenty years of my life are domestic violence, physical mental emotional abuse by my parents..Childhood sucked and you couldnt be yourself.. As a teenager i was raped sexually abused and drank n smoked marajuana until twenty..I changed my life worked hard to break cycles found a career and led a good life..My partner of one year comes from ireland..Solid strong close loving family where everyone is who they are..He's loving, jolly, socially wise, financially secure..he takes things slow with everything i admire him and love him..My past keeps coming up..n it's like we take steps forward then i take one back..communicating my true feelings and speaking my mind is challenging..hes does and his friends..We have different backround experiences and i close up and shut down alot and i don't like's not who i really sick of the echo's of my past affecting my relationship, what practical steps or what advicee can you give me in getting past the fear of being myself!!
Hi. Welcome to JustAnswer. I'm pleased to try to help you today.

I'm sorry to hear that you are experiencing these problems. It sounds like you are getting very frustrated with who are as a result of how you were raised. You grew up in a how where it was not safe to be yourself. All your attention had to be focused on the messed up adults around you, and on trying to keep people from being upset and angry. Physical, emotional and sexual abuse were normal for you; there's no room in there for being yourself, and there is certainly no option to trust people and to assume that they might have good intentions. So the fact that you were able to break past some of that and create a life for yourself is a strong testament to your determination and desire to be mentally healthy.

It is going to take some work for you to overcome your past, and it will take time. These issues took many years to manifest, and it will take ongoing work to change yourself and your beliefs about people and situations. Certainly some therapy would be of tremendous help in your goals. Therapy can help you better understand why you are the way you are, and can help you learn to handle things differently. And it can be a big help in working on being yourself, because you are in a situation where you have to talk about yourself, your thoughts, your feelings, and you are encouraged to be yourself. So I would strongly encourage you to consider that option.

I'm also going to recommend a couple of books for you to read. Strong at the Broken Places: Overcoming the Trauma of Childhood Abuse by Linda Tschirhart Sanford and Overcoming Childhood Trauma by Helen Kennerley. Books such as these will give you ideas about how to get past the abuse and become better able to live your life fully.

I wish I could offer you a quick fix here. I know you are tired of feeling afraid, and are ready to change. But this is a process that takes time and persistence. Practice opening up a little whenever you can. Work on giving people the benefit of the doubt. Remind yourself that most people are not out to hurt you, or make fun of you, or make you look bad, etc. Take risks and say what you think - just a little at a time. The more time you spend with people who do this easily, the better you will become at it. Keep at it, and you will be able to do this differently and feel comfortable being yourself.

Best wishes, and please let me know if I can answer any further questions. Tamara
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