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Mina, Clinical Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 188
Experience:  Working as a Highly Specialist Clinical Psychologist in NHS. Experience in both children and adults
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From an early age anything I did that I thought good I was

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From an early age anything I did that I thought good I was told wasnt. I then spent 18 years in a mentally abusive relationship where my self confidence and trust was destroyed and I ended up having a fully mental and physical breakdown. Ive recovered from this and the relationship has ended - 3 years ago now. I have most of my self confidence back until it comes to trying to date again then I distrust, seem over keen to get commitment but then panic if any signs of it are shown. I feel like Im having a battle with myself and 'destroying' anything good that may come along in the form of a new relationship. I saw a psychiatrist when unwell but never any counselling and to be honest I feel a little embarrassed and 'useless' that I cant cope with this and sort it out myself. Ive overcome a breakdown, job loss, bankruptcy and eviction. Any suggestions on how I can 'calm down' would be greatly appreciated. Ive met a man who seems very keen to see where a relationship would go and although I tell him the same Im worried that Im over-reacting in certain areas. We met on a dating site and I know he is still regularly logging on

first of all I would like to say that considering what you have been through, you sound like a quite resilient and strong lady. You also sound that you have very high expectations of yourself and using a lot of ''shoulds'' e.g. I should be able to sort it out, I should be able to have overcome this". This way of thinking sets you up to fail your expectations and leads to a lot of disappointment and frustration. What I picked up from what you wrote is that you were doubted and critisised a lot throughout your life and your self esteem and confidence was shaken. In a way, that tells me that you now doubt yourself everytime you find a challenge in front of you and maybe especially when this challenge has to do with relationships with men. So there is a chance that you have very negative beliefs about yourself as a partner, woman, person that are triggered whenever you meet someone. What happens in these cases, is that people who strongly believe negatively about themselves, cannot possibly believe that they are good in something or e.g. a relationship or that they deserve a good future or that they will succeed (that depends on the negative belief of each person). In your case, if you have negative beliefs about yourself in a relationship, you will most likely do everything in your power to confirm this belief and the way to confirm this negative belief is by driving the other person away. In this way, you still maintain the negative belief that you always had. This is called "self fulfilling prophesy". I am not sure if this makes sense to you as it is quite tricky to understand if you are not in therapy.

There are also other things that may be triggered when you enter a relationship. E,g if previous relationships were traumatic then it is understandable that part of you may want to avoid being hurt again. This is called avoidance.

It is quite difficult to give you a specific answer through this website. However, I would suggest that you sought therapeutic input. You have been through a lot and it would have been abnormal not to feel the way you do. However, therapy would give you the chance to reflect on our experiences and explore their effects on how you think and feel about things. This could help you with understanding yourself better and being able to commit to relationships in a healthier way.

Please feel free to share any feedback on these thoughts.

All the best

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