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Dear Debra
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience:  I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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I have an issue that I need to overcome and I need some guidance.

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*****I am willing to pay a bonus for truly helpful and an acceptable response*****   I have an issue that I need to overcome and I need some guidance.    I am now 39.    I was the "golden child" until I hit around 13-14 - loved and adored by all. My hormones kicked in, my Mom had a hysterectomy and was pretty emotionally unstable and very abusive after that, my Dad traveled for business 6 months out of the year so he wasn't around to "protect me" from her.    I became kind of wild child during high school - drinking, smoking pot, hanging out with a questionable crowd. I dated a black guy in college (Grambling State) my Senior year in high school and the majority of my family disowned me as a result (racist South). Despite my troubles, I still participated in extra curricular activities such as competitive speaking/debate in high school & college and went on to get a BBA in marketing via working, pell grants and federal loans. Just paid those loans off too!!   I am the only one in my family to graduate from college. I have my own successful business, live in a fabulous house and am somewhat financially secure - no real debt except my mortgage.   All of the relatives that really cared about me are deceased. My Dad literally passed away on the day I graduated from college - May 10, 1997. I have no (blood) family left that I speak to, except a 4 year-old Son with my second husband. I have been engaged 5 times, married/divorced twice (all relationships were with terrific guys, except one that ended on an acrimonious note). I have broken off every engagement and ended both marriages. I end decade-long friendships with no explanation...just shutting them out by blocking theirs #s, emails (but there are valid reasons on my end). I see this is a cycle and a result of people that I grew up with and loved, unfairly closing me off from long ago. How do I break this pattern and change?

HI and thanks for writing


I don't know if my response is helpful to you or not, but it seems you might look into Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. While this therapy was originally developed for people with Borderline Personality Disorder, it has shown to be very effective with the types of disturbances that you describe. While I do see that you do not have BPD, I think the abuse you endured from your mother compounded with your father's absence may have had some long term effect on your closest relationships.DBT would address this very well.


Also, DBT is only practiced by specially trained mental health practitioners who are highly skilled. I am going to attach a link for you to research more. If this has been helpful to you let me know and if you think you would like a different response let me know and I will opt out so others can weigh in.

I wish you all the best on this.

Warm regards,



Cathy, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1436
Experience: Ms, MS.Ed., thirty years clinical practice
Cathy and other Relationship Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Other.
Too general
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Relist: Incomplete answer.
The reason why you block everyone out is because you are afraid of being hurt. You leave before anyone disappoints you. Growing up you felt let down by how your life changed with your mom. Things you said weren't the same after she had a hysterectomy. You graduated from college and your dad passed away. You have been through every difficult times in your life and you don't let others close to you maybe because your afraid they will see how you really feel on the inside. You are protecting yourself. It's easier to leave people behind move on, then to deal with them disappointing you. You grew up where you saw your mom change because of certain life events. You would not want to get close to anyone to see them change and disappoint you. But what if you found those people that you couldn't replace. What if there were people who you loved and never wanted to be with out them? Maybe you just haven't found your place. A place where you feel comfortable like you are home. You will stop pushing people away once you find the people you could never let go of and you want to keep them in your life. But you have to open up and try to let these people in your life. If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
That is a GREAT answer and I thank you. I don't know where to start.
I just divorced for the 2nd time. My last husband and I have a 4 year-old that we share joint/physical custody with. My ex and I have an okay relationship as far as co-parenting...not acromonious. My Mom "sides" with my Ex and sees my Son on my Ex's watch.

I feel so alone and isolated. I don't know where to start again. I have friends, some are happy hour buddies and others are long-term friends but they have their own lives or can't possibly relate to what I'm dealing with.

Like I said, I'm not sure where to turn to now. ???

You are divorced for the second time and you are a mom of a 4 year old that you share joint/physical custody with your ex. You have an ok relationship with co-parenting which is good. It's alway a good thing to work together. Your mom sides with your ex, there should be no sides of course. It should be just understanding that things didn't work out in the marriages and you both decided this is what is best for you both. It is hard for friends to understand what you are going through if they never went through it themselves. They can see what your going through and be there for you, but you are still going to have certain feelings they will not understand. But that is ok, because you need to understand what your going through to take the steps to go through all the emotions you feel after a divorce. You are questioning life right now, you don't know where you should turn and it feels like you are at a point where you have to begin. This is a time for you to make a fresh start. Live life in a whole new way. You have lived a life of pushing people away and not letting them get close to you. It's time for you to understand who you are as a person and find what you really want in life. The first step is finding what makes you happy. Forget the pat, move forward to a new life. Life can change in one day. Tomorrow when you wake up, it's the start of a new day, a new life for you. you need to see what changes you want to make.
Dear Debra, Advice Columnist
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1852
Experience: I have been an Advice columnist for 14 years. My column is published weekly in local newpapers.
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