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Ask TherapistMaryAnn Your Own Question
TherapistMaryAnn, Counselor
Category: Relationship
Satisfied Customers: 1692
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues
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I would like to ask therapist a question as she helped me in

Customer Question

i would like to ask therapist jen a question as she helped me in april this year
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Relationship
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

Hi. Welcome back. Fill me in.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thanks jen i am glad you are there.I am female, 69, and my relationship about which I wrote to you in april this year has ended. His choice, not mine. That was three months ago and I have been devastated. It is as if there are two aspects to my grief. One is that I know intellectually that we were not in sync, and that in terms of weight of personality I was more outgoing and socially at ease than he was. He needed me to validate all his opinions and his writing and seemed unable to accept that my views could be different to his and still be OK.
The other is that he got under my skin. I carry a lot of old grief from childhood as my mother’s body was in conflict with itself. At the age of 4 she made a decision to be the boy her parents wanted. She never filled out, was anorexic, and boyish. When she became pregnant with me she was vomiting severely every day trying to expel me; and when I was born her body felt unwelcoming, cold, hard. I looked to my father for hugs and touch. Then he left when I was three and I was devastated, and I have been all my life I think. I cannot bear to lose a man’s love; and this last relationship was perfect physically; the best sex both he and I have ever had, normal slow, passionate, and frequent. It is the loss of the physical relationship which is causing me enormous pain. He was the first person ever in my life to hold me, touch me, stroke me, and love me. and he could just BE with me, sitting silently. I have had three relationships with men in my adult life before this one, and in none of them could the men just BE, still. And in none of them was the physical relationship fulfilling. This man is the only person in my entire life with whom I have been able to lie naked for hours, his skin on my skin.The loss of that causes me to have suicidal thoughts. I doubt very much I would act on them, but the fantasy is strong enough to make me want to in that moment.You said in april that I need to love myself unconditionally. I said I am unable to do that. And its true. I cannot function without a loving man in my life. I know I should be able to, all the self help books say I must love myself and be OK without a relationship. But I cannot be. I am an artist and I cannot work. I cannot even do the washing up. I just sit in a chair with my laptop which is my surrogate mother. The screen looks back at me, and it mirrors what I write. I cannot bear to leave it. When I do, the need to come back is very strong, it pulls me back. when i have some supportive contact with a man i am suddenly OK again, eg if a friend is kind i can be Ok say for about an hour, and then it wears off and i cannot function again. my voice is monotonous, friends are finding me hard to be with, having previously looked to me for enthusiastic inspiration. i have nothing to give now. i had been hoping the relationship could be rekindled but he has emailed to say he is clear that it is not what he wants. he could be so loving.
so jen, thats it in a nutshell.
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

I am saddened to learn of the ending of this relationship and concerned since you mention having suicidal thoughts, although you state you won't act on them, I am concerned. Our work here is not enough for you to get support for yourself. Are you able to do that? And if you feel these thoughts strongly, you need to go to an emergency room, immediately. Let me know you will do these things to care for yourself and I can also help you find a local therapist.

I know how raw and painful things feel and I can hear your depression. Your feelings of longing loss and love that you experienced within your own family have been played out here with this man. Intellectually you can see that the fit was off between you, but the physical intimacy provided you with all the lost feelings from earlier on. This is what you have craved your whole life and you had that piece with him and now it is gone and all of the old, unresolved feelings get kicked up again. This is why supportive therapy for you will be so helpful for you to look at all of this and let healing begin. It is a process and it takes time, but you must want that for yourself. Giving up on you and your life is not the answer. I need you to let me know that if these thoughts persist, you will get urgent care for yourself. I can support you from here, but that can only go so far. You can do this and get back to your life and find you again.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i am sorry to have caused you concern. the suicidal feelings are not there right now; it is when i wake up first thing in the morning that they are there and then gradually during the day it fades. i am seeing a therapist here at the hospice, a bereavement therapist, but she is away on holiday for a couple of weeks. i mentioned the feelings to give you an idea of the strength of pain that i am in. i honestly dont believe i am in danger. i just FEEL like giving up as it all seems hopeless. fantasising and acting are two very different things and i think i am too responsible to act on them. it is just that sometimes the pain seems beyond my ability to bear it.
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

I am so glad to know you are with a therapist...and yes, I do understand the depth of your pain and sadness. I truly understand it and understand all that gets evoked for you around this is reminiscent of earlier feelings and feelings you have been managing your whole life. And now with this loss, you are confronted with them once again. Keep plugging away at the work when your therapist returns and with that support then feelings may get easier and able to function as your whole self again.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
what do you mean keep plugging away at the work? i cannot say that with support the feelings get easier. maybe i am fooling myself by thinking you could help this time, as actually no one can. the only thing which would help is if i can form another relationship with a man. yes you are right that the feelings are ones i have been managing and keeping at bay all my life. maybe i hoped you would have a magical answer but of course there isnt one.
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

I wish I had magic best magic is my support. Plugging away at the work means as you work with your therapist, that you continue to dig deep and work through all these painful feelings that are deep and pre-date your relationship with him. As you heal then the possibilities do exist for you to find another, more compatible in all areas, man.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
thank you i think it is understanding that i am looking for now. and i appreciate your sense that the possibilities exist to find a more compatible man. i am on a dating website, which is how i met the one i lost. he was the first and only man i communicated with there; we wrote for two months before meeting and he fell in love before we met. this time i have met two scammers, several interested in sex only, and no real potentials. it seems everything is more powerful and harder in love the older one is.
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

And I know you believe that finding a man will make it all great for you, but I think you need to heal within first...before you can get back out there to find love. I understand how you feel it will fill that void, but most likely only temporarily. My hopes would be that you mourn this, heal the deep wounds, find yourself and then if you desire put yourself back out there.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
this is where i am not so sure. how can i heal? i am experiencing right now the real loss of a real need which was not met from birth. love and touch are as real needs as the air we breathe and as food, as i know you know. that need needs to be met now, and i cannot love myself if another has not loved me. i have no resources. the reason i can survive as an artist is because one of the men i was with was a perfect mentor and loved my work. he believed in me and gave me confidence. without that i would not have been able to do it. if a need for love has not been met i dont believe it is possible to create it oneself. i have not been loved for me. and i am getting very sleepy now so will have to sign off and go to bed. thank you jen
Expert:  TherapistJen replied 1 year ago.

All those answers you seek come from you fully believing the needs can only be met from the outside. Your work is to slowly, over time, learn that it can and must come from within.

Enjoy a good nights sleep.

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