Rejection Answers

Tell me why the guy chose her over me never said he liked me hurt me bad and now I’m scared

Hello, Thank you for reaching out to Betterhelp. I am so sorry that you are going through this and are going through so much pain. It sounds like he really meant a lot to you, and it is awful when they do not feel the same way. It also sounds like you were not able to fully express how much you cared about him.  So what now? You might expect me to say that there are plenty of fish in the sea, which is true. But we also have to work on your skills as a fisherman. ;) What I would first have you focus on is self-love, self-compassion, and confidence. The truth is you are enough. Always have been. Our mistake is letting other people they have that power over us. They do not. We can either look at as him choosing another person over you OR he made a choice, unfortunate for him, because he missed out on an incredible person, YOU.  Let us get started on self-love. Some of us look at that word and cringe. Like, what does that even mean? It sounds cheesy because others have defined as so. But self-love is important. It means treating ourselves like how we want others to treat us (duh), but you would be surprised at how much we can get used to. But as long as we remember how bright our own lights shine, we won't even focus on the shadows.  Self-love starts with being honest and real with ourselves. It is taking a mirror and looking at the reflection of our soul. We have to understand who we are and things that we can improve.  Physical Changes: A lot of us neglect our physical selves. This can include eating junk food, not drinking enough water, low physical exercise, postponing that haircut, even indulging in a new lipstick. All of these are important because they boost us up. We expect significant others to do nice things for us because we would do the same for them. If this is not true for you,  please continue reading. Let me ask you this, so how can we expect something from others that we are not even doing for ourselves?  Girl, buy yourself flowers and chocolates because YOU CAN. You will get it right every time because YOU KNOW YOU. It hits different, trust. You would be surprised how many of us are not meeting our basic needs. We treat our bodies like crap without a second thought. We passively mistreat ourselves. That is not okay.  We do not prioritize drinking water. That doesn't sound too harmful, right? Well, have you ever seen a plant that has not been watered? They look so sad, they slouch, 0/10 confidence that is for sure! When you drink water, your body will thank you. No one else can do this for you. The exact same thing with eating. Have you ever gone to the movies and ate a whole bucket of popcorn? Have you been able to eat that same bucket of popcorn at any other setting? Why do you think that is? Because we are distracted with the movie. We are not consciously eating. We are somewhere else, in a different galaxy. This can be detrimental because we end up consuming more than we need to. It is like overfilling your gas tank with crappy fuel. How do you expect it to run? Think about long term? We are misinformed to think that we can run like a Prius.  So next time you are consuming a bag of chips, ask yourself, "Why am I eating this? Does it make me happy? Or does it help me escape?". I am not saying eating a bag of chips is bad by any means. I am saying that I want you to be conscious and MINDFUL. Savor it, enjoy it, be intentional.  Now for physical activities. We are accustomed to overworking and sitting our desks for hours on end. Yes, this means you are a hard worker. But your body also needs to move because it is also a hard worker. Our bodies are meant to be used. PLEASE USE IT. Go for a walk, do yoga, stretch, etc. This helps release those feel-good hormones. Who doesn't like to feel a natural high? Emotional Changes: The way we talk to ourselves is indicative of how we let others talk to us. We have that inner voice that can often be an inner critic. Be aware of this. Our inner critic is also developed from people in our lives who have been overly critical, negative, naggy, and all those not-so-fun things. I have had clients identify them as their parents, bullies, siblings, and ex. It is amazing who we let overstay their welcome in our heads.  If this, is you, I want you to close your eyes and imagine that person who is overstaying their welcome in your welcome. Now, you are going to kick them out. Go ahead, open the door, and ask them to leave. Now SHUT THAT DOOR.  Now I want to imagine someone in your life who has inspired you, motivated you, encouraged you. Someone who would come and help you whenever you need it. Do you have that person in mind? Good, now imagine them knocking on your door. Now open the door and let them in.  Remember, you have control over that door. That door represents boundaries. The same door can be used to let someone in and kick someone out. It is powerful. It is your power. See, I told you that you have always been enough.  I am a firm believer in energy. You feel it when you walk into a room, haven't you? You feel it when someone is off, sad, happy, angry all of the above. Every day, you carry energy. It is always your choice on where you will allocate it. Sometimes we waste it on others. You might be commuting to work, and someone cuts you off. You flip them off or you mutter a few words under your breath. That took energy. You can use that same energy and say, "Well that was shitty, but they probably have somewhere to go." Same energy, but you carry it differently.  Your energy can also be used by other people. I am sure you have heard the term "energy vampires" before? We have a lot of those people in our lives. It can be difficult when it is family, friends, co-workers, or even part of your job. What I encourage all of my clients learn are "assertive boundaries".  These are the "I-Statements" that allow you to use your power. You can say, "I appreciate you considering me, but I am going to decline" or "I see that you are upset but I am going to walk away so this does not escalate", or "I would appreciate assistance with this large project."  These "I-Statements" will be applied in your relationships. This is where you express your needs and communicate your emotions.  So this is just a snap shot of what your trusted mental health professional can help you work on. These are the things that will build that strong foundation for future relationships. So I hope that you continue the self-love, self-compassion, and always know that YOU ARE ENOUGH.       
Answered on 10/16/2021

How do I handle my partners emotions while taking care of myself?

Dear Sam,   Thank you for your message and allowing me to understand the difficulties you and your partner are going through, especially on how they are much controlled by their emotions.   Sometimes perhaps setting a healthy boundary would be helpful in managing your relationship with others in the terms that you feel comfortable, so that hopefully your relationships will continue in a way that is mutually comfortable. Otherwise, as your counselor I would support you to do what is best for yourself, even if that is walking away temporarily. This in itself, is also self-compassion.   In my coaching practice, many of the women and men I work with struggle with one common theme: setting healthy boundaries. I witness this challenge pop up in all relationships, whether it's with a family, business partner, a friend, or in a romantic relationship. We experience this uncomfortable pattern until we heal the root cause of the behavior.   In my experience, the root of all struggle is fear. Relationships become unhealthy when we act from a place of fear, rather than love. More often than not, we aren't even aware of the fears that have been driving our choices, blocking us from doing what's best for ourselves, and damaging our relationships. But learning to set healthy boundaries offers a perfect opportunity to strengthen our capacity to love ourselves and release the ego's fearful perceptions.   When you find yourself having difficulty saying "no" to others, doing things out of feelings of guilt or obligation, attempting to please others even at the expense of what's best for you, or not expressing your thoughts and feelings when someone upsets you, you are putting yourself last and putting others first-which doesn't serve any of the parties involved.   If we say "yes" to others asking of our time and energy and we've not filled ourselves up first, we are giving from a place of lack-which is a fear-based choice that sours the energy in a relationship and doesn't serve either party. It also breeds codependency, and prompts us to attract people and situations that drain us because we aren't honoring our own needs and boundaries.   Many times, this way of being can create anger or resentment in the person who is putting her or his own needs behind others'. This might manifest as complaining, feeling taken advantage of, or feeling powerless. These feelings are messages to us that we've chosen to perceive ourselves as the victim of a circumstance rather than stepping up and making choices for ourselves based on love.   The truth is, we're never a victim of our circumstances. We can choose how we would like to perceive something in any given situation-we can choose to perceive fear or we can choose love. And when we act from a place of love, rather than a place of fear, we experience a radical shift that transforms our struggles and breaks old patterns that are no longer serving us.   There are three main steps to changing the patterns that keep us in unhealthy relationships: Identifying our fears, choosing to adopt a loving perception of a situation, and taking action from a place of self-love.   Step 1: Identify Your Fears   Awareness is the first step to creating change. The moment we witness our ego's fearful perceptions and the stories it's been telling us, we can begin to shift them.   Common fears that show up in the context of boundaries include fear of not being good enough, fear of rejection, or fear of being alone or abandoned. Many times, we adopt these fears as children (or at other points in our lives), and then drag these past experiences into our present and maybe even project them onto the future. This can result in us feeling like we don't want to upset others or lose their approval or acceptance, and valuing that acceptance over our own needs. Another result of letting these fears run the show is that as a consequence we may have trouble accessing how we want to be feeling and what we want to be doing-which prevents us from standing in our power.   Step 2: Choose Love   After we've created awareness around our fears, it's important to recognize that from a spiritual perspective, the fear isn't "real"-it's something we've learned through social conditioning, and not something we're born with. Instead of believing in these fears, we can choose to put our faith in loving perceptions, release our fearful illusions, and begin to experience beautiful changes in our lives.   This is more than a one-time choice; rather, it's an ongoing, moment-to-moment practice that involves witnessing fearful perceptions as they arise and actively choosing loving perceptions instead. To view the world through a lens of love, I recommend that people begin each day with a powerful intention: "I choose to release my fear and see love instead". Repeat this intention whenever fearful thoughts arise throughout the day.   Step 3: Act   Every time we choose love over fear, we commit an act of self-love. It is only when we are secure in our own worth that we can give and receive from a place of abundance, thereby creating relationships that serve us.   Saying "no" or speaking our truth when someone upsets us might feel scary at first. But as we begin to act in spite of our fears, we come to understand that when we act from a place of love, everyone wins. Contrary to what we may believe, there is never a situation in which what's best for us is not best for all. When we face our fears and express our thoughts and feelings openly to the person who upsets us or pushes our boundaries, internal healing occurs. We learn that it is safe to speak our truth and that those who best serve us will listen with love. Best of all, when we show up for ourselves, we provide an opportunity for those around us to show up as well.   Of course, we cannot control how other people respond to our feelings or choices. How others react is their personal spiritual assignment and how we react is ours. As we release our attachment to others' opinions and practice acceptance around however they choose to respond, we free ourselves from the bondage of fear, knowing that we are self-approved.   When You Need to Walk Away   Sometimes, walking away from a job or relationship that's no longer serving us is the most loving choice we can make. If we choose to leave a person or situation, it's important to trust and know that the universe has our back. The work is to call on our inner guiding system-the loving voice within-and to hear an answer, trust it, and act on it. This internal GPS never leads us astray, no matter how surprising or scary the answer may seem.   Saying "No"-The Takeaway   The most valuable thing that happens when we show up for ourselves with love is that we gain a sense of empowerment and a higher level of self-worth. When we give ourselves the love and acceptance that we desire, we no longer have to look for it outside of ourselves, which gives us the freedom to be who we want to be. This will reflect back to us with beautiful relationships that nourish and support us. As we approach our relationships more consciously and release fearful patterns, we break the cycles of guilt and obligation and begin to create new relationships and experiences that reflect our internal space of self-love.   Please let me know if this is helpful, looking forward to hear your thoughts. Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

How can I over over a state of depression

Hello, Thank you for taking time to ask this question. Break-ups can be devastating because you are not only mourning the loss of the person but also the loss of the future you thought you'd have with them. It's easy to get lost in the "what ifs" and the "should haves" these will hollow you out. Instead, it is essential to look at the situation and learn from it. This can mean both that you pursue personal growth or that you learn how to accept difficult losses. Its important to give yourself time to grieve. You cannot rush through sadness but you can rest in the knowledge that it won't last forever. Sadness, like any emotion, comes from within you. It isn't an external force working against you. As such, it cannot overtake or attack you (even when it feels like it) instead it is there to show you that there is an unmet need. What is it that your sadness is showing you? Do you need to pour more love and support into yourself? Do you need to feel secure and safe in your own company?    Acknowledge the hurt from the loss, let yourself feel what you need to feel, and then when you are ready press into meeting your own needs.   There is enough of you to do this, otherwise you wouldn't have asked for help.    As you engage in the healing process, remember that people do not heal in straight lines. You are not losing progress or falling behind simply because you've experienced a wave of grief. It's okay, you will have moments in the day when the pain hits you hard. These moments don't last forever. You will be able to take a deep steady breath and move into it.    Give yourself permission to be okay. Letting go of the hurt doesn't mean the relationship wasn't important to you or that it's "easy to get over" the person. Of course it isn't but it is necessary to heal.    As you move forward, let others write their own story try not to allow this loss to keep you from being fully in the moment with others (friends family). That doesn't mean it won't get in the way at first. It probably will and that's okay. Just don't get stuck there. Continue to meet the needs your emotions are pointing out.
(MS, LPC, LCDC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

How to forget your parents if they mentally and physically abused you?

I am so sorry that you have had to experience such emotional and physical abuse from your parents. When abuse comes from your parents, someone who most cultures dictate should always love and care for you, it can be quite devastating. Your feeling is valid, and no one can tell you how you should feel regarding the things you have experienced. Please know that there is no excuse for abuse. Although you can't change your parents, their thoughts, their views, or magically change the way you feel about them, you can begin to break this cycle of dysfunction. The first thing you should do is to forgive your parents. Forgiveness is an act of kindness for yourself. It isn't a magic pill that will fix everything, but it is a starting point. It is about giving yourself permission to let go of the load you have been carrying since you were a child. It takes a lot of strength to forgive anyone, but especially a parent, who has abused you. An act of sincere forgiveness is one of the most powerful tools of self-healing. It can give you a sense of peace and calm. Do it so that you can reclaim your life and let go of any anger you have been holding on to. How can you forgive? You can write a letter to your parents to let them know how they made you feel and how deeply they have scarred you. Write out every detail that you can remember. It will be painful, but after the pain, you will experience the peace. At the end of your letter, write these words: "I forgive you." These are very powerful words and this is a choice that you are making for yourself, you inner peace, and your future. It can be very hard to forget about your parents. You have been living yo ur life with these emotional scars. It will definitely take time to heal, but you may never actually forget. Like any traumatic experience, abuse doesn't just go away. After some time, you will be able to heal, leave the past behind, and start to move forward.  
Answered on 10/16/2021

how do i stop being so jealous?

Thank you so much for sharing what you are going through with jealousy. I did receive your question and would love to touch base with you about it. I am definitely able to work with you on this issue and I'm happy you reached out.    A little about myself. My name is Jennifer Forbes and I’m a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Illinois. You can take a look at my profile to learn a little bit more about background. Online counseling is fairly new, so please feel free to ask any questions that you may have. My counseling style is pretty laid back. I have been described as a good listener, supportive, collaborative and a problem solver.  I like to understand what is not working and how you got here. The better we are able to identify the obstacles, the more targeted we can be with strategies to overcome it.   I am here to help you sort through the things that are difficult right now and offer you a safe place to be open and honest without fear of judgment. You have taken the first and most important step by reaching out for help and I am really glad that you did. I’d like to help you work on the struggles you are facing and offer a safe place for you to explore your thoughts and feelings.   I wanted to take a moment to let you know a bit about my general availability and frequency of responding. I encourage you to write as often and as much as you like – this room is open 24 hours a day, seven days per week. I typically respond to all messages within 24 hours. The only exception is the weekend, when I am usually off. If there is a message that you would like to respond to sooner, please mark as urgent and I will get back to you as soon as I can.    For one on one sessions, you can schedule the following sessions: live video, phone and/or chat sessions – if you click on the schedule tab on the left-hand side of the page, you can see what time I have available. These sessions will last between 30 -45 minutes. You can book as often as you think you will need throughout the week as well as whatever form of communication you feel works best for you. I carry a small caseload, so I can be more focused and more available to you.   During our work together, if you feel that you or someone you know is in immediate danger of harming themselves or someone else, please call 911. Should you feel in need of urgent help or that you are in crisis at any time during our work together, please call 1-800-273-TALK for 24 hour crisis support. This platform does not provide any type of emergency services, so I want to be sure you know who to contact if you are in a crisis of that nature.   Please know that you are not alone. There is Hope! Things can and will get better. I am really looking forward to working with you and I will be looking out for your booked session.    Sincerely Grateful, JForbes  
Answered on 10/16/2021

how to have control over my feelings

Dear Ellie,   Thank you for your message and I am sorry to hear what you have experienced in the past year in your relationships. Thank you for your courage in sharing with me your pain.   “If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   Closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding after a relationship has ended.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction, or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had love before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

How do I stop overthinking about my ex boyfriend

Hello AI,  Thanks for sharing this.  This indeed is a tough situation.  While the cliche is true, time heals all wounds, it is that present until time passess that is so hard for most of us.  I have a few suggestions that I hope will help you.   First of all, please take a look at your vulnerability factors which are eating, sleeping and moving your body/exercise.  If you are doing well is these three areas, then you will be less vulnerable overall to these negative times.  This is also part of your own self care.  Take a look at your appetite and eating patterns.  Take a look at the kinds of foods you put in your body.  There is a large correlation between mind and body.  What affects the body also affects the mind and vice versa.  Next, focus on your sleeping.  Are you getting enough sleep, is it restful?  Are you having a hard time sleeping?  If your sleep is interrupted in any way or you have trouble falling asleep, I would suggest you practice some sleep meditation right before bed.  There are many on you tube.  Lastly, are you moving your body throughout the day?  if you are not a fan of exercise then a daily walk maybe listening to your favorite music.   Next, let's take a look at how you spend your time during the day and night.  What times of the day do you think you spend more time thinking about your ex?  Let's say it is the afternoon time, then I want you to intentionally schedule something in that time that you enjoy doing or interacting with another person.  I suggest you practice this for at least the next 3-4 weeks.  Also be careful of idle time.  If you have a lot of free time then fill it up as much as possible with things you enjoy.   Make a list of all the supportive people in your life and make sure you keep close contact with them over the next several weeks.  This can be in the form of text messages, phone calls, in person time, etc....If you have any items that remind you of your ex in your home, take a box and place all of them in there and put them away just for now, at least for the next 3-4 weeks. Lastly, please begin a daily nightly practice of gratitude.  Take a look at your day and write down three things that you enjoyed, were good or that you are thankful for.  Do this every night before bed. Please be gracious and kind to yourself always!   Acknowledge your feelings, they are all ok.  I hope this helps    
(LCSW)
Answered on 10/16/2021

how can I break this obsession?

Dear Lavieenrose,   Thank you for your message and I am sorry to hear about your break up. Thank you for your courage in sharing with me your pain.   “If you are brave enough to say good-bye, life will reward you with a new hello.” ~Paul Coehlo   Closure is something everyone would like. We would like validation and understanding after a relationship has ended.   We can accept that someone doesn’t want to be with us. We can accept that the relationship has changed or that they want something else. What we can’t accept is our partner’s inability to communicate that fact effectively and tell us what went wrong.   Unfortunately, sometimes your partner does not have this same need, or they may have the same need but they’re better at hiding it and pretending they don’t. They would rather just push you, and their feelings, away.   In my experience, people can’t always be honest with you because they can’t be honest with themselves. It isn’t about you. We always want it to be about us and our flaws and failures, but it isn’t.   Many people don’t know how to deal with the emotions that come with a breakup, so they prefer to avoid their feelings altogether, and this is the most likely reason they won’t talk to you. It has nothing to do with you or the relationship or something you did wrong or that you weren’t enough.   I’ve dealt with trying to get closure a few times, and it’s awful. No one likes to be ignored, and no one likes to not get answers to their questions. But, what you have to learn is that any answer you get won’t change anything, and it may or may not be the truth anyway.   I can only control myself and my actions and how I deal with the ending of another relationship that I thought could mean something.   If people want to be in your life they make an effort. If they don’t, then you are better off without them.   If you are struggling with getting closure with an ex, ask yourself why you want to talk to them. Is it to get them back? Is it to get them to validate the relationship? Is it to try to get some type of reaction, or any type of reaction?    If you are making up reasons why you need to talk to them, then perhaps you need to get closure from yourself. If they won’t talk to you, reaching out will likely cause you more pain and frustration. So instead, I suggest the following:   1. Write a letter.   Write one every day if you need to. Don’t send it; just get the feelings out there. You can write them here if you would like. :)   2. Write out reasons why they may be avoiding you that have nothing to do with you.   We all create explanations in our heads as to why our ex won’t talk to us. We imagine they think bad things about us, they don’t want us, that we weren’t enough, or that everything was our fault. Thoughts in your head are just your interpretation of what happened, and they are usually incorrect.   What if what they are really thinking is this? Do you think they are going to tell you?   I’m afraid to be open and be hurt again. I don’t think I can give this person what they need. Being vulnerable is too scary. He/she is too good for me. My abandonment issues have triggered my unconscious need to be alone.   3. Unless this was your first love, remember that you loved before and you got over it.   You control whether you move on. And you can decide if you want to wallow in self-pity and misery, or pick yourself up off the floor and be the spectacular, amazing person you are and get out there and show yourself to the world.   4. Take your feelings and write them on little pieces of paper.   “I am hurt.” “I am angry.” “I am sad.” “I am devastated.” “I am heartbroken.” “I feel rejected.”   Get a fireproof bowl and fill it with some sand. Put all the little pieces of paper in the bowl and light them on fire. Watch the words burn and with them, let the feelings go.   5. Be alone.   Be still. Cry and be sad over the loss. Accept that what once was, is no longer, and what you thought would be will never be. If it’s meant to be in the future, it will find a way to work itself out. Maybe now is just not the time.   6. Live in abundance.   They are not the only person in the world. There are literally millions of single people in the world. If you had love before, you will have it again. Stop thinking that you’ll never find someone else so wonderful. If they were so wonderful they would still be with you. They aren’t. They’re gone.   What is it you are really hoping to hear? Do you think most people can admit their fears? Of course we all would like our partner to care enough to tell us the truth no matter how much it hurts.   There are a million reasons that relationships don’t work and tons of reasons why your ex won’t talk to you. Don’t take on their issues and make them your own. Realize that we all have insecurities, and not all of us can understand how they impact us.   I’m sure you would love for your ex to say, “You are truly amazing and wonderful, but I don’t think we are a match.” The reason most won’t say this is that they don’t want you to come back at them with all sorts of reasons why you are a match, so they’d rather avoid the topic altogether.   For whatever reason, your ex has chosen to cease all communication with you. The best thing you can do is take it as a sign from the universe that it’s time to move on, and that any person worthy of being your partner would never leave you in the lurch like that.   Remember this saying, “If not this, something better.” These words sound stupid and irritating when your relationship has just ended, but they are true for a reason.   We don’t’ always get what we want, but we get what we need. Change is inevitable. Change is good. If it was meant to be, it would have been, and if it is meant to be, it will be.   Unfortunately, life does not always go along with our pre-conceived notions of how things should be, and people aren’t always what we want and need them to be. Life isn’t always wrapped up in a pretty package with a bow on top.   Sometimes you get closure and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes the lack of closure is the very lesson that you needed to learn. Maybe you needed to learn to validate yourself and accept yourself.   Consider seeing this person as a gift sent to you. They were brought to you as a reflection of yourself. Thank them for being a part of your journey and send them on their way in your mind.   Lastly, if you are waiting for your ex to give you closure, it might be time to dig deep inside and give it to yourself.   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

Hey. How do I stop loving someone that is not into me?

Hello Shelz,   Thank you for reaching out on this platform to ask how you can stop loving someone.   Moving on from a relationship situation that does not seem to be reciprocal. Most people would agree you generally can’t help who you fall in love with. But in some circumstances, you might wish that weren’t the case as the relationship you are in is causing you some sadness.   It seems you are trying to cope with some mixed messages from him and that can indeed be confusing!   I will share some information that may help create that 'shift in thinking' which seems to be the help and support you are reaching out for.   Maybe you love someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you but he is not able to face up to what he needs to do to fix things.   “The longing that accompanies one-sided love can affect emotional well-being and cause a lot of discomfort,”      Or perhaps you love someone who continually demonstrates they don’t have your best interests at heart. Maybe you and a partner love each other intensely but have too many differences to sustain a lasting partnership.   Regardless of the situation, love is a complicated emotion. And even when it’s clear that a relationship isn’t doing you any favors, it can feel impossible to simply turn off your feelings.   Try some of these tips can help you start the process of moving forward.   Acknowledge the truth of the situation   Optimism isn’t a bad trait. In fact, the ability to hold on to hope in difficult or painful situations is typically considered a sign of personal strength.   But when it comes to struggling relationships, it’s more helpful to consider the present reality than the future you imagine.   The person you love may not feel the same way. Or maybe you feel wildly in love during intimate moments but spend the rest of your time together disagreeing over just about everything.   If you believe giving up on your relationship or love for someone means you’ve failed, think again. It takes courage and self-awareness to recognize this. You’ve taken a positive step toward self-growth.   Simply realizing your relationship isn’t going anywhere probably won’t make your feelings disappear overnight, but it’s a significant step.   Identify relationship needs — and deal breakers    Taking a careful look at what you want from a relationship, as well as what you absolutely don’t want, can help you pinpoint the ways a love interest may not be the best match. Say you and your FWB have a great thing going. The more time you spend together, the more connected you feel. Eventually, you realize you’ve fallen in love with them.   But there’s one big issue: Days, sometimes a week or more, often pass without you hearing from them. You send them Facebook messages and notice they’ve been online, but there’s still no reply.   If you prioritize good communication in relationships, their inability to get back to you in a timely manner is a pretty good indicator that they’re not a good match. When you recognize the ways someone you love doesn’t quite meet your needs, you might have an easier time getting over your feelings.   Make Peace With The Brutal Truth   And what is this brutal truth? This person doesn’t need or love you.   Perhaps you’re intensely pained and don't want to let go. You even wonder why they stopped loving you or don't even love you in the first place.   You keep hoping and believing that they will grow to love you someday in the future.   But that’s wrong. Because loving someone who doesn't love you back sucks besides, "someday" is in the future and you're in the present.   What's the point of subjecting yourself to pain in hope that things will be better in the future that you have no control over? What if it never does?   The best thing to do is to make peace with the truth no matter how unbearable it might be.   Accept the fact that you love someone who doesn't love you in return because it's the only way to take a leap of the situation and embrace the future you deserve.   Admit To Your Feelings Do you think it's easy to forget someone you love by just pretending that you've gotten over them?   After all, you truly love and cherish this person, you're even planning your future together, probably this person made you believe that love exists.   If so, then you're wrong..... Your feelings won't disappear automatically simply because you're running from them.   So you should acknowledge the way you truly feel or the way your lost lover felt about you instead of trying to suppress them.   "Once you express your feelings to yourself, you’ll know exactly what you have to deal with. Is this something temporary or your unrequited love for this person is deeper than that?"   Brutally admitting to your feelings makes it easier to get over them. You'll even know the depth of your unrequited love for this person.   Give Your Wounds Time To Recuperate Every wound and injury require time to heal and emotional wounds are no different.   Giving yourself time to heal is one of the best ways to overcome emotional pains.   You need to give yourself enough time to grieve and your healing will happen over time. Come on, don't hold on to your emotions, if you feel like crying or screaming, don't hold back just do it.   I'm not saying you should cling to this behavior and make it your habit. All you have to do is let your pains, frustration, and disappointments out of your head once and for all. And with time, you will be fine.   Never Blame Yourself. Don't try to take it personally or blame yourself.   Why? Because it's not your fault.   Honestly speaking: There's a whole lot of reasons why you were rejected or dumped by your or ex. This ranges from your crush's pre-dating-history, your crush might be in a serious relationship, your ex no longer loves you or your ex has fallen for someone else... And they don't have to do with you or your personality.   And so, don't blame yourself over a failed relationship (as you might be doing).   Blaming yourself leads you into self-doubt and lack of confidence. Which introduces into your mind, crazy thoughts like: "She rejected me 'cause I ain't cool and handsome; He broke up with me 'cause that girl is way hotter, sexier, and more beautiful than me..." That's simply delusional!   And the worst part?   Lack of confidence makes you unable to move on with your life, ask another girl out, or build a better relationship with some other guy.   Your biggest option is to, boost your confidence in this sense.   And the best way to do that?   Is to quit taking your failed relationship too personal or blaming yourself.   Share Your Feelings With Someone When it comes to dealing with unrequited love, there's one commandment you should never break: "Thou shalt not keep thy feelings to thy self."   This may sound a bit awful, but a lot of people do it all the time. How?   They shut themselves off from others, refusing to share their frustration and grief with friends and family.   Big no-no. If you want to get your heart free from any kind of pain, you should consider talking about your true feelings with a friend or family member.   Why? Because according to an old saying: "A problem shared is a problem halved."   Talking about a problem with someone else usually makes it seem less daunting or troubling.   The truth is: It's really helpful to talk about your frustration and grief with family and friends 'cause it reduces the effect of the heartache on you.   Furthermore: It’s usually enough to realize that someone is listening to you.   To that end: You should share your pains, grief, and frustration with your friend or family member.     Fall In Love With Yourself And Look After Yourself   If you fall into self-neglect and subject yourself to harsh treatments simply because someone stopped loving you or doesn't even love you back. How shameful will that be?   If your unrequited lover finds out that you are ruined or devastated because they chose not to love you anymore what do you think will be their thoughts about you?   Do you think they'll feel sorry for you and come back to you? Of course, they won't and you know it.   Instead, they might even be happy that you're addicted to them and can't survive without them. Or worse, they may even make jest of you calling you weak and desperate.   I'm sure you don't want to be an object of pity. Do you?   What should you do then?   Fall in love with yourself, make yourself happy, take care of yourself, don't resort to smoking and excessive drinking, remember that you had your life before falling in love with that person.   Come on. There's only one you and you've got only one life why mope over someone that doesn't love you?    Cheer up, refill your spirit with happiness, go shopping, get new clothes, change your looks and lead a happier life.   If you can't love yourself how can you expect another person to love you?   Try Some Exercise One of the most effective ways to get over unrequited love is to restore and reclaim your emotional balance. And one of the best ways to do that? Is by going for some physical exercises.   Hit the gym, go for fitness classes, go for jogging sessions, try swimming or any exercise you can do.   Exercises are one of the greatest ways to eliminate negative emotions. And when you're filled with positivity, you won't have time for depression or sadness associated with unrequited love.   So just have fun and make yourself happy.   Think Of The Positive Aspects So you're in love with someone that doesn't love you back and feel as if your world has come to an end? Don't you think you're being delusional?   Maybe they used to love you and all of a sudden, they stopped loving you, maybe you feel like you're not loved enough, or you aren't even loved in the first place. Whatever your case may be, I just want you to know that it's not as bad you think it is.   If only you can look into the positive aspects of the situation with an open mind, you'll realize that it's a blessing in disguise.   "Think of this is as a test of your strength and as something which will shape you into becoming the best possible version of yourself."    I'm sure there's a huge life lesson or lessons to learn from such experience. Something like: learning not to waste your time loving someone who doesn't deserve your affection and a lot more.     Take Some Time Before Jumping Into Another Relationship If you think you'll get over your heartbreak by jumping into another relationship, you're mistaken.   You'll only be making that person a rebound to you and that's a very dangerous decision.   Because you'll be delaying the process of getting over your ex as you'll be pretending to be fine. But how sure are you that it won't end up in tears sooner rather than later?   You'll be hindering yourself from finding a better relationship that you always hope for because your rebound will give you a sense of security and hence, stop you from attending social events where you can meet a potential date.   And the worst part?   You might be hurting that person who might innocently think that you love him or her. Yeah, nobody wants to be treated as a rebound.   Instead, give yourself time to heal and bring back the smile on your face before thinking of another relationship. Or simply put, until you've moved on and completely gotten over a disappointing relationship, do not attempt jumping into another one.   If you are unable to put these ideas into action for yourself perhaps consider reaching out for som support and guidance from a professional mental health therapist either with setting some boundaries in your current relationship or to help you figure out what is going on or to help you decide what you want to do about this situation.   There is hope and there is help!  I wish you much luck.   Kind Regards, Gaynor       
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 10/16/2021

How to cope with loneliness that you feel 24/7 and still try to be happy.

First, let me say that I am sorry that your girlfriend betrayed you.  That is never ever easy.  No matter where you live or what you do for a living or what support you have.  It is just hard to process.  It further would feel like a betrayal that you moved your life and this happened. I am guessing that the relationship is over so will write from that perspective.  So "now what?" is the question to answer regardless.   The breakup is a life interruption that creates a grief process.  Being cheated on creates sadness, numbness, confusion, anger, frustration, and every other negative emotion, especially after a 9-year relationship.  I have to think that you saw a future and a life with this person to have moved, left friends and a life you knew, to now find yourself alone with no support.  The grief process is one that is helpful to have someone help you with and support you with some grounding techniques to begin to help you move through the phases and get to a place of okay and manageable in your daily life so that you can make some next step decisions.   It is common to feel unclear and foggy because typically you are not sleeping well, you may have no exercise routine at the moment, your eating is out of whack and you may not be hydrated.  And you probably still have to deal with the girlfriend in some ways as I assume that you were or are living together.  So then there is the splitting of material things.  This creates an emotion that is even harder to deal with when you are unclear and feeling out of balance or control. The next steps I would suggest for you are these steps that are completely in your control to gain some certainty in an uncertain time.  Uncertainty creates stress and I want you to feel in control of yourself to then be able to make clearer decisions.  These are simple to give you moments of the knowledge that you are doing the best that you can until there are more of these moments. 1 - Hydrate - the brain and the body function better when hydrated.   2 - Movement - 30-45 minutes of intentional movement, even walking, begins to help the stress be alleviate.  Your brain cannot process unless you move.  Sitting or doing things like having endless hours of screentime does not help you move forward.  You can have screentime after you devote the time to move too. 3 - Nutrition - Carb loading or not eating puts the body and brain into a situation where it does not function at the high level that you need right now. Take today and plan out what you know you need to eat.  Have your comfort food after you eat the healthy that you have planned. 4 - There is a great app that has great meditation practice in a way that can be inactive short bursts if this is new to you or in longer segments if this is something you know how to do.  We all have to practice stopping the thought loop that is not helpful to us.  To get more sleep, try the app 'Unplug' to practice stillness for your brain to get rest so that you can have the clarity and presence that you need right now to decide your next steps.  If you are sleeping too much, set an alarm and make yourself get into a regular rhythm of going to bed and getting up.  Circadian rhythm is a very real thing that affects our brain energy and capacity to heal. Lastly, consider having a BetterHelp therapist to help guide you.  We all need coaches and guides in our life when we find ourselves in unfamiliar and unchartered waters.  Let us know how we can support you in this season of life - Dawn Rochelle, MSW, LCSW
(MSW, LCSW)
Answered on 10/16/2021

Why is it always have to be me being on a bad space, being hurt by people I love the most.

I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling with being used in relationships and the hurt that is causing. It will be important to recognize when your feelings have a purpose versus when they do not.  We of course want positive feelings in our lives, but sometimes negative feelings are there for a reason and we need to live out that purpose in order for it to get better.  If we do not live out the purpose of our feelings, it likely leads us to feel worse.  For example, something as simple as having anxiety about needing to get the chores done has the purpose of getting us motivated to get the chores done.  Therefore, if we do not live out that purpose and the chores remain undone, that can lead to more bad feelings, such as, “I am lazy” or “I am worthless.”  This is a simple example of how if we do not pay attention to our feelings and live out the purpose, they can become much, much worse.  So, I would encourage you to try and separate out the thoughts that have a purpose from the thoughts that do not have a purpose and are more intrusive.    For the ones that do have a purpose, it can be helpful to allow yourself to think through the anxious thoughts because anxiety has a nasty way of going to the worst possible scenario.  If you can wrap your head around that scenario, it can make it less scary.  For example, I had a client that was very anxious daily about being single for the rest of his life.  Thinking to that extreme is clearly anxiety and it just lingers there.  So, then he was able to think through that scenario and come up with a plan to make it less scary.  He then came up with that if he really is going to be single the rest of his life, which is highly unlikely, he is going to work towards being able to live close to the ocean since that is a dream of his.  Thinking about it now does not make him as scared because he recognizes he could be happy with that. So, try to think through specific things you are anxious about that have a purpose and make sure you have a specific plan on how to improve those things. For example, having a specific plan for how to address specific feelings you have that are valid in a relationship.   Intrusive thoughts tend to not have a purpose and it can be really helpful to try and overpower those before they are accepted as truths.   We can have power over our thoughts and I want to help you not engage in these thoughts that make you so upset.  The easiest example of this that I can think of is if I went skydiving.  If I went skydiving I would have some obvious, rational, anxious thoughts.  If I really have a desire to skydive though I will need to not engage in those thoughts.  I might have thoughts such as, "My parachute could fail, I will hit the ground, I am going to pass out, etc."  However, since I really want to follow through with skydiving, I would want to stop those thoughts in their tracks with, "I know this is going to be really fun, they inspect the parachutes ahead of time, people hardly ever get hurt doing this, etc."  By focusing on those thoughts and not engaging in the others, I would be able to follow through with skydiving. Try to sort through any thoughts that get you down about yourself and that you can’t handle all of this and try to overpower those.  These types of thoughts are very common when dealing with this kind of hurt in relationships.                    As you do those processes it can be helpful to validate yourself as someone whose life has worth and that has been able to get through challenges in your past.  Something that could be helpful for you is what I like to call centering thoughts.  These are thoughts that are predetermined and unique to you for you to turn to in low moments.  They need to be powerful enough to bring you back to your center.  It is important that these thoughts are accessible for you to look at when you need to.  Some clients prefer to read and re-read them and some prefer to write and re-write them until they feel better.  I have clients that write these somewhere they will see daily such as their bathroom mirror or phone background, while others simply have them in their phone to pull out when they need to.  An example of a centering thought would be from a client I had that related to nautical-themed things and her thought was, "I will not let this sink me."  Another example is from an Olympic skier that actually had difficulties with negative thinking getting in the way of her performance so she went to therapy.  She mentioned that she learned about centering thoughts to battle all of the people telling her she “should be” or “should do.”  To battle those thoughts, she uses the simple centering thought of, “I am.”  She can then remind herself that she is good enough, that she is confident, and that she does want to still compete, which really affirms her own feelings and not others.  Hopefully, you can come up with something that helps validate your worth and abilities to move forward.       I hope that some of this is helpful and that you can apply it to your circumstances.  I hope that you can lean on some family and/or friends through this.  Doing so can help take the weight off of your shoulders as well as hopefully get some valuable advice from them. Try to take the healing one day at a time and adding one positive thing back into your life each day. I wish you all the best and I hope that you are staying safe.
(MA, LPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

What do I do?

Hi Joshy,  Thank you for reaching out with this question. I will try to offer some guidance based on the information you provided in the description. The first thing I want to say is how sorry I am to hear about this breakup. I think a lot of people can understand how chaotic a breakup is, especially when you felt you were on the verge of proposing! Often in times in breakups, there are more questions than answers, and closure is a concept that you can't get to by talking to the person who you loved and who is breaking your heart.    When a breakup happens when you have been in a relationship for so long it can take months or even years to fully grieve the relationship. Also, depending on the relationship itself, there may be some additional processing you may need help with. For instance, if you felt used, or if you experienced manipulation or other toxic behaviors in the relationship you may benefit from counseling to help you process those experiences and come out on the other side more healthy.    I can also see that there is possibly some issue between how you were viewing the relationship and how your partner was viewing the relationship. You were planning a future, yet your partner wanted out. Talking with a counselor about this in more detail may help you identify ways that you may have been carrying the relationship.    It is normal to feel sad and deeply hurt by the ending of this relationship. One thing that helps people is to think about the ways the relationship was not working, to begin with. For instance, you already said you felt bored and that you felt used. Those are important feelings that may indicate that you knew for a while that this person wasn't sparking joy in you and that the relationship was not going to develop.    A lot of times in relationships we fall in love quickly because of the newness of this person who also wants to spend time with us. Then after a few months, we try to make things work because we don't want to break up. When we do that we aren't really honoring our own life. Sometimes we try to make things work when the other person is pushing us away. Working with a counselor can help you identify signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships which will help you as you move forward in your life.    I hope that you have found some of these things helpful. I highly encourage you to seek individual counseling to help you get more specific help as you heal and begin to move forward in your life. 
(LMHC, CSAC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

How do I deal with my emotions? Sometimes I feel so out of control

Hello Lucy,  It seems that the way that your partner handles conflict causes you harm. You mention that it is very painful for you when he leaves the conversation or puts down the phone. Are you experiencing abandonment, rejection, or both?    Training your emotional intelligence concerning understanding also means knowing how to delimit the trigger of the emotion (the event or the situation) and the internal causes of the emotion (your needs and your subjective assessment of the situation) See emotion as an opportunity to understand and learn things about you and your environment.  In particular on the following points: Outside world: it indicates to us the situations and events that represent an opportunity or a threat to the satisfaction of our needs Inner world: It tells us which need is frustrated or satisfied. It tells us about our subjective way of evaluating the situation and about our representations, beliefs, patterns, and mental rules. Emotion provides us with information about the automatic way in which we react to situations. Indeed, it indicates to us a privileged way to react, it is the tendency to the action in reaction to the emotion (to flee, to attack…). It is not by what prompts us to go in this direction that we are forced to do it, we can take the time before acting by asking ourselves if this path will help us or pose a problem.   Example: I collapse with sadness while ruminating several days after receiving the judgment of a colleague at work. This emotion brings me several useful information: Outside world: emotion tells me that it is this interaction, and particularly the reproach, that is the source of the frustration of my needs. Needs: the need to be valued, to value me and to have my place in a group Perception: I give a lot of weight to the judgments of others because if someone blames me, it means for me that I am null and incapable (personal belief/interpretation) Tendency to action: I observe that I tend to ruminate for several days and to devalue myself following a reproach, and avoid or try to do well to "fix" the reproach to the person. These emotional regulation strategies contribute to devaluing my self-esteem and my need for external approval, it is helpful to find other strategies to serve my esteem needs.   Expressing your emotions has many virtues: Inform the other about our inner state, your expectations vis-à-vis the relationship, and our relationship to our environment. Emotional expression helps reinforce relational behaviors that facilitate relationships and discourage behaviors It allows you to better regulate your emotions by considering them as a useful messenger rather than as an enemy against which to fight Expressing your emotions allows you to better integrate your life events, to tell a coherent story. Emotional expression can be: Individual: express in writing what you feel about yourself. Addressed to others: allows the other to adjust to our needs in the relationship.  Emotional suppression prevents looking back on the impacts of other people's behavior. Saying nothing when something hurts us helps send the message that this is OK. At first, most people keep everything to themselves because we have the feeling that it is not being said or we are afraid of having an open conflict. In a second step, by dint of having accumulated problems, one ends up exploding when the drop breaks the camel's back.  My opinion is that from the moment something bothers us, it is legitimate to be able to express it, on the other hand, everything depends on the way of doing it. Beyond the question of legitimacy, it is the practical question of relational balance.  Expressing your emotions and your needs allows a regular readjustment in the relationship by informing your partner about what suits you and what does not suit you.  It is therefore understandable that you only wish to express them for serious things or when your tolerance threshold is well exceeded.   Listening to your partner's emotions allows you to make a comfortable place for him in the relationship and to accept it as a whole.  Often, it is difficult to fully listen to the other, as we have to make room for their suffering, which can be painful for you too. Listening means making room for the other's experiences, trying to take the measure of what the other is experiencing, and understanding their representation of things, even if it seems illogical to us or the opposite of yours. Whatever your partner is going through when he becomes upset and walks away, it seems that he struggles to express his feelings and that you personalize his behavior and make it about you. His behavior is rude however I sense that he probably faces many challenges in dialoguing.  I do understand how it makes you feel because it never feels good to be on the receiving end of someone walking off or hanging up.  It does sound though that it is more his issues than yours. He might lack the ability and emotional intelligence to process his feelings at the moment. Many people will retreat to figure out how they feel and how they should respond.  When he walks away from you, he is essentially saying: "I don't know or don't want to deal with this conversation."  You can't force a dialogue, it has to be an organic process.  I am essentially telling you that your feelings are legitimate however you can't control how your boyfriend behaves. You can only change how you react to him and what importance you give to his behavior.  Another option is to subtract yourself from the situation. You can assert yourself and set boundaries. I would set boundaries ahead of having conversations with him and let him know what I will accept and not accept.  Finally, it does not seem that you want to end this relationship because you care about your boyfriend but if he is unable to change how he responds to you during conflicts, you might want to remove yourself entirely from the relationship.  I wish you well and hope that my answer will help you. 
Answered on 10/16/2021

How do you cope or what can I do when I’m feeling like an emotional burden to everyone around me.

Hello Lily,   Thank you so much for the question! Relationships can be very challenging, to say the least, and factoring in untreated mental illness can create even more challenges but thankfully nothing cannot be resolved or overcome.   One of the things I always inform my clients of is that our parents are our first teachers and teach us ultimately how to relate to the rest of the world. As a child, we model our parents’ behavior on a conscious and subconscious level then go out into the world and we further shape our personalities and the like. Self-reflection post-relationship is key as you will want to look at your patterns of dating as far as the type of person you find yourself gravitating towards and perhaps what red-flag behavior you might have missed along the way.   I would strongly recommend you take time out for yourself so you can reflect on what you want for yourself, out of life, and what you can do to reconnect with yourself. I have a caretaker personality by nature and find myself putting others first and myself last, then you may be suffering from burnout fatigue. One way to remedy this is through acts of self-care/attention/focus. After a break-up, time is needed to refresh, recharge and it would be a good idea to take a hiatus/ social media holiday to take full time for yourself to allow closure to manifest.   When you are spending time with your friends you want to be mindful of how much and how long you are discussing your ex as friends may begin to experience burnout from hearing conversations about your ex. I would encourage you to limit the time and conversations about your ex and then focus on cultivating and nurturing the friendships you have.    If you are going to be in regular communication with your ex, you may not be able to have a sense of closure but will absolutely need to set boundaries moving forward and holding them accountable for their actions.    Lastly, it is very nice of you to help your ex sort out his mental health and the like and that speaks to your values and character. Helping others is a wonderful thing to do and one of the best ways to help someone is by encouraging self-sufficiency so they can learn to empower themselves.   I wish you well!
(B.S., M.S., &, PsyD., Graduand, LMHC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

How do you deal with a fear of being alone?

First off, I am sorry to hear about the end of your relationship. It is always hard to lose someone we care about. I hope you give yourself some time to heal and maybe even grieve. It is not uncommon or even unhealthy for you to feel saddened by the loss of your partner. Many people are afraid of feeling that lost, but it is a part of being in a relationship. Perhaps, you could talk with a counselor about relationship grief and how it can impact you.  Second, it is not uncommon to be afraid of being alone. A lot of people are afraid of this for a multitude of reasons (i.e., poor relationship history from our families, trauma, lower self-esteem, uncertainty about how or what type of partners to choose, experiences with mood issues, or not certain how to deal with their own emotional issues). The most common this type of fear is simply having anxiety over what went wrong in the relationship. Many times, we take our experiences with bad behaviors (ours and theirs) into our next relationship and we have an expectation of the new partner to give us the same good feelings that we were lucky to experience from the relationship before them. We become afraid (or anxious) that we'd never be happy again, so we search out a new partner very quickly to ensure we are happy. Sometimes therapy is helpful in the in-between of relationships to help you understand how you can make yourself happy and help alleviate some of your fears about being alone.  Lastly, if you have a history of engaging in an "unhealthy spiral", it may be helpful for you to pursue counseling to know what those things are and how you can stop them before they begin. One of the most important things you should try to remember, both in and out of a relationship, is you need to be safe and sane. If engaging in "unhealthy" patterns reduces that for you then you should build skills to protect yourself and anyone else that you choose to be with. 
Answered on 10/16/2021

Why don’t I deserve the right guy

First, let's start by reframing your question.  It should read, "I haven't found the right guy that deserves me". You will find what you need and will get what you want. The biggest thing is that you are working on bettering yourself so when you better yourself, that doesn't always mean that everyone else is working on themselves. Therefore, their energy can be toxic and it is nothing you should settle for. I think the biggest question you need to ask yourself is do you love yourself? Are you able to recognize and appreciate the love you have around you or are you always comparing yourself to others? Because comparison is the death of joy. Can you just enjoy exploring who you are and the people that you meet? What type of guy are you hoping to attract? Also, why do you feel alone? Often we feel alone, undervalued, and not loved because we aren't happy with who we are. I would explore more about you, who are you outside of roles and titles. The other thing to consider is where are you looking to attract the person that you want to be with. Energy is important. If you are thinking and feeling negative then negative things will come. However, the more optimistic you are about your situation the better your outcomes. You have to change your mindset and have patience with yourself and with the universe. Your person is out there, you two just haven't discovered each other yet.  So please don't harbor any anger, jealously, or envy because that blocks people from seeing the true you. Lastly, wait! Sometimes we get so consumed in looking that we don't enjoy the time of just sitting still and loving ourselves.  The more you love you the better you will be able to tell the other person how to love you. Show yourself some grace! People come into our lives for reasons and seasons.  Start to outline what you have learned from these past relationships. Do you have a dating pattern? With each one what did you learn about yourself? Also, ask yourself why are you so uncomfortable with rejection? 
Answered on 10/16/2021

How do I stand up to people who hurt me and still love myself?

This is such a great question and one that is so critical for social and relational development. I see that you are able to recognize when people aren't treating you in a way that fosters a healthy connection with them and that is actually the 1st step: recognizing when your expectations arent being met. That is so critical.  I wonder if the difficulty with "putting people in their place" is due to your thoughts about where they will go? Validation seeking typically is caused by a lack of confidence that the people that you care about will still care about you enough to stay in your life after a situation of potential conflict. That need to have a relationship is normal because we ALL need love and acceptance. It becomes harmful when that need puts us in the position to be harmed or otherwise disrespected. Healthy relationships are the ones that heal us and teach us, but that also respect and accept us; whether we completely agree or not.  I might also take a look at how you were raised. Only because, there can be many indicators there to show us how this need took its shape. What experiences did you have? How were you parented? What did those relationships look like? What were your early dating experiences? All of these answers can help shape the path that causes this thinking that you are experiencing now to take its current form.  Lastly, determine for yourself what you want and need in a friendship. What does that need to look like for you to feel healthy, supported, and cared for? It may be difficult to hold someone accountable to a standard that you haven't even created for yourself. Once you are able to determine what you need that to look like, you can lovingly redirect those in your life that have meaning so that you advocate for yourself but also preserve the integrity of those relationships that mean so much to you to begin with. I hope that makes sense.  For some of these things, I recommend actually speaking to a counselor in order to uncover and resolve any of the long-standing issues that may have come from your past. Then you will be much more equipped to work through the challenges that come with developing a healthy mindset to go into these relationships. Good luck to you moving forward. Take care! 😊
(MAMFT, LPC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

My husband left me one month ago, how do I get over this trauma?

Hello Betrayed,  I imagine, by the chosen pseudonym, that there is a deep wound that occurred in the relationship that caused the separation between you and your husband. I want to assure you that the mixed emotions you are feeling (regarding wanting him back but not wanting that and in fact wanting to learn how to get over him) are quite common after the loss of a breakup. This is further complicated by the fact that you share children together.    Give yourself space to fully experience all of these emotions and complicated thoughts, and if you need a place to express your thoughts about the breakup and lingering feelings a trained mental health counselor, like those on BetterHelp, can be a great support.    I know your primary question is centered around how to get over the loss of the separation. Getting over separation and/or divorce is a process of transition that you must go through. It is similar to the grieving process that you go through when someone close to you dies or if you experience any other sort of loss. You have to be able to grieve, embrace the hurting, accept the situation, heal from the pain, and lastly be able to move on with your independent life.  There are usually four phases that people go through when moving on from separation/divorce:    Shock And Denial  Anger  Acceptance and Healing  Moving On      So what does moving on after divorce look like? It is truly different for everyone, but as a general rule, you have moved on from divorce when you have finished grieving, accepted the situation, and begun to rebuild your life on your own.  Allow yourself to experience whatever it is you are thinking and feeling. Don't fight it. Allowing yourself to feel what you need to feel will help you progress through the grief stages and ultimately heal from the loss.   Again, if you need help working through the grief, talking with a trained mental health professional can help. You do not have to go through this alone and I encourage you to talk about what you are feeling. I wish you well in whatever you decide today. Take care.
(MSW, LCSW, CADC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

Am I an unforgiving person?

Dear Moringa,   Thank you for your message and for sharing with me the struggles you're experiencing in your relationship, resulting in not being able to trust.   Trust is a word we hear a lot. Recently I heard a story on the radio about investment fraud In which one of the victims of the fraud said, "I'll never trust anyone again." A strong statement about trust and one worth exploring.   What is trust anyway? The definitions of trust indicate that trust in another person imposes upon him a duty of care that asks him to be someone we can rely upon to do what we have asked of him. It seems straightforward to understand when we read it, but what happens when we examine the way trust works? Trust requires a relationship between two people, and all relationships are complex.   As we experience relationships, we come to realize that in a relationship, two people never fully know one another or can expect that the other person will do exactly what we want to have done. This is particularly true if we ourselves are not certain what we want and need or how to ask for it.   Where do we learn to know what to expect of our relationships? To know how to relate to another person we start with knowing the only person we can really know, ourselves. If we want to trust someone else, we begin with first learning who we are, what we want, and what we know about ourselves as we grow and change. We explore our strengths, boundaries, and limitations. Knowing who we are and what we are capable of, we learn how to trust ourselves.   One of the key approaches in our work here is to help folks who are sensitive to go from feeling vulnerable in their sensitivity to feeling powerful in their sensitivity. We may not be able to change how easily we feel sensitive about things due to our past experiences and traumas, however, we can continue to practice making choices that would empower ourselves even when we feel sensitive.   When we are able to create this "inner peace" within us and feel grounded, we will see ourselves being more capable to take care of others, because we have taken care of ourselves. We'll go through this process together. :)   One of the keys to making that transition is to start feeling safe & comfortable in your body and to create that safety for yourself wherever you go.   Situations that can trigger a feeling of unsafety   When we are sensitive, many situations can trigger a feeling of unsafety. For example, we can feel unsafe when:   We feel judged and/or rejected   Our finances are unstable   We feel a conflict between people (even when it’s not about us)   A situation reminds you of an earlier situation that felt unpleasant or unsafe   We get ‘triggered’ and our old wounds/hurts to come to the surface   We feel threatened by our surroundings/environments that remind us of our past   You can even run your life in a default setting of feeling ‘unsafe’ just because of all the energies you feel around you.   The result is that you leave your grounding and that you feel unstable, worried, uncomfortable, and out of balance. You move from your heart back into your head.   How can we feel safer?   Feeling safe is partly an inside job and partly an outside job. If you are in an environment that just isn’t right for you, where you don’t fit in and don’t feel a connection with people, it will be hard to feel safe and comfortable there.   This is not as easy as it looks.   In the context of our everyday activities and familiar circumstances, we may assume we have done this and already know ourselves. We may apply labels to ourselves and say we are “fierce” or “shy” or “lazy”, but labels do not invite knowing. They make categories. Do we actually know ourselves? Unfortunately not much may challenge our assumptions about ourselves until a major shift in our lives comes along. Then in the face of a significant change, we may understand we have not looked as closely as we might.   If the change is physical, we may begin to look deeply at our physical patterns of expression for the first time. We may have been unconscious of the ways in which our movement patterns, strengths, and weaknesses are unique. Now we ask: How do I get things done? What are my strengths and limitations? How do my strengths work with my unique movement patterns? How will I negotiate around my limitations?   If we don't know what to expect of ourselves, it can be very hard to trust the people helping us. After a sudden change in our physical abilities, we may feel deeply invaded. We all have boundaries - places where we feel vulnerable and want to keep ourselves separate from someone else. Where are our boundaries, and how do we protect ourselves if we cannot walk away? This is vital to discover at a time when we may need assistance in ways we have never needed it before and would prefer not to admit this need.   If we have a financial problem we may look at the decisions that led to the problem and judge ourselves harshly for making a mistake - not remembering that hindsight is 20/20. We may not realize that there were things we assumed and didn’t challenge or examine or learn that we had better learn now. Being critical of ourselves, we may be reluctant to look at our actions clearly and learn from them.   Building trust in ourselves requires us first to look closely at ourselves, being honest about what we discover. Then we must practice compassion for and acceptance of the person we are discovering ourselves to be. Being willing to know is not the same as harshly judging. Harsh judgments close us off to ourselves. Compassion, forgiveness, and acceptance open us up and allow us to learn.   If we know and accept our limitations without fighting that knowledge, we can learn to communicate what we know and don't know about what we can and cannot do. We come to understand that everybody has limitations. We see that we and our relationships are always transforming - never remaining static – giving us endless opportunities to keep on learning.   Building a relationship with another person is done a step at a time as we explore the ways we can interact and care for one another. When we know ourselves, we do not expect that simply because someone is an expert, she knows what is best for us. She will know many things we do not know and will have much to teach us, but she doesn’t know us. We are the only ones who can have that specialized knowledge. In a relationship, each person can regularly communicate what he knows to the other and both can learn where to trust the other. Perhaps that also goes with building relationships with ourselves and our inner being?   Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/16/2021

How can I earn my trust in people back?

Dear Eru,   Thank you for your message.   Like what you've said, what you have witnessed and experienced in the past most likely conditioned you to avoid all emotions and to disassociate from those situations so that you could function and survive, by doing so perhaps we have learned to suppress most if not all unpleasant emotions. We have done the opposite from what we should be doing, to understand and accept all emotions without judgment. Yet you're not the one to be blamed for that, your brain did what she thought was the right thing to do to keep you alive, by protecting you from these unpleasant emotions because she thought they would harm you.   After all, we are all humans, and sometimes I say to myself that since I'm a human I might as well learn to live as a human, which means not to force myself against my feelings, rather learn to float and accept all of the experiences as I go through in life.   According to recent psychological researches, one of the main causes of many psychological problems is the habit of emotional avoidance. This may seem surprising because the attempt to avoid negative emotions appears to be a reasonable thing. After all, negative emotions don't feel good, and they are often linked in our minds to negative events that we want to avoid or forget. Moreover, we are all familiar with the momentary relief that avoidance can provide. If the thought of speaking up upsets me, then I can make myself feel better by deciding not to speak. Indeed, avoidance is an effective solution in the short term. Long term, however, it becomes a bigger problem than whatever was being avoided in the first place. And life, if you're at all lucky, is a long-term proposition.   Avoiding a negative emotion buys you short-term gain at the price of long-term pain. When we avoid the short-term discomfort of negative emotion, we resemble the person who under stress decides to drink. It ‘works,' and the next day, when bad feelings come, he drinks again. So far so good, short-term. In the long run, however, that person will develop a bigger problem (addiction), in addition to the unresolved issues he had avoided by drinking.   However, there are several reasons why emotional avoidance could be harmful.   First, as we all know and experience, important goals, and pursuits in your life may inherently involve going through some challenging times and situations, and an unwillingness to ‘pay the toll' for the trip may narrow your life horizons needlessly. Over time, avoidance becomes a prison, because after a while you begin to feel the need to avoid many situations, people, experiences, and places that may bring the negative emotion to mind, stir it, or remind you of it. And the more you avoid, the weaker you feel, the more your coping skills diminish, and the less of life you can experience.   Meanwhile, attempts at avoiding negative emotions are usually futile. Telling yourself that a certain emotion is intolerable or dangerous traps you in constant vigilance regarding the very thing you're trying to avoid. You become hyper-vigilant about any possibility of this feeling arising. The fear of the impending negative experience becomes a negative experience in itself.   Plus, emotional avoidance often involves denying the truth--not a good foundation for a healthy life. It's like someone who looks out the window, sees snow falling, and then tells himself: "it can't be snowing." Clearly, it can, and it is. Granted, you may not like snow. But denying the fact that it's snowing is unlikely to solve the problems posed by snow.   Also, avoidance lengthens the period of anticipation, and anticipatory anxiety is usually a much more noxious condition than the actual situation being anticipated. This is mainly because when you anticipate, your imagination is unbounded by actual situational demands. You can go anywhere in your head regarding something that hasn't happened yet, and so you'll often go wild with negative, catastrophic scenarios. In contrast, once actually in the feared situation, your mind becomes bounded by the parameters of what is happening around you. And what is actually happening is usually less than spectacular or catastrophic. Real catastrophes are, after all, really rare. Reality generates many fewer extreme situations than the unbounded imagination.   Now, before we discuss a more healthy way to handle negative emotions, we need to understand the function of emotions in general. You can think of your emotions as a source of information. Your emotions tell you something about what's going on with you and around you. Emotions, however, are not the only source of information available to you. You also have your rational thoughts, your stored knowledge, and experience, your values, and your goals. Information provided by emotions needs to be appraised and evaluated in light of these other sources in order for you to decide how to behave in the situation.   Regardless of our emotions, we always have choices of action. Our decision will depend on synthesizing knowledge from many sources. For example, if you and your child are approached by a wild dog while on a nature hike, you may feel fear, and with it a desire to flee, but decide to stay and fight the dog to protect your child. In this case, your values ("I have a duty to protect my child") dictated that you ‘disobey' your fear. Emotions, when viewed as part of a spectrum of available sources of information, are a bit like the weather report. They are important to know, consider, and understand, but they are not necessarily the overriding factor in your life plans.    When the weather is bad (not to your liking), it doesn't mean you have to deny it, focus all your attention on it, or cancel your plans because of it. What you need to do is accept the weather and adjust your plans accordingly. If my goal today is to pick my son up from daycare at 4:00, and it's suddenly snowing, and I don't like snow, I will not waste my energy raging at the sky, nor will I leave my son stranded. I will put on a parka, leave home 15 minutes earlier and drive carefully to get him.   As a human being, we are going to have all kinds of emotions, just like there are all kinds of weather. These emotions are, more than anything else, just a part of being a living human being. By accepting your emotional life, we are affirming our full humanity. Emotional acceptance is thus a far better strategy than avoidance.   Emotional acceptance refers to the willingness and ability to accept and experience the negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it. Acceptance offers several advantages. First, by accepting your emotions, you are accepting the truth of your situation (it is snowing). This acceptance means that you don't have to spend your energy pushing the emotion away. Instead, once the emotion is acknowledged, you can then turn to pursue the behaviors that are aligned with your goals and values.   Second, when you accept the emotion, you are giving yourself a chance to learn about it, become familiar with it, become skilled in its management, and integrate it into your life. Avoidance doesn't teach you that, because you can't learn to do something by not doing it.   Third, acceptance is implicitly akin to saying, "This is not that bad." Which is the truth--negative emotions may not be fun, but they won't kill you; experiencing them as they are--annoying but not dangerous--is eventually much less of a drag than the ongoing (failing) attempt to avoid them.   Finally, when you accept a negative emotion, it tends to lose its destructive power. This is surprising and counterintuitive to many people, but if you think about it for a while, you will see the logic of this approach.    Looking forward to talking with you more, Jono
(MSW, LICSW, LMHC)
Answered on 10/16/2021