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Dear Cynthia... > Breakup
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1 post
Jan 22, 2010
9:15 AM
Hi Cynthia,

I stumbled across your website while looking up the stages of the grieving process.

Since middle school I've done things to self-destruct. I'm a huge procrastinator, I blow up spontaneously at those who love me the most, and am convinced that life is a constant struggle so there really is no point in "making the best of it." Since I believe that about life I've tried committing suicide once and popping painkillers when I'm down is something I've done since I was thirteen.

About a week ago, my boyfriend of almost two years and I broke up. He's the first person I've ever really let in since I was raped in middle school and like I feared, he hurt me in the worst possible way. He was a compulsive liar and turned out to be someone I shouldn't have trusted. I know deep down that I'm better off without him, but I can't help but to pick at myself and think of how I could have been more perfect so he wouldn't have said the things he said and done the things he did.

I have a huge issue with trust so I know that a lot of what I do is to keep people at a distance. But whenever someone exists stage left out of my life, I feel betrayed, hurt, and then later I regret my actions. My biggest fear is growing old and alone and with nothing to show for all my struggles. But I can't stop going through the same self-destruction routine over and over again. I'm in college and have failed all three semesters. With the three strikes rule, this is my last semester to prove to the board that I should stay in school, but with the breakup it feels impossible.

269 posts
Jan 22, 2010
1:09 PM
First of all, try to suspend your belief that you do things to self-destruct, and assume that everything you do is to deal the best you can with what you've been given.

Are you or can you see a therapist? There are quite a few pieces to your story, and I can't do them justice here. With a good therapist, you could untangle all of this and hopefully get to a point where you are dealing with challenges in ways that make you the person you really are and want to be.

What is keeping you in school? Is there anything you like about it? Would it be better to withdraw now rather than wait to be kicked out? Is there something you'd rather be doing? Do you know what's keeping you from getting higher grades?

It seems that self-hate is central to your life and probably causing much of the other challenges you face. It is important to get to the root of that self-hate and work on turning it into self-forgiveness and compassion. I know this might sound impossible now, but people really do accomplish this in therapy.

If I were you, I would stick to finding and keeping friends rather than bfs until you've worked through some of this. Even with friends, listen to what people you do trust say about them. If you find several people are warning you against being in any kind of relationship with someone, this is a big red flag--don't ignore it. In time you can learn how to figure out who to trust, how much, and who not to trust.

I have been in that place of despair and suffering, so I totally get what you're saying about the "constant struggle." One thing that helped me was writing a suicide note, or planning to kill myself in six months or some other time period. These were exercises; I knew I couldn't actually kill myself. But when I looked at life as if I were, I could see what I did value and want in life, and used it as a comfort, and a guide toward changes I needed to make.

Keep in touch, and let us know what you decide to do.


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Email: CynthiaLubow@yahoo.com 

 Cynthia W. Lubow, MFT

 For 30 years, compassionately helping people build self-confidence and feel happier.

 San Francisco East Bay Area Therapist

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