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Only just beginning to realise how broken I am

(8 Posts)
LIttleTripToHeaven Sat 08-Oct-16 10:48:05

I've posted before about the relationship I had with my mother/parents growing up and the impact it's having on me as an adult. My mother was EA to me and my dad. My brother was golden child. My dad was PA to me alone under the strain of the EA of my mother and because he didn't know any better.

My mother told me I was worthless and unlovable and all the reasons why. And I am. She used to tell me all the things about me that would mean no one would ever want or love me. They became my beliefs and I accepted she was right. So I only ever dated dysfunctional men. I didn't feel I had the right to screw up a 'decent' man's life and I didn't feel I could genuinely attract one. On the rare occasions a decent man showed any interest, I felt guilty that I'd misled them about my worth, or thought they were taking the piss/looking for something casual with a woman who didn't matter, and rejected them. I did become attached at times, but I didn't fall in love and I didn't expect to be loved in return. As long as I could find someone who tolerated my company and wanted to fuck me, I felt that was as good as I was ever going to get.

Life went on, I thought I was improving and I met someone I believed was almost a decent man. I'm now 4 years out of an emotionally and financially and sometimes physically abusive marriage. I knew he didn't love me when we married but I thought that if my mother thought someone loved me, she might start to think I was worth something after all. It didn't work. I'm single.

Out of nowhere and very unexpectedly, I had a brief blossoming 'something' with a man I have known for a while this year. It started around last Christmas and it went cold very quickly over one weekend in the summer. It never moved out of the "something there that wasn't there before" stage for a number of reasons, but there was definitely something there. He is a good and decent man. It feels very much like he had a wake up call and thought, "wtf am I doing!" when he'd spent more time with me and realised what I'm 'really' like. He has also seen my lack of worth. And I feel hugely ashamed and heartbroken that I am not good enough.

It's just destroyed me. I hadn't put any expectations on him, I don't really work like that but, for the first time in my life, an intelligent, attractive, successful man, the sort of man I think I probably should want, was showing an interest and I was able to reciprocate. And other people could see it too. And now I feel that he has seen the real me and I have plummeted so far down in terms of how I feel about myself that the depths of sadness/lack of worth and value I felt before feel like shallow waters now.

My friend is cross and tells me I have rewritten the experience I had with him, but it is what it is. She tells me I should take the positives from it, but I really can't find any. She tells me I should take what I have learnt about myself from it, but I have only learnt that I was right all along. I feel foolish and cross with myself for allowing myself to believe that his feelings could ever have been genuine. I don't want to see him again, which is causing me problems because he is part of of my social group and, although we don't get together often, with the Christmas period approaching, I don't want to see him so I'm already turning things down. My friend thinks I should take time getting to know myself and finding things I like about myself. I agree, but there is nothing. I really can't think of a single thing. She also thinks I should take the compliments people give me to help me and not twist them into something bad in my head and use these to help me. But I don't receive compliments. She says I do and that I just don't hear/accept them. But I have wracked my brains and replayed entire conversations/evenings and I still can't remember a single thing that might have been a compliment.

I am weary. I was brought up without love. I am living my adult life without love. It hurts. It is physically painful every day. I drive to and from work in tears. I went to a friends house last night and when I got there, I spent 5 mins in the car with tears pouring down my face and my heart breaking. I couldn't go in until it had stopped and it wasn't noticeable anymore. Then I put on a smile and carried on as 'normal'. I hide it but the emptiness, sadness, knowledge I'm unlovable and the loneliness physically hurts.

I don't know what I want from this. I can't afford therapy. I've looked into it and it's not something I can do. I can't go on knowing that this is never going to get any better.

hermionesheldonawinchester Sat 08-Oct-16 11:07:56

I can't read and run, your story is similar to mine. I feel much as you do, but I can guarantee you are not worthless and definitely not unlovable.
For what you have been through, you may feel crushed, but the fact you get up everyday shows strength in volumes. If you cannot afford counselling, perhaps you could see your gp and get a referral? Or try calling the free service at

hermionesheldonawinchester Sat 08-Oct-16 11:11:05

Posted too soon!
Even if it's something very minutely small, congratulate yourself for an achievement every single day. It's no small victory to put a smile on your face when feeling the way you do, so well done, be proud that you have strength. You can and will get through this, I know it's easier said than done, but look for the positives flowers

LIttleTripToHeaven Sat 08-Oct-16 11:33:40

That's the thing though, I can't see the positives anymore. It feels like all the drinking tea in the garden at sunrise and having a candlelit bath in a quiet house and curling up on the sofa with a cup of tea and a book getting into a bed with fresh sheets etc that I have been doing, and am still doing, are lovely, but are weak and feeble substitutes for actually being worth something.

I have been referred by the GP, but they only refer for CBT which isn't appropriate or put you in touch with services for self referral but they are 'counselling' rather than therapy and not indepth enough.

I have spoken with someone who knows her stuff she recommended exploratory psychotherapy and even gave me some names. But I can't afford it. I've looked into it.

The issue is that I am unlovable now. I can accept that I might not have been born that way, and even that if I had not believed I was unlovable my whole life, that I might not be now. But I have become that way. I can see other people around me who are loved and have plenty of friends. I know that these aren't perfect people, but people love them despite that. They have friends, partners and are loved despite that. I don't know how to love or be loved. I wouldn't trust someone who said that they loved me (whatever the nature of the relationship).

On one level, I've shut it all down and almost accepted it, but deep inside it's breaking me.

AttilaTheMeerkat Sat 08-Oct-16 11:45:41


BACP are good and do not charge the earth. Please seek out a therapist from them.

You feel unloveable because your parents, particularly your mother treated you that way. You are not unloveable at all but this toxic crap you have absorbed sticks and you need to unlearn all the damaging stuff your parents taught you about relationships along the way. Small wonder therefore you ended up with dysfunctional men, that is one of many damaging lessons your parents taught you about relationships. I would also suggest you enrol on Womens Aid Freedom Programme as that is specifically for people who have been in abusive relationships.

It is not your fault this happened to you, it all lies with them. You did not make them this way, their own families did that lot of damage to them because their parents treated them the same.

Do read the "well we took you to Stately Homes" thread on these relationship pages and post there too. Reading "Toxic Parents" by Susan Forward could also help you as well.

hermionesheldonawinchester Sat 08-Oct-16 11:46:21

Have you considered the free online chat service with Relate? They do singles counselling too, to help build confidence, self worth and a positive attitude to approaching dating. I really do feel for you, I'm sorry I can't tell you how absolutely valuable you are as a person x

LIttleTripToHeaven Sat 08-Oct-16 12:02:07

hermione I appreciate what you're saying, but I've had 'counselling' before. It's not enough. I've been told I need someone who has the skills to help dismantle me, clear out all the shit and begin to help me to reassemble and become a proper person.

I've had so many different types of 'counselling' over the years. Some have been more useful than others, and all have given me some quite useful tools for managing ordinary issues that arise in daily life, but it's all been very superficial. And none of it has been resilient enough against my internal narratives.

The thing is, and this isn't personal against you of course! I feel myself getting quite cross when people say things like, "you are valuable" and "you are lovable, even people who have done awful things have been loved by someone". They are just words and things that people say. It's not true. There is nothing lovable or attractive about me. And I mean generally, not in terms of being attractive to a man.

Attila Things my mother said about me were true. It might not have been very kind of her to say them, but she wasn't inaccurate in the things she said. The physical/character/personality flaws are all there. They are real. Which means other people can see them too. They are not qualities that would be attractive in the eyes of the beholder and all that either. Nor are they things I want someone to overlook and like me "in spite of". I don't want anyone in my life who has to settle for me. This is what I struggle with the most.

I keep everyone at arms length. I feel shame at who I am, guilty for taking up their time and resources and embarrassed in case they think I don't realise what I am.

SleepyHay Sat 08-Oct-16 14:54:30

Little, do you know how you would like your life to be? Can you envision seeing yourself as having some worth?
Beliefs we have about ourselves and the world in general which are formed during childhood can be difficult to change. Imagine if you witnessed any child being spoken to the way your mother spoke to you. Would you immediately blame the child for being unlovable or the parent for being an arsehole?
These aren't necessarily things you can answer now but worth thinking about.
Sometimes it's easier to get a clearer picture of a situation to look at it as if you were a third person.
Like pp have said it sounds like you need further help in RL. I'm not an expert at what would be best for you. I personally found a mixture of counselling, CBT and reading as much as possible about the damage toxic parents cause helpful.
Hope you can start to find a way forward x

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