Katheleen from Des Moines, Iowa asks:
I can’t trust men, and I block any man who even mentions wanting to go out on a date with me. I’m to the point where I don’t even look at men as being attractive anymore. I have had three failed marriages. I have been divorced for ten years, and have only dated two men since. These five relationships all ended due to them having affairs with their ex-wives and left me for them—with the exception of my husband of eighteen years, that was with a man.
I’m lonely, and feel like I want a man in my life, but I do everything to sabotage anything that may look like it could lead into a relationship, and I’m also jealous of any other woman involved with or who shows any kind of attention towards the man I’m interested in.
I feel these are battle wounds of failed love, deceit, betrayal and the mental abuse created through such relationships. I don’t trust women as far as I can throw my house, and I look at them as the threat they are. I’m afraid to try to have a relationship because of my distrust for men and woman. I don’t feel counseling would help such deep rooted pain, distrust and depression. How can I get past this?
Psychic Red ext. 9226 Responds:
You’ve been through a lot. Naturally, your experiences have left some pretty sensitive scars which impacts your decisions and reactions to both men and women. However, you need to decide if you want to be a victim of your past, or a survivor who chooses to leave the past behind her and overcome her bitterness and fears.
You can get past your pain, distrust and depression—if you decide that is what you really want to do. It won’t be easy, and you will have to accept some painful truths about yourself and your history. It will be a tough process, but if you are determined, you can emerge a stronger, happier and more balanced you.
You may not think counseling will help, but the truth is, it would. I’m not saying that it will be an easy or always pleasant experience for you, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider it. You can struggle to overcome your challenges on your own, but seeking outside help not only would give you guidance and clarity, but it also would be a huge statement of your dedication to improve yourself and your circumstances, and would be like taking a leap of faith in re-learning how to trust. To benefit from counseling you have to be open to sharing your thoughts and feelings, open to feedback which may not always be what you want to hear, and open to trusting another human being with your secrets, hopes and fears. Your fear of being vulnerable (and you would be vulnerable, if you chose the path of counseling), is one of the reasons you have yourself fairly convinced counseling isn’t for you, even though you do want to release some baggage and crave companionship.
Don’t let your past dictate your future, because your holding onto all that negative stuff is what has fed your ability to create your current fortress of “safety,” which you’re discovering is a lonely place to be. Instead, work on releasing the pain and anguish you carry inside, and learn how to be the master of your jealousy.
Whether you decide to get help or go at it alone, it is solely your choice. You have options, and you have some control over how hard and how long your personal healing road is. What you can’t control is other people. Relationships, whether they are friendship or romantic, will always have risks. Unhappy and unfulfilled people tend to stray, and women—and men—of certain personalities will disrespect and betray you or anyone else who gets in the way of what they want. But there are people in this world who are worth the risks, and who won’t fail you or betray you. And, if you allow yourself to heal, to grow and to trust yourself once again, not only will you learn how to better navigate your relationships toward success rather than failure, but you will also find that there are people worthy of trusting… and loving.
Your life, and your future, will open and evolve as much or as little as you let it. I have faith in you. Faith that you will find the strength to allow yourself to overcome your past and the damage that is has caused you, and cautiously open yourself to loving and being loved. Do you?
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