Q: I am madly in love with my ex-therapist. This is not transference; I truly love her! I never had the chance to tell her, and now we no longer talk to one another. This has and is still bothering me. I can’t stop thinking about her, and it is killing me inside everyday! I wanted to tell her back then during sessions, but was afraid to, and now I will never have the opportunity to ever tell her. This is not healthy…what should I do? (28 year old female)
Q:All my life, I have never been able to do what i like to do for the fear of being judged by other people. It has come to such a point that I cannot think for myself; it always has to be “if I do this, what will others think?”I have good friends who keep advising me to be more social, but my fear gets the better of me. I haven’t had a serious relationship in a long time. I am scared if that if I keep being such an introvert, I’ll end up with no life. I have lost all sense of emotions in the last few months and am becoming desperate for companionship and just to be accepted.
A: Thank you for writing in. I wish I could talk to you to clarify how long this has been going on. I do have a few thoughts, though. You may have developed social phobia or another form of anxiety disorder. What you’re describing sounds like more than just simply being introverted. I really think you should get some help from a professional. Watch the video for the rest of this answer.
Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW
Q: How do I open up to my therapist? I am constantly worried that he might think I’m trying to get attention. I have an eating disorder, and I’m slightly overweight (according to my BMI). I’m just not able to be truly open and honest. He really is a great therapist, and I have a deeper connection with him than most others in my life. I have these feelings outside of therapy, but when I go in, I put on a face that everything is ok. How do I work on this to communicate better?
A: Great question! The emotional pattern of guarding your feelings is likely part of the reason you’re in therapy in the first place. I think the first step is to tell you’re therapist that you’re having a hard time opening up! Watch the video for complete answer.
Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW
Q: I need help on this issue. I feel myself getting jealous all the time with my husband, and I don’t want to be like that. My last relationships were a disaster. My kids’ father cheated on me our whole 15-year relationship; I didn’t know he was cheating until towards the end. Then my next relationship, he went to Florida and brought someone back with him and they started living together right away. That was a 3-year relationship I had with him. I always think my husband is cheating on me or talking to someone. It’s like I don’t want him going anywhere without me. I love him, and I don’t want to be like that with him. He’s never given me a reason to think this. Please help me.
A: While it’s common for unresolved hurt from past betrayal to bring out insecurities in a current relationship, ironically, it may end up pushing your husband away if you don’t resolve your past hurts. When you bring up your jealousy with your husband, make sure that you own that it is your past, not him, that is the problem. Please meet with a therapist to address the underlying emotions that are feeding your jealousy and lack of trust. Thanks so much for writing in. Watch the video to hear my complete answer.
Take good care of yourself and your relationship!
Q:I’ve come to realize for the last fifteen years that I have no self esteem, and I try to accomplish tasks that are far too difficult to make me feel slightly okay and keep myself non-suicidal. And when I fail, I feel so terrible; like I want to die.
I’m not a suicidal person. I’m not, I just have issues with my self-esteem. I have had problems with bullying for many, many years, and only have friends over the internet, not in real life. This has resulted in my low self-esteem, I think.
To make myself get through a day and feel half decent, I try to accomplish a task. However, when I fail at this task, I feel completely worthless. My family doesn’t care, and I don’t have anyone to turn to on this matter. Can you please help me?
A: I am so sorry to hear of your pain over the last 15 years. If you’ve been bullied for years it makes sense that your self-esteem would become very fragile. I suggest that you get into therapy, particularly group therapy, to start expanding your relationships and learn how to trust. Please take a few minutes to watch the rest of my response in the video below…
Take good care of yourself!
Julie Hanks, LCSW
Q: I saw my grandfather die when I was young, and it was very painful because he was like a dad to me. Ever since my grandfather’s death, I’ve been having trouble maintaining my relationship with others, whether it’s friends or family members. I try to distant myself away from them in fear of getting hurt again. I have trouble letting people in my life and tend to disassociate myself from being involved in a romantic relationship with anyone. As a result, I can’t truly love or care for anyone. Although thinking about my grandfather made me very feel sad and depressed at first, now I’m not as sad as I used to be, and I feel guilty for not being sad and I would force myself to think about his death over and over again and make myself feel bad and cry myself to sleep. I also feel pressured by my parents to do well in school and life, and it’s almost as if I’m letting them down and becoming that worthless and useless person I was when I stood there and watched my grandfather die. Whenever I feel useless and think I’m such a failure or that I might not live up to other’s expectations, I want to die. I have suicidal thoughts almost everyday and wish I were dead but never actually thought of committing a suicide. I also feel irritated very often recently and just want to be left alone. I gave up or got bored of things I used to love doing. This is ruining my life, and I think I seriously need help.
Q: Well I’m 19, but I don’t feel 19. I have so many things going on in my life that it’s hard to keep up with everything. I’m a full time worker, a full time student and a part time gym rat. I’m also in a relationship. There is no time in the day for me to do anything and everything I do always feels rushed. Even though I’m interacting with my coworkers, friends, or girlfriend during the day, I feel empty and numb to it all, like everything is just an act. As far as feelings go, like I said, I’m numb. I feel as if my best friend or mother could die and I wouldn’t care, and I feel as though to a certain extent that I don’t care even for my girlfriend. But on the flip side, I don’t want to be alone. It scares me to think that me and my girlfriend would breakup. I laugh and joke but don’t know why I do. I really want to know what’s wrong with me because I was never like this before. Or if I was, it was deep down and is now just surfacing and I can’t handle it. I WANT TO BE HAPPY AGAIN.
Q: I hate myself and I don’t know why. How do I learn to love myself? Even though I believe I’m a daughter of God, I feel like believing and knowing is different than feeling. I don’t FEEL like that. I have urges to cut myself and sometimes give in, and I make myself throw up off and on. I hate being like this. I was sexually abused by a family friend for about six years. Even though he stopped when I got older, I never said anything to anyone. I feel like this might contribute to my feelings of hatred toward myself. Sometimes, I even think that my life has no purpose and that the world would be better off without me. I hate myself for doing things like spending money on a nice haircut. Every time I treat myself nice, even if it’s something like a bubble bath or chewing a stick of gum, I feel guilty. I treat other people well. I give people more energy than I have and it’s not fair to them or me. I know that if I treat myself better, I’ll have more energy to not only give to myself, but to others too. However, every time I try to do this, I end up cutting or throwing up because the urge to do so is overwhelming. How do I learn to treat myself well? What is your advice? Is there something I can do without therapy? I don’t have a lot of money and am out of a job.
Q: Simply put, I’m very lonely. I should be happy. I just graduated college and starting my masters’ degree. I own my own home. I have a job. I’m very fit. I try to do things that are social, but most of the things I do are by myself because I don’t have friends. I’ve always had a boyfriend, and finally realized that they were a crutch, so I’ve been single for the past 2 years and concentrated on myself and my education. But being alone night after night and not having anyone to do things with is terrible. I’m considerate and friendly, but I just don’t know how to find friends. Seems like I’ve even lost my mojo in dating. I don’t feel like the person I used to be, and maybe I’m not anymore in a good way, but I can’t figure out why I don’t have any friends and am living a solitary life. It’s so lonely. What can I do?
I was with my ex for only a few months, but as far as I was concerned it was a serious relationship. Towards the beginning of our relationship we discussed various issues which we both had – he had been sexually abused as a young child, and I had been sexually assaulted only a year before I met him. We discussed these issues and how they affected us in terms of our relationships with other people. I realise it sounds naive, but I fell in love with him and would have done anything to help him. He confided in me that he was in a substantial amount of debt and was constantly worried that his house and possessions would be repossessed etc., and despite the fact that I am a student and have very little money to myself, I had a part-time job (while he was unable to find a job) and lent him around £1000. He always swore that he would pay this money back, but after splitting up with me he decided that he wouldn’t. Legally, I can’t do anything about this because neither of us signed any kind of contract.