Thursday, October 08, 2009

You Can Change Your Life

Dear Terry:

At 18 I had a love at first sight relationship, and we were great friends, but after two years on-and-off, we ended it. I had a few fun relationships in my early 20s, but then some disastrous abusive relationships. I chose to return to university for fulfillment and achievement. However a number of factors led to a nervous breakdown, and I moved back in with my parents.

My father was repressive and domineering, and my self-esteem and sense of independence were shattered. In my mid-30s I returned again to university to earn a Masters Degree. However, my efforts have been impeded by homelessness, financial bankruptcy, and abusive and repressive attitudes when I should have been able to celebrate my achievements. As a result, my 30s were ruined because I was trying to survive. I was not free to enjoy supportive relationships or to have children.

Most of my male friends disappeared, and I miss those friendships. Not to mention the fact that I want a real relationship.

While working on my MA , I had an awesome encounter with a man I used to work closely with. We have met since, but he is married and lives on another continent. My emotions are in turmoil.

I have just turned 40, and only three friends wished me a happy birthday, although they are all aware I require some support. I don't actually meet men I like, as the situation has been too stressful, and I've had to put all my energy into finding accommodation and living expenses.

Any advice?

-Want a Fresh Start

Dear Fresh Start-

I edited your letter for clarity and hope I've done a decent job of it.

I have to get this out of the way: I am not a licensed health professional. I do suggest you get the name of a good, supportive, caring therapist whose goal is to help you move on with your life as soon as possible.

Since you know you struggle with self-esteem issues (which lead to all sorts of other issues, including the loss of friends, getting involved in bad relationships, and other self-destructive behavior), I suggest you take out of the library You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay. It's an effective, easy-to-digest book that's helped many people (you might also be able to borrow the DVD by the same name; it's good, too).

As far as your friends go, I do not know how you've treated them, or even if they were really friends or just acquaintances, but one of the most powerful things we can do when we feel lonely and abandoned is to be a friend to someone else. There is a human being out there who needs a friend even more than you do.

Can you find the time to be a friend to someone else? If you can, it will do wonders for your self-esteem. It may also lead to wonderful opportunities.

As for the man with the wife on another continent, the encounter may have been awesome, but how much time would you really want to spend with an individual who cheats on his wife? I mean, if you were married, would you want your husband to cheat on you?

I don't care how bad things look right now. You can do better than a man who cheats on his wife.

Once again, please do get hold of an excellent therapist who can help you build the self-esteem you deserve. I wish you every happiness.