"I avoid getting involved in a serious relationship because of the fears I have"
I hope all is well with you....
Anyway, I am 41 and have been divorced for 12 years (no children). I seem to have this continuing fear of getting involved in a serious relationship. I used to think that it had to do with the fact that my ex-husband was extremely possessive, jealous and controlling, and I became highly sensitive to anything even resembling that type of behavior. We were together for six years. Most were good, but the last year was very painful. He also cheated on me towards the end of our relationship (his first wife cheated on him, too). So, after the divorce, I became accustomed to living on my own and enjoying my "freedom". I am very independent and stay busy, so I've hardly ever felt lonely. But I must admit that recently, it's been getting to me. Seeing most of my friends with their spouses and/or significant others leaves me feeling left out or like the "third wheel". Sometimes I feel very lonely and depressed, but never show it and I try to convince myself that I don't need anyone to be happy. I seem to keep the door closed to any potential serious relationships and I stay away from parties and social events. If someone asks me out, I make up an excuse and turn them down - very gently. Ironically, my nature is very friendly and outgoing.
Recently, I analyzed this situation further and I realized that maybe worse than the fear of being controlled is the fear of loss and abandonment. I always fear that if I allow myself to fall madly in love with someone, something is going to happen to them (i.e. they're going to die). I've lost a lot of people that I've cared for throughout my life. I still miss my dad as if he died yesterday and it has been 31 years (he died of lung cancer). Also, in 1983, my brother committed suicide at the age of 29 (he suffered from depression after my dad's death). Basically, there's just been a string of losses in my life since I was just a child (people of all ages), and I think this is an unresolved issue that has a huge hold over me and my decisions. I guess I want to minimize my losses. But I know that by doing that, I am also minimizing the potential for joy in my life. Peace is also extremely important to me, and relationships often cause too much turmoil.
So, between the fear of being controlled and the fear of abandonment, I limit myself greatly in terms of sharing my life with others. In the friendships that I do have, I am very open and giving, and I often put my friends' needs before mine if they are going through a hard time. But even this area is suffering right now. Sometimes I find myself becoming insecure about the sincerity of certain friendships and fearful that I will be abandoned. I worry that they will leave and I definitely worry too much about what others think. Sometimes jealousy rears its ugly head and my fear will show itself in the form of sarcastic remarks (I'm usually a very warm, sensitive and caring friend). I hate when I act this way, and I'm afraid that this will drive my friends away. But then again, I think that if I've been such a good and loyal friend to them 99% of the time, my "bad" behavior 1% of the time should not be enough to drive them away, right? If it is, then they were never true friends. What do you think? It does sometimes cross my mind that certain friends may be two-faced backstabbers. But I don't say anything, of course - because I don't know for sure and I don't want to cause any problems. I care about them and the friendship very much, but they talk to me about others, so I figure they do the same to me behind my back. Am I just being paranoid? Worrying about this kind of stuff zaps my energy. Why am I so insecure and care so much what others think about me? I'm not a teenager anymore!
In summary, this is all wearing me down. People think that I am happy, since I am always so outwardly positive about everything. I am usually very strong in my Christian faith, and I am always there for others to encourage them during difficult times. Plus, I have a fun and upbeat personality. But when I get back to focusing on me and my life, I feel like dying inside. That's exactly how I've been feeling lately. I'm getting really tired of the same situation. I can't imagine living like this for many more years - it just depresses me more. My friends would be shocked to hear me talking this way. Since I don't share this with them, there is no one there to give me hope and encouragement when I need it. I just can't open myself up to anyone about this (I guess it's yet another fear that I have). I wonder how I came to be controlled by so many fears!!! What can I do to get rid of them and their hold over me and my life? Is there hope? Please help.
God bless you and thanks for all the good that you do.
Awaiting your reply
Hi - thanks for writing in and sharing what you are going through so openly. I hear the pain and distress it is causing you, and also how much you are willing to shift it. That's good. OK. So, let's jump in. The first issue that is showing up for you is: "Defeatism. No longer caring for the self. Anxiety." And the affirmation is: "I love and approve of myself. It is safe for me to care for myself."
When a person has an issue of not believing that they are worth being cared for - when they have a deep, core belief that they do not deserve to be loved - what they will create and manifest in their life are situations where they will feel, or be, abandoned or betrayed in some way.
The trick to healing this issue is first of all to see that NOTHING BAD WAS DONE TO YOU. And what has happened to you isn't because you don't deserve to be loved. Even the death of your father, as painful as I hear that was for you, was not a bad thing in and of itself - UNLESS you take it as a testimonial that life betrays you and will not be there to support and love or take care of you. If you believe that, then your life and all of how you see life, and others, and what you create will follow suit.
What happens when one has a core belief that they do not deserve to be loved is that they develop compensating strategies to cope with it and protect themselves from being found out - they protect this terribly ashamed, vulnerable, frightened self by taking care of others - needing to be needed to prove that they are loved and worthwhile - as you said - you present a good front - a happy, upbeat personality to the world who puts others before herself. You basically present an idealized image of yourself, but it's only half of you - you're not dealing with the whole package, and that will create an out of balance life, which, as you are finding, is not working and causing you distress. Taking care of others in this way is a distraction that keeps you from dealing with and facing your own issues and pain. To still feel the level of pain you feel about your father's death 31 years later is not healthy, and it is definitely an unresolved issue for you. It means that you are still feeling that you must look to others to love you, because you are not loving and valuing yourself. Your father must have represented that love and care to you, and losing it devastated you. But, it is not appropriate to put the need for feeling loved into the hands of someone else. It must come strongly from inside of you. It must be SELF GENERATED.
Now it has surfaced so much that you can't avoid dealing with it any longer, and that is good. Denial of one's pain and issues never works. So, too, when a person is depressed, what is going on is that you have not been willing to face this deepest fear that you have - that you are shameful and not worth loving. You are still hiding out and protecting yourself by not going out, afraid that others might find this out about you - this terrible shame of yourself that you are hiding. But the ironic fact is, it's a false conclusion, an untruth, that you have about yourself. So this secret you are hiding away about yourself that you don't want to face is actually not even real anyway.
The thought of loss, lodged in the various levels of your mind causes many of life's difficulties, as you said in your letter, thinking that this fear is where so much of your difficulty is coming from.
If you could trace back in memory the cause of the unhappy experiences in your life, you would doubtless discover that most experiences of ill health, financial difficulties, and relationship problems were related to a belief in loss.
You will often hear people say, "My problem began when I lost my _____." The word loss literally means destruction. The thought of loss held in one's mind is a destructive one. If you cling to the thought of loss, it can ruin your health, take away your prosperity, and destroy your peace of mind, as well is your personal happiness.
A belief in present and future fulfillment blots out previous beliefs in loss. You can establish such a strong belief in present and future fulfillment by realizing that: There is no loss in God, or in all the universe. You can't lose your good. When it seems you have, it is because your good has changed form. The old good is good that you have outgrown, so let it go!
The word "restore" means to make beautiful again. Spiritual decrees of Divine restoration blot out previous beliefs in loss, and make your life beautiful again.
There are returning cycles when you are again given a chance at an opportunity that you had previously let slip from you. These returning cycles come in "Divine timing," when you are ready for them in your spiritual growth.
Stop dwelling on apparent losses in your life, and start looking for the growth and gain that came through them. For every loss there HAS been a gain, so drop the loss and take the gain!
As you affirm in positive prayer: "Divine restoration, so much good can be added to the present that it seems even to fill the emptiness of the past. In the process, whatever has been taken from you is Divinely restored."
No matter what the stakes or unfortunate experiences you have had in the past, you can still overcome them and make a comeback to a good life by dwelling on Divine Restoration.
When your good seems to have been withheld or taken, it is because your own attitudes and actions have withheld that - not the attitudes or actions of others.
There is a spiritual secret: The good that you have not recognized or claimed in the past has not been lost. It has become dammed-up in the invisible, awaiting your recognition and claim of it. The good that seems lost from the past is still yours, in whatever present form is for your highest good. When you decree Divine Restoration, you release that stored-up good.
Decrees of Divine Restoration can bring new prosperity, health, and love into your life, quickly and in God's order.
Always there is a balancing, restoring power for good at work in every person and in every experience of loss. Instead of trying to force your good, affirm in prayer that it is now Divinely restored in God's own time and way. Then your good of past and present can still appear.
A good prayer to say regarding loss follows. I invite you to say it twice in a 2 day period, and then as needed:
"The forgiving love of Great Spirit has set me free from the past, and from the results of mistakes of the past. I face the future wise, free, and unafraid. No matter what the mistakes or unfortunate experiences I have had in the past, I can still overcome them and make a comeback to a good way of life with Your help, dear God.
"I realize that my good wants me as much as I want it. I know that there is a Divine solution to every situation. I give thanks that this appears now. I give thanks for Divine Restoration in every area of my life. Divine Restoration is now doing its perfect work for all involved, and the perfect results appear. My good can not be withheld for me. Somewhere, somehow, someday the good that seems lost in this experience will be restored to me and to my family. My good will come to us, at the right time, in the right way, through the right channels. My good was not lost in that experience. The good will still reappear.
"I now call upon the power of Divine Restoration. My good of the past and present is now Divinely restored to me. All the blessings that should have been mine are still available to me, in whatever present form is best. They have NOT been lost. They still come forth in God's own way and in perfect ways. I claim my present blessings also. The good that is for me now presses upon me, and I accept it. I am receiving now. I am receiving my highest good of mind, body, and situations in my life now. My accumulated good of past and present now pours forth into my life as a rich blessing. This is a time of Divine fulfillment. I welcome my accumulated good now. I give thanks for Divine Restoration in mind, in body, and every situation of my life. Amen"
We all have to cope with losses in our lives, and our job is to discover what we were given from that loss - how were we to grow and become stronger from that experience - what is the symbolic reason behind that loss - to find out if there is an issue we carry that creates loss, etc. Then we are truly trusting in the divine ordering of things. To see life as the Divine Plan, and that our souls have set up these challenges and experiences in order to learn important life lessons and develop needed soul qualities. What has stopped you from moving on and getting your lesson, is, I think, as I mentioned above, this deep belief that you are not worth being loved and cared for. And that love and being cared for must come from inside you, and given to YOU from YOU.
I wanted to say one other thing to you. It is a help to others when they can read the letters of others. The fact that you didn't initially want yours posted, even if no one could know it was from you, says to me that this issue of hiding yourself away in shame is very present with you. I was happy to totally honor your request, but I invite you to think about this and work with this issue of shame and vulnerability - when you accept ALL of yourself, and embrace all of yourself, you create a whole new dynamic within yourself and in your life, which comes from loving and embracing all of yourself.