Therapy has been progressing and hit on some key insights.
- I have some serious self esteem issues. To the point where my therapist would make positive points about my personality and I would point out my flaws. Why I do this I don't know. It isn't as if my parents told me I was flawed in any way, they didn't constantly bring up why I was not good enough. My parents were always proud of me. My siblings on the other hand gave me crap and that leads to my next insight.
- I CRAVE my siblings approval. My parents too, but really I have that. But I crave one kind word of, "Wow, Jenn, you are an awesome sister." I don't know why that is either. I've yet to figure that out, whether it is because I'm the oldest, whether it is because they have what I always wanted, whether it is because they give me shit a lot. I don't know. Anyway, it's something I desire, and I don't know why it is I want it. Perhaps because they are my peer group and I so rarely got it out of my peers?
- I have trouble accepting that I haven't failed in some deep capacity. Mind you I'm working on a third degree here. But with the house, my job, my failed relationships, I feel like an utter failure. Granted, the first two I had little contorl over, the third....well there are a lot of ways that was my fault, but I don't know how much of it means I'm a failure.
- I completely believe I'm a person who people don't like. This is based in part on a lot of things, my small friendship group, my inability to attract stable relationships, and the fact that no one seems to like me enough to go out of the way to be my friend. I'm always self-concious in social situations, fearing I'm talking too much, or that I'm saying something offensive, or hogging too much of the spotlight. If people are unresponsive to me I assume it is because I have done something that is wrong or that I'm lacking in some way and that I must be a person that people don't like. If they liked me, they would try to get to know me. Flawed logic, I know, but who says that the human brain is logical, (anyone who does is a liar). Anyway, a lot of this feeds from issue number one, but was heavily impacted by a person I worked with when I first moved out who I accidentally mistreated and who really hurt me because of it. I've been cautious around people ever since.
Of course my lingering guilt from having an affair with a married man probably has a lot to do with that too, I feel I'm a bad person. We haven't discussed that yet, but because of all the other insights that's come to the fore. I must admit there is a certain part of me who feels that I don't deserve friends and people who love me in my life because I hurt someone I never meant to hurt. The affair was so antithetical to my nature if you know me. I'm a caring person, sometimes an overly nice person, and try to do the good thing and the right thing. But at that time in my life, when everything was going to hell in a handbasket, and I just wanted to be wanted by someone. And so I did it. And I can't forgive myself for that. I can't let go of the anger at myself for falling into that and not caring. And it was not just once or twice, but two years. I didn't care for a long time. And then when I did care I was torn, because I didn't want to hurt anyone and yet I didn't want to give it up. I think I was in love then, just didn't want to admit it to myself. I never did get the gumption to do anything about it before the marriage was on the rocks.
I think that adds a bit of sting to the whole Patric thing, the fact that I was always just there no matter what else was going on. And coupled with my self esteem issues, you see why I did it. I wanted someone to make me feel special, and safe, and loved, and he gave that to me. I put up with shit for years just to be happy. It's a bit horrifying to me personally to realize what I was doing. I've always thought of myself as being a strong, independent person, but I threw myself into a situation I knew wasn't good because my self esteem issues quailed at the idea of not having him in my life.
Now does that mean I don't love him, no, but it does mean I have to take a long, hard look at why I stuck with a relationship I knew was going nowhere in the vain hope it would. And it perhaps centers on that need for approval and love and for someone to give a damn about me that seems to be coming out in all of my issues.
Where does this come from? I don't know. Really, my family adored me, well the parents at least. Like I said, perhaps it is the rejection of my peers at a young age, left me scared for life. I really don't get it. You can't say it was totally may parents. My mother during the divorce, maybe, but before that I was the golden, oldest child.
This mystifies me and I've yet to discover why I feel this way. There is no logic behind it. I am a smart, funny, charming person. People really do like me, I'm just too intimidated by their precieved indifference to pursue it. And why do I need to feel appreciated and cared for when I have people who do? I don't know...
I suppose somehow I'll either figure it out or stop doing it.