I would appreciate an advice (longer read)

Ivana

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Mar 24, 2017
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Hello everyone!
This is my first time on a personal development forum, which means I am extremely stuck and really need help. I am currently 35 years old and extremely lonely. It wasn't like this all the time, despite the horrors of bullying in high-school I always had friends and my college years were quite nice. However, life circumstances were such that now all my friends I regarded as really close moved to other countries and it is hard to keep a strong bond with them because life just gets in the way - when I feel like I need to talk with my friend I cannot just pick up the phone and ask her to go and have a coffee with me after work. Now this is the part where my low self-esteem gets into play. I am a very private person and it is really hard for me to open up. I seem cold and distant to people and all my friends actually became my friends because we were "forced" to hang out on a daily basis (college, sports) and they got to know me and realised that I am not how I seem at first. As a kid I was extremely shy and fearful of social interactions, didn't know how to behave and I until this day haven't resolved those issues completely.
Five years ago I got a job where I met the person that completely shattered my self-esteem, which up until that time I kind of managed to keep relatively balanced (I had highs and lows, but all-in-all I managed to live normally). That person is nothing to blame, he was only a trigger - I never realised how horrible my self-esteem was before I met him. He was my boss, a really sweet guy who was very intelligent and talkative and in time I fell in love with him. It was the most intensive feeling of falling in love in my life and that is where my troubles have started. I started faking, pretending to be who I am not just so that he would like me. I had an idea in my head of a person he would like to be with and I tried to be that person. I tried to like what he liked, I tried to behave how I believed he would like a girl to behave. All of that started slowly, gradually, and when I realised what I was doing I practically lost myself, didn't know who I was, what I liked. I have to say that was the most horrible feeling ever, when you betray who you are, yourself, just to be liked by someone else (who I actually idealised in my head, gave him god-like attributes). Of course he didn't like me back. He was always kind to me, but I didn't feel like he had a full feeling of respect towards me. It is true, how you regard yourself, that is how others regard you. I cannot blame him for anything, I changed for him and expected him to take me into his life and make me a crucial part of it. Of course that was insanity.
When I realised how completely irrational and almost pathological my feelings for him were, I was horrified by my betrayal to myself. I wanted to heal but it was hard for me immensely. I was in general a stable person and I could always count on that stability and my sound mind and that is how I managed to balance my poor self-esteem and how I got through all the bad things in my life. But this was something completely new, I couldn't recognise myself. After two years I changed jobs, not because of him, but that was a plus, to be away from him, however we didn't break contact. Why would we, he never suspected a thing and we actually got along ok. I couldn't tell him that I have problems, we were not that close even though I wanted us to be. I could always feel that he didn't have the same feeling of closeness to me.
In time I got a bit better, realised a lot of things about me and started to plan my recovery. I even started hanging out with some people from my job and didn't feel that lonely anymore. However, I made a huge mistake keeping in touch with him because that was the only thing that kept me from moving ahead. He was a constant reminder of my weaknesses and even though my feelings subsided, I still cared for him and I couldn't be myself with him. I changed jobs again 10 months ago and to my dismay, he actually got a job at the same place, which means I have to see him every single day in the office since we are now working together again. At the beginning we spent our breaks together every single day until I realised I am getting worse again, all my hard work at my self-improvement going to nothing because of my feelings of inferiority to him and my anger towards me and my sadness and constant questioning why doesn't he like me. I know, the question is irrational and I know the answer, but I cannot help myself. I couldn't bear any of it anymore, so I told him I do not want to hang out with him everyday and that I feel that he is not as close to me as I am to him. He was very cool about it and actually confirmed my words. I was devastated and at the same time free and I started to plan working on myself, getting myself back. Here is where I need your advice - how to get moving forward and growing when every single day you have to deal with the person who is a trigger of all the feelings and negative attitudes towards yourself you want to get rid of? He is nice to me, we are colleagues and I cannot say any bad word about him. I like my job and want to get better in it, I want to get better myself, want to get rid of this feeling of loneliness and misery. I failed to add that when I started to work with him and got worse again I alienated from all of the people in my life and permanently lost some of them. Please, if anyone has any similar experience, any advice, anything that you want to share or say, I am open to everything. I just want to get moving forward and get myself back.
Thank you all in advance for reading this and taking your time to answer.

Ivana
 

Dalibor

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Mar 27, 2017
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Dear Ivana,

same as you, this is my first time on a personal development forum or any other forum so I do not have a clue how this works so I will do my best to give you advice without giving one regarding your relationship problem. I read your post first due to the your name (same as my wife's) and reread it once more and decided I can't give you any advice due to the several reason I will keep to myself. Today I did remember something that can help you with your current situation (not only in relationships) so if you are serious and want to change your life so you never feel like you do today you have to study one book in particular. Not even whole book in the beginning. Just first 3 parts of the book with focus at part2 when he talks about life centers. It is Stephen Covey's book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People (https://www.stephencovey.com/7habits/7habits.php). In my opinion you have to read it at least 10 times while you prepare yourself for new life that will come if implementing things you study (not learn).

Give it a try!

Cheers!
Dalibor
 
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nOproblem.fm

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Aug 4, 2017
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Hi Ivana, this may help a little bit :
 

Individual Protocol

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Sep 11, 2017
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Ivana, New to the forum and read your post, wondering how you are doing and if you found any help here or anywhere else. I hope you are on a journey of self-discovery, I have not completely experienced what you described above, but I understand the desire to change yourself to be who someone else wants, I also know exactly what it feels like to betray yourself. Being who you are is the most important thing you can do in life! You are a gift to the world and you have a unique gift to share with it, don't forget that! I hope you have found whatever you were looking for and if you haven't and need someone to talk to reach out!