27 Nov Stephanie learned to love herself
She was a highly intelligent and vibrant young woman with a special talent for writing. The problem was, Stephanie had never learned to love herself.
“I feel lost. I don’t have a clear sense of who I am or what I want.” This was Stephanie’s mantra when she started to work with me. She obsessed over what other people might think of her and compared herself to them. Her quest to be perfect often left her feeling “never good enough.” A high need for acceptance drove her to seek validation through unsatisfying relationships with men, social media and texting. But these only gave her a false sense of security. As a writer, she was plagued with the Imposter Syndrome. She constantly doubted herself.
“I feel lost. I don’t have a clear sense of who I am or what I want.” This was Stephanie’s mantra when she started to work with me.
Stephanie was also a serial dater; one relationship after another with barely a moment to breathe in between. When she met Mike, her last relationship before she sought help, she had been single for only five days! Travelling across the country to be with him, she became quickly immersed in his life, ignoring any of her own desires. She sank further and further into isolation, feeling trapped, depressed and frightened about the future. In despair, she moved back home to live with her mother.
It was not difficult to see, Stephanie was exhausted from living in this codependent nightmare.She so desperately wanted to validate herself, pursue her own dreams and ultimately be in a healthy, intimate relationship. She wanted to practice better self-care and learn to make better choices. She craved less drama and more harmony in her relationships.
We worked on helping her become aware of her relationship patterns as well as her triggers and high risk situations for relapse. She discovered she was a rescuer, trying to fix others. She realized she tried to control out of fear. And fears she had plenty; fear of being alone, looking bad, fear of failure and success, change and rejection.. Because if her intense need to be liked and fear of being alone, she became aware of how she allowed others, mostly men to take advantage of her. She tolerated unacceptable behaviour and hated herself for it.
Uncovering all these patterns helped Stephanie get in touch with her feelings of her anger, frustration and abandonment. She also was able to see the underlying beliefs that drove her to unhealthy actions.
Our work together eventually helped her discover she had the power within her to make change happen. Life could be different and way more fulfilling. Becoming accountable for her actions, instead of blaming others for where she was, became the turning point in her recovery.”I began to believe there was a way out of this insanity.” We worked a great deal on boundary setting to take better care of herself. She realized it was more than okay to say”no.” Stephanie identified her most important values so her decisions could be aligned with what she stood for. What ever she was missing was not more important than honouring her own values.
“I began to believe there was a way out of this insanity.”
These days, Stephanie is singing a different tune. She is more optimistic and confident, making better choices for herself. She is content to be single for the first time in her life. “I can’t believe I don’t have any urge to call or text a guy.” She doesn’t feel bad anymore about setting appropriate boundaries. She has a clear idea of what a relapse means to her which is not easy with relationship addiction. The day a man she just met invited her to spend a weekend in the country. “The old me would have jumped on the opportunity in a second. The new me says, why would I want to do that! Even though it could be fun, I know I would feel terrible afterwards.”
She quit her extra part-time job. Although the extra money was handy, spending more time with family and cultivating new hobbies are more a priority. Even her career is on an upswing. Her new-found confidence allowed her the opportunity to interview her favorite writer and pen an article for the magazine she works for. Stephanie was absolutely thrilled as she finally learned to love herself.
“I’m not lost or trapped anymore. It’s amazing to have my own direction and purpose for the first time in my life.”
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