My epiphany makes me wonder what’s wrong with me

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Dear Amy: I am a 65 year old woman. I’ve been divorced three times now and have had a few other serious, equally unsuccessful relationships as well.

I’m single now and trying to figure out what I did wrong.

Understand, I’m the one that leaves every time, so my excuse was that I have a “broken selector”, but that sounds like BS, even to me.

I was reading your column and the subject of “love bombardment” has come. It’s me! That’s what I do! I even surprised myself doing a love-bombing last week!

Some drunk idiot had started flirting with me at a bar, and even as I was like, “What a jerk this guy is,” I was practically flattering him, hanging on to every word, oh- aren’t the-answer-you-intriguing.

What the hell?

At that point, I recognized my pattern of meeting an interested man, “capturing” him with all that flattery and attention, then realizing he was totally inappropriate and rejecting him, often only after years and years of misery.

What’s wrong with me and how can I stop? !

I’ve wasted almost my entire life in this self-sabotaging behavior, and I just want to scream and hang my head in shame.

I hope you have some wisdom for me.

Yeah

Dear Yikes: Bar epiphanies can be extremely powerful, but the point of enlightenment is not to waste time fighting, but to advance insight and wisdom in order to bring about change.

My take on your behavior is that you’re probably already very charming and attractive, even when you’re not crushing on your male prey. My theory is that when you apply your charm with a fire hose, you fall in love with yourself.

Your behavior seems at first glance to be about the other person, but it’s really about you.

I suggest that when you realize you’re actually “enough”, you stop throwing your adorable love bombs at every man in sight.

Try this: stop doing this and see how you feel! This would require you to deliberately remove your overwhelming charm, stop leaning, deal with the anxiety that comes with silence, and see if you still love each other if you put the pin back in the love grenade and do more active listening.

Listen to an idiot for five minutes, and you’ll know he’s an idiot. You won’t have to marry him and reject him years later. In the process, you will develop residual affection for yourself and confidence in your own discernment.

Ask a friend to remind you to pull yourself together. A teammate would really help you stay honest.

Also, should it be said? Therapy.

Dear Amy: I have struggled with self-harm for several years now.

Whenever I get angry explosively, I end up attacking myself (usually by scratching the inside of my arms, or my face/lips with my fingernails or some other sharp object).

My parents and my sister know this, and it upsets them so much.

The last time I did this was three days ago, and this time I had to be honest.

I finally opened up fully to my partner and a few of my friends, and they’ve been amazing and supportive.

This time I want to quit for good.

I really don’t want to do it again.

Is there anything else I can do to stop?

I want to stop

Dear Want to Quit: You have already taken many positive steps: you understand the pattern when you self-harm. You’ve told people about it (and they support you). You want to quit.

You can recover. Specialized therapy will help you.

It might help you learn more about self-harm so that you fully understand the triggers and the response. The Trevor Project contains useful information, as well as a “lifeline”: thetrevorproject.org.

My friends at Crisis Text Line want you to know that you can text them 24/7. Texting when you feel the pressure building can help you cope with the feeling while avoiding self-harm.

Text HOME to this number: 741741.

Dear Amy: “Protective Fiancee” reported that an acquaintance aggressively punched her fiancé. I liked your advice until I got to the part where you suggested she could confront this woman at a 4th of July party at someone else’s house, and “enjoy the fire of ‘artifice”.

Nope!

No explosion

Dear No: I was sardonic and I agree with you.

You can email Amy Dickinson at [email protected] or send a letter to Ask Amy, PO Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.

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