I'm Confused and I Don't Know What to Do
January 3, 2012 Ask Dr. Love Advice Column
I hope and pray that my testimony will be put into consideration and get the opportunity to be answered. Coz right now I've lost the lamps of my judgement! I've had a boyfriend who's 1 year older than me....its been a distance relationship of which somehow I've managed to survive for like two years, I dealt with a guy that would seem and admit to love you but hardly show it. He could hardly txt me or call me claiming to be busy and naturally hard on communication, We agreed not to have sex till marriage but unfortunately I found condoms on his bag of which he claimed to have been there before we started having a relationship, I ddnt believe him so I had to stalk information from his close friends of whom they culdnt give me a direct proof of his deed but advising me that breaking upBreaking up refers to the dissolution of a romantic love relationship. Many people have a tendency to break up in order to preempt or discharge unwanted or painful feelings. For example, if you are...(Click for full definition.) with him earlier is the best thing I could do coz I'm too good for him and for other reasons that they couldn't directly tell me as he is a hard guy to deal with. For all these reasons I thought breaking up with him is the best solution no matter how much I love him bcoz the only time that I've been happy is when I'm close to him.....I broke up with him and went through a terrible phase 1st deep inside myself I admit to love him still, 2nd comments from friends and family to take him back if I still love him and others to tell me that breakn was wise enough. I also have a thing for looks that I find him not my type so may be I could wait for the guy I'd want of wich I'm nt sure if I'll get but tht doesn't change the fact of the feelings I have for him, this sounds abit awkward bt ts wats going inside me so I thot I should mention it too.....that's a short history of what happened until I broke up with him for the past nine months,ol this break up time has been hell to me,no day has passed without me thinking of him no matter how hard I try, the more I pray to God to give me the right man hoping maybe by that I'll manage to forget about him is the more I keep on thinking about him, few days ago I found out that he dated another distant relative of mine but broke up bcoz. Of a distant relationship. Hearing this made me furious feeling like my heart has been broken down the 2nd time by the same person,I cnt understand myself but it appears that I cnt let go of this man, its a lot of pressure that I cnt seem to be focused at all. You can be confused of what I've but that's precisely what I am right now, CONFUSED....I hope to hear from you and get the right direction of my life!
I hear how much difficulty you’re having. Just to reassure you, I’m not confused. In fact, I understand what’s happening to you and why you’re feeling as you are. When I explain it to you, I know that you will feel headed in the right direction.
First of all, confusion is a defense mechanism. The unconscious mind often creates a feeling of confusion to protect a person from feeling the real feeling. Can you guess what you’re really feeling? Give up? It’s anger! You are furious at this guy. He strung you along; he said he cared while he behaved neglectfully. On top of it all, it seems as though he was unfaithful to you. Even his friends didn’t deny your suspicions and not one of them advocated for him. On the contrary, they encouraged you to dump him.
The next thing we need to realize is that beneath the anger is a feeling of hurt. This man wronged you deeply.
Here’s where things get truly mysterious. Why would you continue loving a man who did you so wrong? Think about it. Doesn’t it stand to reason that you would not hold a torch for someone who treated you like dirt?
The fact that you care so deeply and can’t seem to let him go is the clue to the actual problem—and its resolution!
Stay with me here because I’m going to go deep. When you find yourself emotionally stuck, drowning in feelings that you can’t seem to shake (in your case you can’t stop loving your ex) and when the feelings themselves seem disproportionately strong (in your case, you love a guy with a fervor that doesn’t compute especially considering that he neglected you and didn’t reciprocate your love) you are without a doubt struggling with an unhealed childhood wound.
Strong feelings that you can’t shake are the result of what I call the “Emotional Lake Effect.” The actual Lake Effect refers to the process by which a storm gains force as it gathers moisture during its sweep across the Great Lakes. The psyche does a similar thing. The unconscious mind perpetually compares present day events and relationships to our experiences from childhood. Through these comparisons, the mind gathers emotional steam as it dips into the well of the unconscious. This result in an emotional intensification because you are actually feeling all the feelings associated with past hurts.
Let’s return to you and apply this theory to your case. Your unconscious mind clearly associates your ex with someone from childhood—probably your mother or father. Think about who he reminds you of. Who made you feel the way he did and does? Who didn’t make you feel loved? Who hurt you? Who lied to you? Who betrayed you? I’m sure you have already realized who that is.
You may be wondering, why you would remain so connected to a man who brings you the same pain and disappointment that your parent did? The reason is simple: hope springs eternal. Every abused and abandoned child keeps hoping that mommy or daddy will finally wake up and love him/her. The abused/abandoned child tries to be really good, hoping that the parent will eventually realize how worthy he/she is of being loved.
All children try to fix their defective parents because kids labor under two universal fantasies: The first fantasy is that they are the center of the universe (this is called the narcissism of childhood). This leads kids to think that whatever happens is their fault. So for example, if their parents divorceDivorce is a legal dissolution of the marriage bond. Many couples divorce themselves from each other on an emotional level long before a legal divorce is sought. As I say in my book, Till Death Do Us...(Click for full definition.), kids thinks it’s because they weren’t good enough.
Kids also live under the fantasy that they are omnipotent (meaning, all powerful). This means that kids think they have the power to fix their parents’ wounds. When mom and dad are fixed, the hope is that they will finally be capable of loving them properly.
When the kid doesn’t succeed in fixing the parent, he/she feels like a failure and just keeps trying harder.
Now what happens when the kid grows up? The formerly abused kid now tries to fix a damaged partner.
This is what I call the Repetition Compulsion--the unconscious compulsion to replay the childhood wound and achieve a happier ending.
The first step in this process is to choose someone who emotionally resembles the parent who let you down. I call this Setting the Stage. The hope is to relive your childhood pain with a person who is similar to your parent; the idea being that when you finally succeed in winning your partner’s love you it will feel like you actually won your parents’ love, and voila your childhood wound will be healed.
There’s only one catch, since we choose partners who are limited and damaged the way our parents were, we don’t end up being treated any better this time around.
Now here’s the diabolical part. Most adults still labor under the fantasy that they have the power to fix their partners. So no matter how defective the partner is, no matter how hopeless the relationship, they can’t let go, they can’t ever stop trying. For to give up, to let go, feels like giving up the hope of ever healing the wounds you suffered as a kid.
Now we have the answer to why you can’t stop loving your ex. Your unconscious actually holds on to him because, deep down, you’re still hoping to heal the original wound.
I want you to realize that your ex is just a smokescreen. You need to recognize who hurt you and heal that wound. My book,Till Death Do Us Part (Unless I Kill You First) shows you how to identify your exact wound and how to administer to yourself the right emotional medicine. As you heal your early wound, you will magically find yourself free of your attachment to him.
Keep me posted on your progress! You will be feeling better soon.
"If anger and fighting are ruining your dream of a happy marriage, Dr. Turndorf’s conflict resolution program is for you."
-- John Gray,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
"This well-researched book offers a thorough, step-by-step program that provides tools for couples to heal even the most troubled relationships."
-- Dr. John Mack
Pulitzer Prize winning author and Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
“This book is mandatory reading for every couple that wants to build lasting love.”
-- John Bradshaw,
Author of NY Times #1 bestseller Homecoming
"Dr. Turndorf is an amazing individual who has wonderful advice to offer men and women of all ages and in all types of relationships. Ignore her counsel at your peril!"
-- Bill Hammond III,
Winner of the Best Historical Fiction Award, 2012
"You are awesome Dr. Jamie. You really are. The best part about you is the way you translate complex psychological stuff into easy to understand and actionable insights."
-- Kajay Williams,
Producer Relationship Advice Cafe
"Let me tell you why you're extremely important now. I really believe your message is there. You're spot on. More and more people should be taking advantage of what you're offering."
-- Michael Dresser,
Syndicated Radio Host
"Good stuff. Great insight. I love your approach. Who doesn't need more healing. I love your idea of using your partner as a healing agent. That's such a great way to see your partner. You give great labels and patterns to look for. I love your method. You make it sound so easy. You have a great website with lots of great information and resources. These are the tools we all need."
-- Dr. Matt Townsend,
Host, The Matt Townsend Show