Dear Dr Sivri,
I am really embarrassed about my problem. Actually, it’s more to do with my lifestyle really. I feel so ashamed, I don’t know where to start.
I am a 39-year-old woman who has been married and divorced twice.
I married very young the first time around – I was 18 years old. We had two girls, but the marriage only lasted about five years. It was a terrible marriage really. We were too young. We argued all the time and he often got violent with me.
My second marriage was when I was 30. That too was a terrible marriage and he too was often abusive and violent towards me. That marriage only lasted three years.
My main problem is this: I moved back in with my parents between marriages, in fact they were the ones who brought up my kids. I was always out and about and I still am.
I drink a lot, I go on lots of dates with men, and occasionally, I take drugs. Especially cocaine, I am ashamed to say. I often find myself in very compromising situations with men.
When I drink or take coke, I usually end up getting together with a man, and I am ashamed of my actions and want to stop living like this.
I actually have my own business, so to my clients, friends and family, I am a respectable woman, but deep down I feel worthless and cheap.
Growing up I was always arguing with my father and I still do in fact. He is very strict, and I keep everything hidden from him.
I have one younger sister, and it’s like she is the ‘Golden Child’ because whatever she does is never wrong.
Please help me as I don’t know what I can do.
I am sorry to hear about your situation. There are many contributing factors to your problem, which we will go through individually.
Let’s start from your family interactions and work our way up to where you are now, because there is a lot of deep psychology involved in your patterns of behaviour and in your actions.
Firstly, as a woman, your earliest bonding process with a man is with your own father, so if he has been overly critical, very demanding, and abusive even, you will struggle to form a healthy bond with him, and in turn with all other men thereafter. In fact, subconsciously you will seek out men who remind you of your father because these patterns of ‘love’ were the first patterns and most powerful patterns that were created in you from a young age.
As a result, your recognition of ‘love’ will come from men who are overly critical, very demanding, and of course even abusive towards you. This will explain your marriages and possibly all of your other relationships where you are attracted to the stereotypical ‘bad boy’, and yet you struggle to see why they never truly work out for you.
In many ways, rather unfortunately, lots of abusive men and even misogynistic men seek out women who have deep-rooted problems with men, as well as having deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy and low levels of self-esteem, which we will come to later.
No doubt you have been attracted to unsuitable men throughout your life, but you have probably struggled to see why. Sometimes we can be flippant in our answers and say we are attracted to the “wrong types” or we say that we are “unlucky in love”. In reality, it goes far deeper than that.
Your low confidence levels, your lack of self-esteem, and your deep-rooted feelings of inadequacy stem from your childhood and upbringing. You feel you have a history of bad decision making and an inability to choose men who are good for you, who will provide you with the love, care and stability you are looking for.
Growing up in a household where you are perceived as the problem child, the one who isn’t favoured, the black sheep of the family, or even as the scapegoat, will no doubt leave a negative mark on your psyche and on your perceptions of yourself.
Having a sibling who is obviously the favourite of the family and who is always rewarded and complimented will also knock your fragile levels of self-confidence.
This becomes a lot worse for you and makes you feel worthless and inadequate if everyone in your formative years sees you as being inferior in some way. Parents either directly or indirectly contribute to your low levels of self-esteem by continually comparing the both of you or by perpetuating their own beliefs and assumptions.
All these contributing factors have created the person you are today, and they have contributed to how you see yourself and how you interact with others.
For you, the drink and drugs aren’t actually the problem. For you, the person behind those bad choices is the real problem, and if you are brave enough to look at yourself in the mirror, you will know that all of your own demons stem from the person looking back at you.
Deep-rooted problems such as yours require a course of counselling or therapy to help you understand yourself and address your issues on a much deeper level.
Please keep me updated.
Dr. D. U. Sivri
Dr Sivri is T-VINE’s agony uncle. If you have a problem or question, you can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org