Jasmine was adopted into a family that she stated treated her well and loved her like their own. She said that nothing bad had happened to her as a child. Her family always stood by her and treated her with patience and respect, but sometimes she felt like she was a burden to them. She spent a lot of time with her family growing up when her adopted siblings would be out with their friends she would be at home.
She began dating as a teen and found that she would put her boyfriends on a pedestal, holding onto every word they said, writing them letters, making them mixtapes, wanting to talk on the phone all the time. Deep down she worried that she was not good enough for them and would start to be mean to them. “I guess I wanted them to prove that they really liked me.” If they responded in kind she would break up with them and then she would be miserable. “They said I was smothering them. Even my friends would sometimes say that I was too intense or needy.”
“It felt like my world came crashing down with every breakup. I didn’t know why I was doing the things I did. I just knew I was miserable. After that if anyone would show the slightest interest in me I threw myself at them.” She used to date “nice boys,” but they started to shun her so she moved on to a different crowd.
“I got in with the wild kids. The kids that would drink during school and do drugs. It was bad.” When she was in college she passed out at a frat party and was assaulted. “After that I really started to feel like I was no good and life was dangerous, like there was no one I could trust.”
Jasmine managed to stay in school and complete her degree, but she stayed to herself. If she wasn’t in class or working she stayed in her room. “I felt I couldn’t control anything outside of my room and leaving it caused me to have panic attacks.”
Jasmine came to me when she was in her late 20s and she hadn’t dated for almost ten years and she was lonely. She knew that she needed to work on her need for control and to open herself up to other people again. She was scared and feared that she would go back to old patterns. It took some time for her to feel that she could trust me.
Through our work together Jasmine realized that she had low self-esteem as she could not accept that her birth parents did not want her. We discussed how she expected people to leave her like her biological parents did and how she often left them before they could leave her. “Thank God I had the stability of my real parents to show me that not everyone would reject me.”
Jasmine began using affirmations to get the negative thoughts out of her head that made her believe people would leave her because there was something wrong with her. It took some time, but today Jennifer reports that she has the friendships that she wants and is dating. “My boundaries have improved as my self-esteem has improved and I don’t feel hurt like I used to. I know that there are people who love me and I feel good loving them back. I don’t think that I have to make people like me anymore. Oh yeah, and the panic attacks have stopped.”
Not everyone responds as quickly to therapy as Jasmine did, she was very motivated to begin what she called, “My new life.” She worked hard and the progress she saw motivated her to keep going. In what area/s of your life would you like to see some change? Call me and let’s get started on it!