I'd like a loving relationship but I'm not sure I'm capable of that
I'm a 23 year old woman and I'd like to find and have a relationship with a really caring man, but I feel my anxiety, depression, trust issues and past will get in the way of that. I get suicidal impulses that I have to fight almost everyday and engage in acts of self harm such as scratching my arm with a small blade and sometimes burning the skin with a lighter or rubbing acid into the wounds. I have also occasionally experienced panic attacks.
As a young child, my father was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive, as well as once forcing his way into the house and attempting to abduct me after my parents divorced. That obviously caused a lot of psychological damage (I have security issues, nightmares, fear of rejection, social anxiety- possible elective mutism as a child that in some situations comes back as an adult), I suffered from depression and contemplated suicide as a teenager with one pretty pathetic attempt during which I changed my mind.
I got better when I left for university, but the depression has returned and my life seems to be falling apart around me. My step father since I was about 8/9 started having problems when I was a teenager- tantrums, lashing out, violence- and I had to get between him and my mother to break up the fights. He would walk out and come back a few weeks later regularly and now he's left again, claims to be doubting his sexuality however this changes each time I see him and has decided he doesn't want us as his family anymore but wants to stay friends, I feel that when he settles into his new life, or finds something else to fill the void he won't be interested anymore and he's just using us. My mother is finding it hard as well but she takes it out on me a lot and it's really affecting my recovery.
I would like a relationship with a man and feel loved and close to someone, but I'm concerned I'm not mentally healthy enough for that right now - or ever will be, as well as not being sure if I can actually trust someone enough to have a relationship. Any thoughts?
Love is really complicated, and I don't think it gets easier to understand as time goes on. The thing is, you need to let things happen naturally. When someone comes along into your life that you have feelings for, then try to befriend them. And if this guy treats you well and is everything you want in a friend, then maybe he could also be what you're looking for in a relationship.
Understand that in love, and the search for it, you will get hurt sometimes. You will make mistakes and learn from them, and change as a person over time. Remember that other people are only human, and so are you. I know sometimes your experiences you've had with your family will be invaluable to you for gauging things, but it could also cloud your judgment and make you too overprotective when you might need to let your guard down and be open and exposed.
But the important thing, I think, is to let things happen naturally. Don't force it. If it's meant to be, it will happen. It might take a while to find Mr. Right, but when you do I hope it will be a pleasant surprise. I hope that is helpful.
your mother is taking it out on you and you take it out on yourself : don't you want to stop that ?
next time you get an upsurge of anger, frustration, guilt or shame trip - nip it in the bud and go and do something constructive - anything and if you don't know what to do - go do regular daily stuff (showering, washing dishes, walk the dog, go for a walk yourself, take a nap) and/or something physical : exercise, sports - don't let the upsurge come to a point where you can't handle it anymore and want to hurt yourself or commit suicide
you are 23 and you're entitled to get a handle on YOUR life : decide for yourself what you want to do, make a schedule and do it
focus on healthy, positive things you can do - keep your focus on positive thoughts : you are worth it
do this every day and bit by bit you'll see you can change your mental programming which will stabilize your emotional state and make you overall feel better about yourself and soon you'll find you're building up self-esteem
this will not have come through thinking "I MUST do this or that" but through you WANTING to do it as a mark of self-respect
let those people in your life who're dealing with toxic situations and/or disorder personalities handle their own stuff : you've got a life to live and it starts now
don't take any bait - keep out of controversial, sterile discussions, don't get sucked in : breathe, detach, move on and do your thing
don't go looking for a man to incarnate the father you've always dreamed of : go and look for people to meet, friends to make, things to share and from there on you'll see
if you can learn to trust yourself then you will know who to thrust because you'll have boundaries for what you will and will not settle for
you want to feel loved : try and start loving yourself - it sounds easy but it's not so easy to develop a real genuine "feel good" feeling about oneself without it being fake : of course there will be ups and downs but you accept to go THROUGH the motions and keep your (mental) goal (focus) in sight
don't flee from what you're feeling : that's owning yourself - having the courage to feel what you feel and KNOW that you are more then this and that - as all things on earth - it'll move on and change
write if it can help you "put things down" and get it out of yourself, out of your system - so that you can get some perspective
go run in the woods and scream - or take your car (if you have one) and go for a ride and yell all you want windows closed : this helps to get the pressure out of your system without bothering anyone
breathe - and breathe some more : excellent for distressing, getting back to yourself and grounding yourself
start today and let me know :)