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Struggling To Know My Worth

by Elizabeth
(Gypsy, USA )

All four of my older sisters and my one younger brother lost our mom April 17, 2010. It was unexpected and very emotional. I never really felt wanted by my siblings, but did feel older people thought I was special, pretty, smart, had “something to offer.”

Then, my parents split and everyone was wrapped up in the trauma of that, so I guess I lost that feeling of being “someone,” which got more off track after I married someone I didn't really love, went to school in a place I didn't like, and let people treat me ways I wasn't comfortable with.

I recently ended a toxic relationship, became an over-the-road trucker about a month before debt time. With my family, I was really starting to feel more alive, focused, strong, excited. However, within the last few weeks I have really struggled, feeling like I have no worth.

I have no kids or significant other, and my family stresses me extraordinarily. I’m sure a lot of the pain stems from losing our mom, and my instability makes it hard for my sisters to feel comfortable around me.

My brother doesn't like my sisters at all so he doesn't want anything to do with me if I have anything to do with them, so he isn't really in my life.

I love them all and want to be a part of their lives and want them to be a part of my life, but our relationships are exemplified in this example: It was my birthday-April 15th. I had arrived to visit April 9th, and was at their house every night for dinner. I spent time reading, watching shows only they wanted to watch, doing things only they wanted to do.

The first night and every night after I asked if they wanted to go with me on my birthday to the drive-in movie, to which they repeatedly said “no,” but also didn't say they had other plans. My birthday arrived and my sister called my cell around 5 to ask if I wanted to go to dinner. I said no because I already planned to go to the drive-in, which I told them all multiple times. She responded by saying “ok then” in an exasperated and upset tone and rudely hung up.

When I confronted her, she explained frustratingly that it was in essence my fault, she did nothing wrong. She also said I was avoiding the family by lying about the fact that I wanted to spend time with them, among other things. To me, this was ridiculous and hurtful-to which she rudely said, “I have no idea how that's hurtful.” I don't know what to do with that conversation.

I would really love to have my family in my life. They're almost the only long time connections I have. But every time I spend time with them, I begin to feel suicidal and lose my sense of self-worth.

What should I do? Should I talk it through with them again? I feel I won't be given very much respect, but I wonder when she's right and I'm wrong. Sometimes it's really hard to swallow being wrong and I do want to take responsibility--I just want to take responsibility for things I honestly understand and agree with.

Should I walk away from them? Should I redefine my boundaries?

Yes, but that's where I need help, ideas, plans. I need to know what to do when they act the way they do, how to keep from feeling self-pity and behaving reactively which I know is unhealthy. I'll keep searching, and I greatly appreciate all your help!

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May 04, 2016
Some Things To Consider
by: Dr. DeFoore

Hello Elizabeth - Thanks for telling your story here. You're very clear that you understand you need new boundaries, and that you just need help with how to set those. I'll try to help.

I suggest you approach this from two different angles.

1) Ask and expect nothing from your family. Love them as they are, and let them go. If they extend invitations to you, I encourage you to accept, and make up your mind to be friendly, upbeat and positive the whole time you're with them. Avoid extending invitations to them, since they are not responding well to that.

2) Start looking for your own friends, but joining groups with common interests and activities. Use to find and connect with like-minded people, and make up your mind that you're going to make some good friends, no matter how long it takes.

You may also need counseling, Elizabeth, especially if the above suggestions seem too hard for you, or if you try them and feel unsuccessful.

Set your good heart and mind to what you want. You want to be loved, respected and appreciated, like we all do. Learn about self-love here, and practice these exercises regularly.

You can do this, and you're worth it.

My best to you,

Dr. DeFoore

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