Home Breakup Girl To The Rescue! - Super-Advice from Lynn Harris




Big To Do
About Us

November 9, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need


Dear Breakup Girl,

First of all, I LOVE your column and read it all the time. Your advice is really sensible and that's why I'm writing -- I'm hoping you might be able to help me with this. You see, I see the problem, but the solution is far from sight.

I'm 22, a virgin, had a total of 2 boyfriends (one Internet one I never met) and have a real problem getting boyfriends. OK -- or anyone (I believe myself to be Bi -- but since I've never been with anyone -- I'm not sure if you can count that). I finished college, have my BA in English, am not completely unattractive, have terrible self-esteem and about 20 years of mental and emotional abuse from my father, whose house I am still living in until I save enough to get my own place. No -- I have not gotten therapy for this yet -- I can't afford it and I OBVIOUSLY can't get my father to pay for it. My mom won't pay for it either -- and she's perfectly aware of why I need it too. (I do have a job that pays well, but I still can't afford an apartment, much less anything big like therapy.)

I know I need to get out of my house and meet friends and people off the net, but the opportunities never seem to come up. It's only recently that my brother taught me to recognize when other men are really flirting at me, and only recently that I realized that I am possibly attractive to other people. I used to believe that I just needed a boyfriend so bad just to have some love in my life. I still kind of half believe it. My sense tells me that I have to give that kind of love to myself before I can expect anyone else to give it. It's harder than it sounds and I am trying to work on it. It's hard when I've spent so many years hating myself for being lazy, slow, fat, unmotivated and all the other things my father spent years telling me that I am.

I mean, yes I am overweight, and yes I am slow to act, but telling me so constantly does not help anything, if anything I think it aggravates the condition. I know I need to get out of my parents house -- especially if I expect to have any sort of healthy relationship. I know I need to start healing if I am going to trust any man to put his hand on my shoulder, much less kiss me. It's just that things that I take for granted are really dysfunctional. Like the fact that my good friend and the only guy who is visibly attracted to me is a person whom I can dominate at will (which is why I won't go out with him -- it's not a healthy relationship even though he doesn't mind me dominating him -- I don't want to end up being that kind of person).

I just really need help -- and I really want to have some sort of healthy relationship before I die! My mother married someone just like her father, I don't want to end up like that. I just feel like emotionally I'm 15, and that's not fair. because I've lived 22 years, gone through college and earned the right to something resembling a life, not just work and hating home, work and hating home. If I have to be emotionally 15, can't I be that away from my parents who have damaged enough of my life? OK -- I'm not that stupid -- if they damaged me, I have to take some responsibility for that. Somehow I allowed them to damage me. It's a stupid theory but its supposed to be true. There are plenty of people with worse parents than mine who manage to do more with their lives. The thing is that I've lived out of the looming shadow of my past -- while in college, and I'm still screwed up -- with or without my parents. I still don't trust people, I still have terrible self esteem and am so painfully introverted that I almost feel physical illness in social situations such as parties. I'm sorry -- this isn't really clear or anything, but if you could scrape some meaning from this tangle of emotions and help me out, I would really appreciate it.

-- Lost in the Concrete Jungle that is NYC

Dear Concrete,

Oh, kiddo. Concrete jungle though it may be, there is one thing I know NYC has: therapists who work on affordable sliding scales. Not because their care is cut-rate, because they know folks like you are out there and they want to be accessible.You can find one. No excuses.

In the meantime, there is also such a thing as free therapy, such as this astute observation from our very own Belleruth: "You are scared sh*tless to have the life you say you want -- and I'm sure you do want it. But you can't wait 'til you're not scared anymore to do things for yourself. You have to be scared AND do stuff anyway. Like: move. Like therapy. Like hanging out, platonically or otherwise, with this guy you can 'dominate,' whatever that means, because that will get you into a social life -- and he may not turn out to be such as wuss after all. And like dating BEFORE you're finished working on your self-esteem. I mean, that's a work in progress for all of us -- you can't put your life on hold until you're a finished product. Fear is not the same thing as a Bad Idea. It's just: being scared. If you can make yourself do things in spite of your fear, it will be less and less powerful."

You might also want to check out this book. Just promise me you won't stay home and read the whole time. Day by scary day, Jennifer of the Jungle. See you out there.

Breakup Girl



blog | advice | comics | animation | goodies | to do | archive | about us

Breakup Girl created by Lynn Harris & Chris Kalb
© 2008 Just Friends Productions, Inc.
| privacy policy
Cool Aid!

Important Breakup Girl Maxim:
Breakup Girl Sez

Advice Archive
BG Glossary
Breakups 101

Web BG.net

Hey Kids! Buy The Book!
Available at Amazon