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Mary Johnson

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Jan 23, 2005
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I'm very new to all of this, but not new to the feeling that I am out of control. I do not know what is wrong with me and I do not know where to start to find out. But I need to find out. Does anyone know how to help? My friends do not understand...how can they? They only know that I cannot connect with any of them on any real level. They know nothing of my past or the real me. I don't even know the real me anymore...I don't feel as though I ever really did.
I am desperate.
I am becoming consumed with the very things that I have tried to hide for seventeen years.
I am so scared.

M.J.
 

ThatLady

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What, exactly, are you afraid of, hon? Can you give us a bit more information about what you're feeling, when it started, and if you're seeing a counsellor?
 

Mary Johnson

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I am afraid of what I'm going to find out. I'm afraid that I already know. I have alienated myself from everyone and I don't know how to come back from that. I am in the process of finding therapy again...but I am a coward. The last time I tried to face this, I failed. I lied to my therapist and my friends and anyone who wanted to see me succeed. I don't why I did that. I want to stop feeling the way that I do, but I feel like I can't make the journey. Sounds pretty wesk huh? I feel pretty weak. I feel ineffective and of no consequence to anyone or anything. I feel not here...not anywhere. And now I want to reach out to the person I hurt the most in all of this, but I am afraid of that as well. It seems easier to believe in the rejection rather than to face it. Only it's not easier. And now that I really need someone, that person cannot be there because of the things I have done, and there is simply no one left. I just feel so very very lost.

M.J
 

David Baxter

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What is it you believe you have done to alienate people? What is it you need therapy for? What is it you lied to your therapist and friends about?
 

ThatLady

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This is a very safe place to talk about your worries, Mary. Please share with us what's troubling you, what you feel you've done, and what it is you've tried to face before and failed. Many of us here have felt alienated and lost. We do understand. It's just a lot easier for us to try to help if we know what it is you're suffering over.
 

Mary Johnson

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Jan 23, 2005
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I lie about everything, all of the time. I lie to protect the biggest lie, one that I ahve kept up for seventeen years. I endured my father's abuse for 12 years, all kinds of horrible things. I was finally removed from that environment. From that moment on, to anyone who didn't know me, I made up a new family history. I invented everything. But I always had to protect that lie, and tell 100 more lies to that end. But in the process, I have discovered that I have an enormous fear of rejection and abandonment. So I would lie to cover up any mistakes I had made so that people wouldn't leave me. And then I would tell people things I thought they wanted to hear so that they wouldn't just not leave me, but that they would actively want to stay with me. Does that make any sense?
Then I became involved in a volitile relationship that triggered all kinds of memories for me. But I didn't have the strength to leave...I don't want to be the one abandoning someone else. I did love this person, but I don't think I was ever in love. In fact, I don't believe I really know what that feels like because I have never loved anyone enough to tell them the truth about who I really am.
I finally left this person and I buried the guilt of that very deep. But I couldn't do it alone. I mean i left only when I had found someone else. Things were as fine as they could be considering who I was and what i was doing. But the Ex calls one day and she wants a relationship and I feel as though I would be letting her down by not getting involved with her. This going to sound crazy but I wanted her to believe that I was sorry for leaving, and I had missed her, because it was the truth. Only I didn't think she would believe it unless I became involved with her again. I tried to say no to her 100 times, without ever saying no for the honest reasons. That while I would always have love for, I didn;t want to be with her. She wouldn't accept "no". So I felt I had no choice. But being the coward that I am, I couldn't be honest with my current partner. And I didn't want to leave her, but i felt as though I owed it to my ex. So instead of leaving her I made up a fantastic story about taking a job in Thunder Bay. And I sat back and waited for her to leave me. But she wouldn't. Then i tried the same story with the ex and I sat back and waited for her to leave me, but she wouldn't either. Both were always very angry with me because I was non-communicative and distant and always very sad. I was so tired of the lie but it got to be too big. I felt that telling the truth at t at point would be like stepping off a cliff.
Anyway, all was found out and that is how it should be. But I am left now to deal with this behaviour once and for all. I cannot live like this any longer, but i do not know where to begin. I feel as though there are so many issues to deal with here.

Too much huh? I just started writing and couldn't stop. There is obviously so much more, but the details are too many. I am a pathological lier and I do not know how to stop myself. I have issues with food (not eating) that stems from my childhood. I lie about food everyday. I have issues with intamacy and aggressive behaviour. I have issues with complete sadness for long periods of time. Funny, I have never considered suicide, because then all of my lies would be found out and I didn't want anyone to feel betrayed by me, even in death.
I am so desperate for a way out. Everything is so very overwhelming!!

Thanks for "listening".

M.J.
 

ThatLady

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Considering your treatment by your father, you have reason to have "issues", hon. People who suffer abuse as children are left scarred by that treatment. It's not just you, Mary. It's anyone who suffered such abuse. It's not your fault. You didn't do it, it was done TO you, and it's perfectly understandable why you would want to keep it a secret. It's not something one wishes to have happened to them. Yet, it's important to remember that the things that happened to you are just that...things that happened to you. They ARE NOT you. They are events. You are a person separate from those events.

Getting caught up in lies is not uncommon, either. It happens to a lot of people. It happened to me. I thought I'd never get beyond it, but I did. I simply decided I wasn't going to lie anymore, ever. It wasn't easy. It was very difficult. It took concentrated effort and determination. It took me announcing, in the middle of a lie, "Wait. That's not really the way it was. Let me tell it the way it REALLY was.". I did that with a very good friend and, thankfully, she understood and helped me to get through my difficulties with lieing. I had to stop more than once and restart what I was saying, but...well, finally, it was over.

You really need to get some help, hon. You need counselling and someone to talk to who is safe and non-judgemental. With that help, you can conquer the problems you're facing. It won't happen tomorrow, and probably not next week, but it will happen if you work at it consistently. You'll backslide at times, but you need to realize that that's to be expected and just keep trying. There is a way out of this and the way is within you.
 

Mary Johnson

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Jan 23, 2005
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Thanks for your words. I know that you are speaking from experience and I can appreciate the wisdom in that. I want to believe that it will get better, and my rational brain tells me that if I'm willing to work at it and have faith in the process and myself, that it can only get better. But I'm just not in that rational place right now. I know that that too will pass. This weekend has been a hard one. Everything crashed about two weeks ago, but I am only just now allowing myself to feel anything about it. So it's coming hard and fast ya know?
I have been trying to figure out what to do about the people I have hurt. I mean I have taken away the future that my partner had planned with me. I have robbed her of that, and I want to somehow make it OK. I want a take-back. I know that's not possible but I still want it. What I'm unsure of I guess is why I want to reach out to her. I want her to understand why I have done this without trying to use it as an excuse. It is only an explanation. But is that distinction necessary for her right now, and is it really for her or for me? When you have lied for so long about so many things, you really loose touch with any kind of knowledge about your true motivations, or worse, you do not trust your own motivations for anything. Even now, I believe that I am being honest with myself but I don't trust that I am. Does that make any sense? I wish I could fix this for her, and for me, and for everyone affected by all of this.

M.J
 

ThatLady

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Unfortunately, life doesn't give us many "take-backs". I wish it did. I imagine everyone does, at one time or another.

Are you still in contact with your ex-partner at all? Do you talk to her, or has she severed the relationship? If you're still talking, you could make the effort to start coming clean with her. Tell her the truth...all of it. Explain that you're going to quit lieing, and you're starting now. If you're not talking, however, it's probably best to leave it alone for now. You've got bigger fish to fry than to try to make amends for the past. You have the present and future to deal with, and those must come first. The past is behind us, so it will wait. If we don't deal with our problems in the "now", they'll keep repeating themselves ad nauseum.
 

Mary Johnson

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She ahs asked for an explanation. I came clean with all of the lies, but it helped that the two of them also went over everything. So now both know all. But I feel as though I should face whatever she may have to say to me. One of them has offered to help me through this and I am so lucky to have that. But I have not spoken to the other as of yet. She is the one that I had planned a future with and I am also grieving the loss of that future, even if it was my actions that destroyed the entire thing. As I said, I think I should not run away from her anger, if she wants to express it. It seems to me that running away from confrontation and anger and disappointment is what got me into this mess to begin with. Si I believe I should call her and face whatever she may have to say. Am I skewed in this thinking? I hear what you're saying about bigger fish to fry and I agree. But the guilt over my most recent behaviour may stop me from really moving forward in a productive way. What do you think?

M.J
 

ThatLady

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You could try to call and talk to her. She may choose to talk to you, but she may not. It should be her choice. If she doesn't wish to speak to you, don't push it. If she wants to holler at you, she will. You'll have to hunker down and take it if you open the door. Just be sure to own what you've done and not try to make excuses or push the blame elsewhere. Let her vent, if that's what she needs to do. Just don't make the call with any ulterior motive, like renewing the relationship. If you've got some goal in mind when you make the call, you're setting yourself up for disappointment. Remember, the call is being made to allow the possiblity of communication, not to regain the relationship. That's a very important factor in what you're trying to do.

You're going to feel guilty. That's a fact of life. We all feel guilty when we do something we know isn't right. It's something we have to learn to deal with, and to keep in perspective. You are not the only one who has ever made a mistake, and this will not be the last mistake you make. If you can keep it in perspective, it becomes easier to deal with. Admit to your errors, do what you can to rectify them, then put them behind you. Otherwise, you end up groveling around in guilt and self-pity.

I really hope you'll make an appointment to see a counsellor at your earliest opportunity. You really need to get started working on this stuff with a professional, hon. This isn't an easy task you're undertaking, and you'll need assistance.
 

Mary Johnson

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Lots of wisdom in those words. Thank you. I hope to find someone this week and get this going. I am tired of feeling horrible, and I am also just tired.
I left a message on her voice mail. I simply said that I felt that i should face anything she may want to say and that if she didn't want to say anything, then I would have to face that as well. That is where i will leave it.
Lots to consider huh?

M.J
 

ThatLady

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Yes, hon, you really do have a lot on your plate. Do try to keep in mind that this is not a failing of yours. It's not all your fault. You've undergone some very traumatic events in your life, and your coping mechanisms failed you along the way. That's not surprising, considering your tender age at the time of the trauma. Cut yourself some slack, and realize that you've got to be a pretty darned good person if you're willing to face up to your errors and work to change things. That takes guts, girl!
 

Lana

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Hi Mary;
In reading what you shared, your comments about love got my attention. You state that you are not sure if you know what love is because you never “loved” someone enough to disclose your secrets to. Is it at all possible, that the love you speak of is not absent for, or from, others, but it is absent for you from you? The big ingredient in loving another is that there must be an element of self-love, self-acceptance. We need to have love, for ourselves, in order to be able to share that love with others. You created an image for others to love and be with, but in that, the real you that’s been traumatized and hurt is missing. The real you has been isolated and closed off. The real you is now knocking on your false image asking to be acknowledged, accepted, and for love…from you.

There is an irony in all of this where your fear of abandonment and rejection stems from. In making up a story about yourself and your past, you effectively rejected and abandoned yourself. This may explain why at times you do things that you feel you shouldn’t to go with the false image. Examples of that are going back to an ex when you really didn’t want to so as not to loose her acceptance, or not going to see a therapist, or misleading a therapist, because that would involve seeing and embracing yourself. It is not an easy road to travel, for anyone. Self-work is the hardest work you’ll ever do. But, it’s the most rewarding one. Having said that, I just wanted to commend you for the bravery and strength that you’re showing simply by being here, and sharing. It’s a great start and we’re glad you’re here, with us.
 

Mary Johnson

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Thanks for those words Lana. I hear what you're saying, but sometimes its hard to believe that loving one's self can accomplish so much ya know? I realise that I had to put a great deal of my self esteem and self regard into a closet in order to carry out such a horrible deception, and I am looking to get those things back plus a little more. I know that there is an end but it is not in sight right now, but I do know it's there...it has to be.
I just want everyone that I have hurt by all of this to be able to move forward. I know that they will and knowing that makes it a bit easier to deal with my responsibility....it makes it easier to own it.
It's not that I don't want the journey, I do. I have never really been able to trust what I think I know about myself and I am, oddly enough, really excited about finally meeting me. But I do wish, sitting here right now, that I was at the end of that journey instead of on the edge of it. Does that make any sense? I don't know...just babbling I guess. Thanks again.

M.J.
 

Lana

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*smiles* Maybe that "end" is behind that closet door, along with the scared hurt little girl that you hid so that you can protect her. Mary, despite your claim that you were "deceptive" as to who you are with others, I believe that those wonderful qualities that many fell in love with, ARE you, the real you today. You don't have to give them up to accept the little girl in you. Instead, use them for you. That little girl is just as scared as you are and needs you as much as you need her, now. It's ok to make mistakes, it happens all the time to all of us. My dear friend and mentor always tells me, "Life is like a buffet, you take what you need and leave the rest" Take that compassion, love, and good intentions, leave the suffering.

You have not seen that little hurt girl in you for a very long time, so it's completely understandable that you feel apprehensive about it, and may be frightened. But she's not letting up, she demands your attention, and she needs you. You couldn't give her what she needed in the past because you were building yourself still. She waited. Maybe this transition is simply a milestone where she feels you are ready and are equipped with enough tools and skills to help her, and you, heal.
 
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Mary Johnson

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Jan 23, 2005
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Lana,

You are right about one thing, I do not want to face that child, the child in my past. There is quite a bit that I have ignored about what she went through. It is utterly amazing what one can choose to forget; well, not deal with, which is a form of forgetting. I don't want to go back there, even now, now that I am on the threshold of finally getting well. I want that, I just don't want the memories that come with that. But I guess I simply don't have a choice do I? My bed as it were.
I have had some difficulty finding a therapist. Most are very expensive or unavailable or both. Any suggestions? I am reluctant to rely on the yellow pages, it seems like a shaky way to find someone who is going to be the right person to help me get to the other side of this. Maybe I am being to rigid? Any help would be grand.
Thanks for listening.

M.J
 

Lana

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Mary, I know you're scared and feel like you don't want to do this. I know this, because once upon a time I was in the same place that you are. It is work, but this work is all for you, no one else. I can't even begin to list the benefits of doing this. All things that you wish for, can be yours, will be yours. You deserve it, and I so want you to have that. The hardest part is to start, the rest will flow under the safe, caring, and skilled guidance of the therapist who will have nothing but your best interest in mind. This is all for you.

I believe there are several other ways of finding a therapist.
1) speak to your family physician and ask him or her to refer you to one. If you're in Canada, OHIP will cover a psychiatrist.
2) your work may have a benefit that covers phsychologist services. Ask the benefits coordinator or check your benfit booklet.
3) There are mental health clinics set up in hospitals that care for patients who may not be able to fund therapy. Calling your local hospital would give you more information, or a reference to such an establishment.
4) Universities have clinics where cost is much less then private practice. I think those would be great to contact and find out more info.

There could be more and perhaps other members will help out by posting them here, or correcting me.

Keep in touch and let us know how you're doing, Mary.
 

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