NYC Psychotherapist Blog

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How to Stop Worrying By Rewriting the Story You've Been Telling Yourself

I've written prior articles about worry, including: How to Stop Worrying: What is Chronic Worrying and Steps You Can Take to Stop Worrying.  Today I'm focusing on the stories you might be telling yourself that are causing you to worry, and how you can stop worrying by rewriting these stories.

Rewriting the Story You've Been Telling Yourself

People who tend to worry often tell themselves negative stories about what could happen in the future.  Sometimes, this is based on prior experiences and other times it's based on the imagination.

Worrying is often habitual--the more you do it, the more you're likely to continue to do it, so it's important to have some tools to overcome this habit.

One way to overcome habitual worrying is to become aware that you're telling yourself a particular story, and this story often has no basis in fact.

Once you've become aware that you've developed a habit of telling yourself negative stories that cause you to worry, you need to replace this pattern with something else, and one possibility is to rewrite your story with a different ending or several other possible endings that represent how you'd like things to turn out.

Rewriting the story isn't just a way to soothe yourself, it also makes you more aware of all the different possibilities that you're not considering when you only focus on negative possibilities.

It also opens up your mind to other creative solutions to your problem that you might not have considered before.

Here's an example:
Mary worried that she would never advance in her career.

Overcoming Worry: Rewriting the Story You're Telling Yourself

Her negative thoughts about herself kept her from proposing the kind of work projects to her boss where she could stand out and, at the same time, make a positive contribution to her organization.

Although she had many creative ideas, she worried that her ideas would be rejected, so she never mentioned them to her boss.

But she also realized that her colleagues often proposed ideas that were similar to the ones she kept to herself and they were often rewarded for them with career advancement and more money.

This was frustrating for Mary because she knew that she was talking herself out of putting her ideas forward by worrying that they would be rejected.

So, on the advice of her psychotherapist, Mary wrote out a story based on her worries and read it to herself out loud.

As soon as she heard herself read these words out loud, she knew that her worries were unfounded, but she still continued to worry.

Then, she began rewriting her story, which was a struggle for her because her habitual worrying about putting herself out there and her fear of a negative outcome had become so ingrained that it was hard for her to come up with a different ending other than the one that always played out in her head.

Since it was so hard for Mary to see anything but a negative outcome and reasons to worry, her therapist suggested that Mary write the story as if it was about someone else.

So, Mary wrote about a close friend, Susan, who had a similar problem, and it was much easier.

As Mary began to envision other ways for Susan to overcome her habitual worry and negative thoughts, she could see how Susan could be successful if she just stopped listening to the stories she was telling herself and persisted in her efforts.

After Mary rewrote her own story with Susan as the protagonist and she allowed Susan to have a successful ending to story, Mary was able to see that there was no reason why she couldn't take these steps herself.

As soon as she reread the story with a positive ending, something opened up in Mary and she had a flow of creative ideas about what she could do to write up her proposals for her boss and the what steps she could take.

Being able to see herself and her ideas in a new way was liberating for Mary, and she felt a renewed sense of creativity.

She also told herself, "What's the worst that can happen?" and she answered herself by telling herself that her ideas might be rejected, but she could live with that.  What she felt she could no longer live with was stifling herself and watching other people get rewarded for ideas that were similar to hers.

Within a short time, she gave her boss her proposal for a project to improve the organization and why she thought she would be the right person to head up this project. Her boss really liked her ideas and gave her the green light to go ahead.

Overcome Worry: Rewriting the Story You're Telling Yourself

A few months later, Mary succeeded with her  project and when a senior position opened up in the organization, her boss promoted her and gave her a substantial increase.

Psychological Trauma Can Get in the Way of Overcoming Habitual Worrying
For people who have experienced psychological trauma, it can be very difficult to let go of worrying because one of the symptoms of trauma is often hypervigiliance.

This means that the person is constantly worrying and anticipating what could go wrong, so they are constantly worrying.

For people who have experienced trauma, the suggestions that I've given in this article are often not enough.  They need help to overcome the trauma from a skilled psychotherapist.

Getting Help in Therapy
If you have difficulty stopping yourself from worrying, you could benefit from seeing a skilled licensed mental health professional.

Rather than suffering on your own, recognize that you're not alone.

With help from a licensed psychotherapist, you can stop worrying so you can lead a more fulfilling life.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Monday, May 22, 2017

A Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner: Where Did the Love Go?

I've written prior articles about being in a relationship with a narcissistic romantic partner or spouse, including: A Relationship with a Narcissistic Person Can Have a Negative Impact on Your Self Esteem,  Coping Strategies For Being in a Relationship with a Narcissistic PartnerHow Narcissism Begins at an Early Age, and Narcissism: An Emotional Seesaw Between Grandiosity and Shame
In this article, I'm addressing a particular aspect of being in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic traits, which is how a relationship can start as a whirlwind romance and end with a thud.

A Relationship With a Narcissistic Partner: Where Did the Love Go?

As I've mentioned before in other articles, I usually don't think of people in terms of diagnosis (see my article: Psychotherapy: You're Not Defined By Your Diagnosis).  So, although I do believe that everyone is an individual, there are certain general recurring patterns that tend to occur when you get involved with someone who has strong narcissistic traits.

The Whirlwind Romance
Many people who have narcissistic traits can be very romantic at the outset of the relationship.  They might wine and dine you and sweep you off your feet before you even realize what's happening.

A Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner: Where Did the Love Go?

This is a very heady, romantic time for both people involved.  They will put you on a pedestal.  Often, they will treat you like you're the most special person that they've ever been in a relationship with--they've never felt this way before about anyone else.

The relationship is very exciting at this stage and the sex is usually passionate.

Taking the Relationship to the Next Level
Soon after that, they might tell you that the two of you should move in together or plan a wedding.  You might be surprised, but since every seems to be going so well, you might think, "This was meant to be!"

A Relationship with a Narcissistic Partner: Fantasizing About a Wedding

You might find yourself looking at wedding dresses and looking at wedding venues online.

After a While, They Become Less Available
In most relationships where things are going well, some of the passion might wear off, as is normal, but the emotional intimacy grows deeper and the relationship becomes more meaningful.

But when you're involved with someone who has narcissistic traits, this is when things start to go south:  Your partner is less available.  S/he might start cancelling dates because of other pressing matters at work.

At this point, you definitely get the sense that something has changed and you are right.  What has changed is that your partner has started to get to know you better.

You're no longer that idealized person in his or her imagination--you're a real person that has flaws as well as strengths, as does everyone.

But to the person with narcissistic traits, you're no longer as attractive as s/he imagined you to be.  S/he wants the idealized person that was in his or her imagination--not the real person.  And therein lies the problem.

The person who has strong narcissistic traits is often incapable of having a mature relationship once the heady romantic time is over and reality hits.

Generally speaking, people with narcissistic traits often don't understand this about themselves, so rather than taking responsibility for their own shortcomings in this area, they often blame you:  "You're not the person that you led me to believe that you were" or you will probably blamed in some other way.

Soon after that, the relationship fizzles out because they are looking for someone new in order to recreate that idealistic, romantic relationship again and you're "old news."

It's very difficult to have closure with your former romantic partner because he or she is already thinking about how to meet the next person or is already infatuated with someone else.

What's Real?
You might be shocked to discover how soon your partner gets involved again.  This can cause you to question what's real.  Did you ex really care about you?

The answer to that question is difficult.

First, people who are highly narcissistic usually lack the capacity to love deeply in a mature way.

As I mentioned earlier, they often get wrapped up in the idea of the romantic relationship and idealize you in a way that makes you seem "perfect."

Since you're perfect in their eyes, this is also indirectly a reflection on them, so they must be "perfect" too, and together you're "perfect couple"--until you're not.

Once you begin to show normal human flaws, you're no longer "perfect" and whatever self-imposed spell your partner was under is gone.

You're no longer desirable or fun or whatever other qualities s/he thought you had before you showed yourself to be a normal human being.

Breakup Anxiety
It can be very disorienting to know that while you're heartbroken and riddled with anxiety about what happened to the relationship, your ex is already out and about looking for the next romantic partner.

Many people who have experienced this question their own sense of reality about what happened and how the relationship went from being so loving to nothing.

Having to deal with this on your own (since your ex probably isn't going to be helpful) creates breakup anxiety, and you can feel very alone with it.

Some people even question their self worth, which can devolve into a depressive episode without professional help.

Getting Help in Therapy
A skilled psychotherapist who is knowledgeable about the patterns involved with this type of relationship can help you to understand what happened, process your feelings, get closure and regain a sense of self confidence again.

So, you're not alone, and rather than struggling on your own, you can seek help from an experienced psychotherapist who has worked with this issue in a way that you can't on your own.

Once you have worked through the emotional pain of this type of breakup, you can lead a more fulfilling life with someone who is emotionally mature and ready for a full relationship and not just a fantasy.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Becoming the Mother You Wish You Had

Donald Winnicott, a well-respected British psychoanalyst and pediatrician, introduced the idea of the "good enough mother" (see my article: Books: Tea With Winnicott at 87 Chester Square).

Becoming the Mother You Wish You Had

Thousands of British mothers listened to his BBC broadcasts from 1943-1962 during which he spoke about motherhood and infant development in ordinary terms without using psychoanalytic jargon.

He dispelled the idea that mothers had to be perfect--they only needed to be good enough, which was a relief to most mothers (see my article: Perfect vs. Good Enough).

Winnicott's message is as true and valuable today as it was back then because many new mothers fear that they're going to be inadequate, especially women who had mothers who were abusive or neglectful.  This is also true for women who didn't grow up with a mother.

Their fears are that they will make the same mistakes that their mothers made with emotionally damaging effects to their new babies (see my article: Overcoming Your Fear of Making Mistakes).

The following fictional vignette illustrates these points:

When Agnes found out that she was pregnant, after trying to conceive for a few years, she and her husband were elated.

Becoming the Mother You Wish You Had

Although Agnes was thrilled beyond words, she also developed an overwhelming fear that she would become like her mother--cold, emotionally withholding and critical.

Even though her husband attempted to alleviate Agnes' concerns, telling her that she was nothing like her mother, her fears became more intense over time.

She was flooded with memories of frequently being left alone and lonely (see my article: Growing Up Feeling Invisible and Emotionally Invalidated).

Whenever, as a child, Agnes attempted to get her mother's attention, her mother treated her like she was a nuisance.

Her father was frequently away on business trips, and when he was home, he secluded himself in his study, so Agnes spent most of her time alone.

As an only child, Agnes was left on her own to play and keep herself entertained.  She would often pretend that she had a kind guardian angel, who loved her, watched over her and kept her safe.

After a while, as the pregnancy progressed, Agnes realized that she needed to get help because her fear of being like her mother began to overwhelm her, so she sought a recommendation from her doctor, who referred Agnes to therapy.

Initially, Agnes had many worries about being in therapy.  She worried that she "wouldn't do it right" or that she would be a disappointment to her therapist (see my article: Fear of Being a Disappointment to Your Therapist).

Her therapist explained the concept of transference in therapy and that many psychotherapy clients,  especially clients who had emotionally withholding and critical parents, had similar fears (see my article: Psychotherapy and the Effects of Parental Transference).

Over time, Agnes began to distinguish her childhood fears from her current relationship with her therapist, who was warm and nonjudgmental (see my article: Working Through Emotional Trauma: Learning to Separate "Then" From "Now."

Agnes never realized that the emotional neglect that she experienced as a child was traumatic (see my article:  What is Childhood Emotional Neglect?).

She always thought of childhood trauma as being related to physical abuse (see my article: Psychotherapy to Overcome Past Childhood Trauma).

However, as she and her therapist worked together, Agnes understood how damaging it was not feel loved when she was growing up and how much she longed for that as a child (see my article: What is the Connection Between Childhood Emotional Neglect and Problems Later on as an Adult?)

Agnes was also able to work through much of the childhood trauma in therapy.  She mourned for what she wanted from her parents and didn't get.  As part of working through these issues, Agnes learned to nurture and appreciate the child part of herself (as known as inner child).

She also realized that she could be the mother that she wished she had had as a child.  She made distinctions between herself and her mother, and she felt deep down that she was very different from her mother.

As her husband had told her all along, Agnes realized that she was a warm, nurturing person and she wouldn't be cold, withholding or critical.  The difference between her husband telling her and Agnes working it through for herself in therapy was that Agnes actually felt it in therapy.

Over time, Agnes also realized that, even though she would make mistakes because no one is perfect, she didn't have to be a perfect mother--she just needed to be good enough.

Getting Help in Therapy
For many women, who were not fortunate enough to have nurturing, loving mothers, their fear that they will become their mothers is strong.

Although family members and friends can be emotionally supportive and try to convince these women that they're nothing like their mothers, often these are experienced as only words.

Working in therapy to overcome unresolved childhood trauma and work through these fears can make all the difference between being an anxious, self doubting mother and being more self assured.

If the vignette in this article resonates with you, whether you're a mother-to-be or a father-to-be with the same fears, you're not alone.

Getting help from a skilled psychotherapist can help you to overcome these fears so that you and your family can have a more fulfilling lives.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.

To find out more about me, visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Are You Setting Boundaries That Are Too Rigid?

In a prior article,  Setting Healthy Boundaries, I discussed how to set healthy boundaries.  In this article, I'm focusing on how to overcome setting boundaries that are too rigid.

Are You Setting Boundaries That Are Too Rigid?

Most of the time when we think of setting boundaries, we think about boundaries that are too loose.

But there are some people who set boundaries that are too rigid and they end up having problems in their interpersonal relationships.

Signs That Your Boundaries Might Be Too Rigid
  • You spend most of your time alone.
  • Your plans don't include other people.
  • You feel lonely, disconnected and alienated from others (see my article: Overcoming Loneliness and Social Isolation).
  • You don't get to know other people because you don't open up to them or allow them to open up to you.
  • You're unhappy because you feel that others don't know the real you, but you also fear allowing them to get to know the real you (see my article:  Overcoming the Fear That Others Won't Like You If They Knew the Real You).
  • You've alienated others because you keep them at a distance.
  • Family or friends complain that you keep them shut out emotionally because you've built a wall around yourself.
  • Other people seem to dislike you, misunderstand you or feel put off by you because you're emotionally cold towards them.
And so on.

What Are Some of the Reasons Why You Might Be Setting Rigid Boundaries?
Generally, people who set rigid boundaries have often experienced prior emotional trauma that makes them fearful of allowing people to get close to them.

This can include an early history of physical abuse or neglect, emotional abuse, sexual abuse and other forms of abuse (see my article: Adults Who Were Traumatized as Children Are Often Afraid to Experience All Their Feelings).

Are You Setting Boundaries That Are Too Rigid?

If you're setting rigid boundaries, you probably don't feel safe allowing others to get to know you beyond the surface, so you might use maladaptive coping strategies or defense mechanisms that include keeping yourself walled off and shutting others out (see my article: How Therapy Can Help You to Gradually Take Down the "Wall" You've Built Around Yourself).

What Are Some of the Problems You Might Be Having As a Result of Rigid Boundaries?
We are all hard wired for emotional attachment.

Everyone has a basic need for emotional connection, even people who deny to themselves and others that this is what they need.

As I mentioned earlier, if you're setting rigid boundaries with others, you probably feel lonely a lot of the time.

You might not make the connection between your loneliness and the rigid boundaries that you set with others.  You might not even realize that you're setting rigid boundaries because it might be unconscious on your part.

You might feel like others don't like you or they're the ones who are avoiding you--when, in fact, what's really happening is that others sense you want them to remain at a distance.

This isn't always something that is clearly defined--it might be a vague sense that others have to keep away from you.

Rigid Boundaries: Others Sense You Want Them to Keep Their Distance

Due to this dynamic, there is a spiraling effect:  You signal to others, either consciously or  unconsciously, that you don't want others to get too close to you.  Then, others respond by keeping their distance from you.

But just like everyone else, you need emotional connection, so you end up feeling lonely and then wonder why others are keeping their distance.  This, in turn, can lead to you're feeling annoyed or resentful, which further signals to others to stay away.

Overcoming the Need to Set Rigid Boundaries With Others
The first step in overcoming this problem is self awareness.

Without self awareness, you won't know that you're creating this dynamic with others and there will be little to no chance of changing it.

The next step is getting help in therapy to overcome the original problem that created the need for you to keep people at a distance.

Getting Help in Therapy
Often, people with rigid boundaries come into therapy because they feel lonely, misunderstood or alienated from others.

Even if they're missing having close connections with others, they might not know how to make those connections.

The underlying problems that lead to forming rigid boundaries often starts at a young age.

It's hard to change from having rigid boundaries to having healthy, flexible boundaries without professional help.

Getting Help in Therapy to Overcome Unresolved Trauma That Results in Rigid Boundaries

A skilled psychotherapist, who is trained in trauma therapy, can help you with unresolved trauma to work through these problems so you can learn to trust and form healthy relationships.

This isn't easy or quick, but trauma therapy has helped many people with rigid boundaries and other similar problems.

I'll be writing more about this in my next article.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

One of my specialties is helping adults to overcome psychological trauma, and I have helped many people to overcome their trauma history so they could go on to lead fulfilling lives.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

When unrealistic wishful thinking gets in the way of your using good judgment about a relationship, chances are you're setting yourself up to make poor choices and to experience a big disappointment (see my articles:  Emotionally Unhealthy Relationships: Bad Luck or Poor Choices?,  Falling in Love With "Mr. Wrong" Over and Over Again  and  Relationships: Learning to Make Better Choices).

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

Wishful thinking about a relationship, as I'm defining it in this article, is a form of denial and self deception based on what you would like to believe as opposed to reality.

Let's look at a fictionalized scenario that illustrates these points.

Before Ginny met Ron at Cindy's party, she was lonely and unhappy because she had not been in a relationship for several years.  She feared that she would never get married and have children, which she really wanted more than anything.

From the moment she met Ron, she was swept off her feet.  She realized that she never laughed so much or had so much fun with anyone else.  Not only was he a lot of fun, he was handsome, charming and witty.

The first time they made love, Ginny's experience was beyond what she had ever experienced in any other relationship.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices 

And when Ron told Ginny that he loved her that first night they made love, she felt like she was so happy that she would burst.  She told him that she loved him too, and they remained in each other's arms for the rest of the night.

Soon after that, Ginny told her friend, Cindy, that she was sure Ron would be the man that she would marry.  She knew she had never felt this way before and she was sure that Ron felt the same way about her.

Cindy listened to Ginny gush about Ron, and she hesitated before she responded because she didn't want to disappoint Ginny, "Ginny, I'm glad you're having a great time with Ron.  I feel badly saying this, but I've known Ron for a long time, and I think you should know that he has a reputation as a womanizer.  He doesn't remain with anyone for long.  I don't want to see you get hurt" (see my article: Could It Be That Your Friends See Things About Your Lover That You Don't See?).

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

Ginny felt like ice water had been thrown in her face.  Initially, she was shocked and then she felt hurt and angry.  She thought that Cindy was jealous and wanted to ruin things between her and Ron, "I can't believe you're saying this to me!  He told me that he loves me and I believe him.  What we have is real, and I'm not going to let you spoil it."

Ginny continued to see Ron several times a week for the next few months.  Even when she wasn't with him, she spent nearly all of her time thinking about him and what their future together might be like.

When Ginny suggested to him that they go away for a long weekend, Ron told her that he loved the idea, but he would need to check his schedule because he knew he had a business trip coming up.

Ginny hoped that they could go away for his birthday, which was coming up in a couple of weeks.  But when Ron got back to her, he told her that, unfortunately, that was the weekend that he had to go to a business convention in California, and he couldn't get out of it.

He also didn't know when he could get away from work.  He assured her that he really wanted to spend a long weekend with her, but he suggested that they wait to plan it.

At first, Ginny was disappointed that she wouldn't be with Ron on his birthday. But then she had an idea--she would surprise him by showing up at his hotel.  Then, they could, at least, spend some time together on his birthday.

So, Ginny found out the name of the hotel, and she made her plane reservations for the night of his birthday.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

She felt giddy with how happy he would be when he opened his door and saw her standing there.  She was sure it would be the best night they had ever had together.

A week before Ron left, Ginny bought him an expensive watch that he had been eyeing while they were window shopping.  It cost a lot more than Ginny could afford, but she wanted Ron to know how much she loved him.  Besides, it would be worth it to see the look of joy on his face when she gave it to him on his birthday.

All the way on her flight from New York City to California, Ginny closed her eyes and imagined seeing Ron.  She imagined him taking her in his arms and kissing her, being so happy that she surprised him on his special day.

She also imagined that Ron would realize this weekend that they were perfect for each other, and he would propose to her.  Just the thought of his marriage proposal made her smile to herself.  Only a few months ago, she was worried that she was in her mid-30s and that she would never get married and have children.  Now, she was happier than she had ever been in her life.

When Ginny got to the hotel, she could feel her heart pounding as she became increasingly excited about seeing how surprised and happy Ron would be.

When she got to the door, she hesitated for a second and then she knocked.  When Ron opened the door, Ginny leaped into his arms, "Surprise!  Happy birthday!"

But when she looked at Ron's face, she was shocked to see that he looked confused and annoyed. Then, from the corner of her eye, she could see there was a woman in his bed.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

At first, Ginny froze and she barely heard Ron say, "Ginny, what are you doing here!?!  You shouldn't have come without telling me."

Then, he closed the door in her face, saying, "We'll talk about this when I get back to New York."

Then, as she stood there frozen holding the gift bag with his watch, Ginny heard Ron and the woman in his room laughing, and she felt like she was having a nightmare (see my article: Relationships: Falling For Charisma Instead of Character).

When she was finally able to move, Ginny ran out of the hotel, took a taxi to the airport and got herself on the next flight back to New York.

All the way back to New York, she couldn't believe this was happening.  She couldn't get the image of that woman out of her head.  She cried quietly to herself throughout the entire flight.

When she got home, she tried to reach Ron on his cellphone several times, but the calls went straight to voicemail.  And by the next day, he had not responded to any of her messages, so she kept trying him, but she couldn't reach him.

She felt desperate to speak to him and get some explanation, so she called the hotel and tried to reach him through the hotel operator, but the calls went to voicemail.

Wishful Thinking Often Leads to Poor Relationship Choices

Then, she thought she might be able to reach him on the convention floor, so she asked the hotel operator to put her through to the convention floor, but the operator told her that there was no convention at the hotel this weekend.

Stunned, Ginny hung up the phone and sat still for a long time.  All she could think was: There must be some explanation for this.  Maybe he was drunk and he made a mistake that night.  I could forgive him if he apologized and made a mistake.

But then, she thought:  If he made a mistake, why did he look annoyed to see me?  Why didn't he just tell the other woman to leave when he saw me standing there?  Did I really see a woman in his bed or was it my imagination?  Why did he tell me that he was attending a convention?

The next few days were agonizing for Ginny.  She didn't hear back from Ron and he wasn't taking her calls.  She knew that he was back at work, so she tried him there, but she kept getting his voicemail.

She debated back and forth in her mind if she should go to his apartment and confront him there.  She started walking to his apartment and turned around and walked back home several times before she decided that she just had to see him and talk to him.

As she rang his buzzer, she feared that she might see him again with another woman, but when Ron opened the door, he was alone and let her in.

As she sat down on his couch, he stood peering at her with his arms folded across his chest.  She had never seen him look so angry before.

After an awkward silence he told her, "You shouldn't have come without telling me.  What happened was your own fault."

While Ginny tried to get an explanation from him, Ron talked over her and said he didn't want to see her anymore and she should leave.

Then, he turned his back on her, walked into his bedroom and closed the the bedroom door, leaving Ginny standing there alone.  She had no choice to leave but to leave (see my article: A Relationship With a Narcissistic Partner Can Ruin Your Self Esteem).

During the next few weeks, against her pride and better judgment, Ginny pleaded with Ron to talk to her, but he ignored her messages.

Soon after that, Ginny started therapy to deal with her hurt and anger.  She also began to feel despair again that she would ever meet anyone else, and she was sure that she would never get married and, at her age, she might never have children.

Without the possibility of having closure with Ron, Ginny talked to her therapist to try to understand what happened (see my article: Coping With a Breakup When Closure With Your Ex Isn't Possible).

Over time, she realized that her friend, Cindy, was right--Ron was a womanizer and couldn't be trusted.

Worse than that, Ginny allowed herself to get caught up in wishful thinking, which prevented her from using the good judgment that she usually had in most situations.

She realized that her doubts about ever meeting someone who would love her and would marry her blinded her from taking it slowly with Ron.  She allowed herself to be swept off her feet from the start before she even knew him well (see my article: Dating vs Being in a Relationship: Taking the Time to Get to Know Each Other).

In hindsight, she realized that there were other times when Ron made excuses and he was probably seeing other women all along.

Getting Help in Therapy to Choose Healthier Relationships

Ginny and her therapist worked on her low sense of self to build her confidence so that she felt worthy of being treated well and she wouldn't fall into that trap again.

Gradually, she felt more confident that she would meet another man who would treat her well.

It's very easy to fall into a trap where wishful thinking leads to denial about a relationship.

This is especially true when you're not feeling good about yourself and you have doubts about whether you will ever be in a serious relationship again.  When you feel this way, you're more likely to allow yourself to get swept up by someone new.

When you're lonely and unhappy, you're more susceptible to fooling yourself.

There might be obvious signs that others might see where you're turning a blind eye.

Getting Help in Therapy
There's nothing wrong with wanting to love and be loved, but when you develop a blind spot about someone you've just met, you're setting yourself up (see my article: The Benefits of Psychotherapy).

If this has happened to you, rather than being hard on yourself, be as compassionate and forgiving towards yourself as you would be to your best friend (see my article: Psychotherapy and Compassionate Self Acceptance).

If you haven't been able to work through your sadness about a relationship that hasn't worked out, you could benefit from getting help from a licensed mental health professional (see my article: How to Choose a Psychotherapist).

You're not alone.  A licensed psychotherapist can help you to overcome the emotional pain that you're going through and also help you to overcome the self defeating patterns that resulted in the pain.

With help in therapy, you can become more confident and learn have healthier romantic relationships.

About Me
I am a licensed New York City psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist who works with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist.

To set up a consultation, call me at (917) 742-2624 during business hours or email me.