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Feelings for someone triggering negative thoughts


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Hi I don't know if anyone can give me some advice but I feel really scared at the moment. I have historically had bad relationships, following a pattern of becoming infatuated to the point of idealizing the person I have feelings for then becoming needy and obsessive. This had made me very vulnerable and as a result I have ended up in abusive relationships. I was with my husband for ten years before we separated just under 9 months ago. He seemed fine at first but over the years it became clear something wasn't right and when I finally ended it he tried to take his own life and after a short stay in a psychiatric unit was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder. 

Since then I have been trying to rebuild mine and the kid's lives, working, running a home etc and spending time with friends. It never really entered my head that I might want to get into another relationship in future and I didn't think about anything like that till about 3 weeks ago when I met someone at work who I found myself getting along with and felt attracted to. This was all fine; I rationalized it as being a little crush and I thought well admiring someone from afar isn't going to hurt. Then this guy started talking to me about stuff other than work, and appeared to be showing an interest in me personally (I don't know if this was just on a friendly basis or more, to be honest it's been so long I would't have a clue about that sort of stuff). Now I am starting to feel out of control. I went from feeling happy this guy was showing an interest in me to having negative thoughts about how I must be just imagining it and am going to end up making a total fool of myself because it will be obvious that I like him. If I try to challenge these thoughts and say to myself 'well, he might like me too', I then think that he would't like me once he knew the 'real me' who is screwed up and vulnerable.

In my logical mind I know I am not the same as I was 10 years ago. I have a degree and work in a professional role, and I have explored and come to understand how I got into bad relationships in the past. But it's like having these feelings for someone has set me back ten years and my confidence and self-esteem have vanished. I am having CBT currently but have not had an appointment since this started due to my therapist being on holiday, so I have not been able to get support with managing these thoughts and emotions. My next appointment isn't till next week and I am likely to see this guy again before then. 

I don't know what to do. It's like I revert back to being an adolescent when I have romantic feelings for someone and I didn't think it would be an issue again, but this has totally taken me by surprise. It would help to have some advice/support or even to know I'm not the only one who has experienced something like this. 

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I'm sorry to hear you are struggling divastrop, you are certainly not the only one to do so when it comes to dealing with potential relationships. Honestly, I'll say right off the bat that I'm unable to offer any great advice on the matter as relationships is one of my worst areas. Got into my first a few years ago, partner was pretty controlling, I fell back into illness after being stable for a few years, then we split up and since then I've lost my job and my health has only gotten worse. I'm always thinking about dating yet simultaneously it is one of my triggers. If I end up befriending a lady, find them attractive, and get on well, then I instantly go into future thinking and shoot down the relationship before anything's even really started. And then soon enough it's been a couple of months since I've last spoken to them.

I think the only advice I can give is to simply go at your own pace. Try not to overthink things too much, allow the pace to flow naturally, and if you're both interested and compatible and things will work themselves out. Don't allow those negative feelings to get in the way of meeting him if you're comfortable in doing so. And then once your therapist has returned from holiday, you can get additional support from them. I hope all goes well.

 

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Thank you for your reply. It's helpful to know that I am not alone in this. I think it has been worse as I haven't seen him this week and this has given my imagination the opportunity to run away with itself. 

It sounds like you have had a difficult time. It's sad that some people think it's OK to treat others badly and when you have been in a relationship like that it just increases the feelings of vulnerability. I suppose that's why we try and predict the future, which from the point of view of someone who is ill almost always looks pretty bleak. So it gets to the point where it feels safer not to bother. 

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It's best to just let those wandering presumptions and imaginations wash over you rather than let them break you down. Certainly easier said than done, but I'd say simply live by what has actually happened rather than what could happen or what you think has happened.

I'm so used to be shot down in the end that my mind can no longer take the build-up. I simply shoot down all possibilities in worst-case scenarios, and feel just as bad if not worse because I couldn't even bring myself to try.

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That is very sound advice thank you. I can identify with the last bit, having gone through all the possible scenarios in my head and ending up settling for the one where I've made a complete fool of myself and put my job in jeopardy I have got to the stage of thinking I am better off avoiding this person if at all possible, whilst simultaneously worrying he is going to leave and I will never see him again.

I wish I could just approach things normally, like healthy people do, ie meet someone nice, get to know them gradually and see how it goes without overthinking everything!

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If you want to pursue this then keep seeing him and see how it goes. It's easier said than done but try not to give in to your thoughts so that you end up avoiding him; it kills me everytime I do that. Nor should you worry about extremes about putting your job in jeopardy. I would also say that in some situations open communication is key though that's entirely up to you; if you're really not up going to busy places or you feel unwell for that particular day or realise you haven't responded for a bit, just casually let him know 'oh sorry, I've been so busy lately' (or something like that). You don't have to indulge anything further until much later on, and even then only if you want to. Most of these issues can simply be seen as 'quirks', and will be accepted by most people as they appreciate you being honest and open in this way. Just be careful it doesn't end up in you constantly apologising for your ways, as that's an easy slope to slide down :P

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It's kind of scary you have picked up on the apology thing, I have already been guilty of that even just approaching him to speak to him I have apologised for bothering him! He even told me I didn't need to say sorry. 

I don't know what I will do. He is back this week and I will have to speak to him so I can't avoid him but I don't know how I will react if the conversation wanders away from work. My mind has been all over the place so much I don't know if I can act normal. 

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Just thought I'd update. To cut a long story short he asked if I wanted to go out sometime. It's been arranged etc and I should be happy but I feel like I'm crashing. I am so scared I'm going to make a fool of myself and mess everything up I've convinced myself he has seen me for what I am and is going to change his mind. I have been over this during my cbt session but I don't feel any different. I think deep down I just feel I'm not worthy of being with someone nice and I don't know how to manage this. 

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