Medical Questions > Relationships > Single and Struggling Forum

How Do I Break Down These Walls

I am a very guarded person mean I ratherly open up and express to people how i'm feeling . I had to be strong all my life, to keep my self from being hurt. As I get older and have found out that this ids hurting me more then it is protecting me. I feel I should do something about, it because I want an family and t be happy. And the wa I acting know is keeping my lonely sad and depressed. I hate it . Do anyone have advice so I can open up to people.
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First Helper OutsideSizes
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replied November 29th, 2004
I Understand You
Hi nobleview.

*i am not sure if you are a man or woman, but I will write this as if you are female, although it can go either way in interpretation. Hope this helps.

I understand how u feel completely. I feel right now I am at my lowest health-wise, self-esteem wise, and professionally. I have so much stress and anxiety I have become depressed and a big stress factor causing this is lonliness. I have been hurt terribly in the past, particularly by my first love (high school thru college) whom I kept forgiving over and over even beyond reason. I would make up excuses for him, convince myself he loved me, and lived in a little bubble. When he hurt me and betrayed me terribly this past summer, I finally mustered up the courage to leave him. I felt pathetic- I had wasted five years of my life loving someone who did not love me back.

I lost all the youthful hopes and romantic illusions I had. I began having casual sex, one night stands, and liked the feeling of disattachment and protection against pain. These men cared nothing for me and I cared nothing for them. But I still had an inkling of hope left in me. That was until a close male friend whom I began falling for broke my trust in men all together. He was always telling me he had feelings for me but did not want to disrespect me by making a premature move b/c he was "messed up in the head" over his ex. I knew him for two years, talked to him almost every day for the last few months, and I trusted he would never do anything to hurt me or use me. Then one night I got drunk at his place (he was sober) and we had sex. I barely remember it. I was happy though, because I believed what he said before- maybe now he would be willing to be with me; maybe now someone would really want me. But no- nothing came of it...He continued calling me and complaining about his ex and acting like what we had never happened. A couple weeks later he coyly asked me when we ould sleep together again and I was disgusted with him. The only guy I ever met who didn't just want to use me for a one-night stand was talking to me like a hooker. I became distant and pushed him out of my life. I convinced myself it didn't matter and I should have expected it just like I expect it from everyone else. He still tries calling and asking why I won't talk to him, and apologizing, saying "its not his fault that hes not ready". But u know what? It did matter to me- it was hard enough opening myself up after the heartache I experienced with my ex, but I mustered up the guts and did it- but all that did was make me vulnerable to pain.

Now I have no faith in men anymore. I don't believe a word that comes out of a man's mouth, regardless who it is. I know there are good men out there, but I have never had a good experience. My distrust and cynicism are protective barriers, but instead of helping me hold on to my dignity and protect myself from heartbreak, these barriers cause me to live in lonliness and hopelessness.

The question here is: what is more dangerous- an optimist who hangs onto hope in any situation, gives people chances, opens themselves up, and risks heartbreak? Or a pessimist who prepares for and expects the worst and never gets hurt? Sure its safer to be a pessimist- its the easy way out. We tell ourselves men are liars and pigs and when they live up to these expectations we can just say "i knew it, I was right" and we're not disappointed.

But then I wonder: is pessimism a self-fulfilling prophecy? Do people like u and me set ourselves us for romantic failure by being cynics? Its like people who have impossible expectations- they want prince charming on a white horse to rescue them and throw aside men who don't meet these idealistic standards. Its silly and irrational and most of them end up alone if they don't realize they have to settle a little.

Cynics take this to an extreme and don't even consider the possibility that prince charming (or anyone decent for that matter) exists. We think that we are doing ourselves a favor, but then the lonliness sets in and we understand that our most powerful asset- our "wall" around the heart- is actually what causes our demise. This is called the icarus paradox after the greek legend of icarus who built wax wings so he could fly and be as powerful as the gods, but he got so close to the sun it melted his wings and he fell to his death. Plus, having the mindset that men are only going to hurt us makes us unconciously want to fulfill that prophecy and we tend to sabotage possible relationships or opportunities for any reason we can find. We are afraid to be happy.

I used to live by the quote,"dance like no ones watching and love like its never gonna hurt". I used to think the heart is meant for two reasons: to be broken and to be put back together. But this optimism, though often admirable in others, caused too many nights of crying and worrying and wishing for things that I never seemed to get. I was lonely, but I kept trying. And whats so bad about that? Then when I was physically exhausted from crying and stressing, when I had panic attacks and bulimia random episodes of fainting because my heart was (literally) skipping beats, I turned to marijuana and alcohol to numb myself. But when my last year in school started I knew these habits couldn't continue, so I decided that I was done- men were all the same, they all used women, and they were not worth my health. But the pain only went away for a little while. I had to replace my addiction to the weed and alcohol, because there was nothing to look foward to- no solution. I had closed my heart and I needed a new focus. So I focused on school, but since I had trouble doing my work, I decided to try taking adderall to concentrate, and it really worked. It really helped me get motivated and I did all my work and went to every class. Every free second I had I studied and that became the only priority in my life. I didn't care about my lonliness anymore, because all I cared about was getting adderall so I could finish my work. I stopped hanging out with friends, I stopped writing poetry, I cut out all the things in my life that used to make me happy- including sleep and food. Within 6 months I had lost 40 lbs.

But there was one week when I couldnt find any adderall. I began to crash. Hard. I tried a slew of strong diet pills from zetrax to phentremene to try and get that same feeling. All they did was speed up my heart and give me migranes. I snorted coke to stay awake but it didn't provide the same kind of focus addy did. I began throwing up my food because my body was suffering. The anxiety and mood swings I experienced on adderall massively worsened with withdrawl. All the lonliness I had been supressing came bursting out of me, causing uncontrollable sadness and self-hatred. I could not get out of bed, I refused to talk to anyone...I became hopelessly depressed.

That was last week. Tomorrow I am going to see a counselor at my school and hopefully I will find the courage to live without adderall by finding the courage to open myself up to happiness. I had to hit rock bottom to realize I am killing myself- not only with the physical addiction but also the mental addiction to fear and protectionism. I isolate myself and give myself zero chance at happiness instead of taking a risk and having some chance of succeeding, even a small one.

These walls we build are the enemy, not the world outside of them. We are locking ourselves in a fantasy world disguised as "realism", and that is worse than dreaming about prince charming. Optimists are brave, not us. It is when people can be crushed, and know it, but they keep on going out there every time.

My advice to you may sound drastic, but depression and fear and lonliness cannot just be wished away. You have to get help, like I am. Your walls are not made of stone, they are imaginary because you put them there. I know trauma and failure in love is incredibly difficult to forgive or forget, but our probelm is we don't want to let them go. We think that just because we don't love ourselves everyone else isn't capable of loving us and letting them in will only cause more pain than we already cause on our own. But that is not true.

Only when we learn to live with ourselves will we be able to let someone be good to us, and take chances on people, and be happy. Failure is nothing to be scared of. It is what builds character and allows us to become brave. We can still hold onto dignity and self-respect by removing ourselves from negative or harmful relationships immediately. Think of it this way- we have an advantage- we can use the traumatic experiences we suffered through as learning tools to never repeat these mistakes again. Just because someone gets attacked on the street one day does not mean they can never leave the house. They cannot sit at home alone and waste the only chance they have to live. They may have to take self-defense classes, or talk to a therapist to put this experience behind them. It may take a while, and they will be scared, but at least when they have the courage to go outside again they will be more aware of their surroundings and can channel their fear by making others aware. This is what empowerment is. We are dead right now, and we can only resurrect when we give living a chance. Living is scary and hard but it can also be beautiful and love is beautiful.

And hey, maybe optimism is also a self-fulfilling prophecy- maybe believing with all your heart that you will find love, that you deserve it, and that you don't have to be alone, will actually make you more willing and able to find it.

Please take my advice, I know I will, and we can support each other. Write me your progress, and if you need any help finding a couselor or an inspirational source, let me know and i'll help you. But only you can do it yourself.
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replied December 4th, 2004
Yes And No
Yes. After my heart ache I started doing something that I probably would have normally done. Mess with one of my long time friend who was in a relationship. Started kissing guy with no feelings involved. Losed my virginity to my first boyfriend in with I was very comfortable around but had no love or feelings for. Bascially just used. I have not used drug or alchol to help me through. My wall is up but it's been up before I was even old enought to date. My problem is let people in. The guy who hurt me. He and I are working things out and I forgave.
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replied January 6th, 2005
Response
Try a support group or personal counseling there is nothing wrong with having some kind of wall up you can't trust everyone you know use you instincts and find out what triggers you feeling and maybe if you can work on the main cause of your hurt somehow by taking it one step at a time you may be able to get through it take care
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replied January 6th, 2005
How Do I Break Down These Walls
After reading your posts I found that I can relate to your defenses, hurt and all that goes along with it. I know that a person can be with a loved one for years and still live in the most hellish loneliness.
About eight years ago while attending a ptsd group for vietnam veterans.
I dont know how or why I came to the conclusion that I did, I had quietly prayed a lot and in a very strange way, help came to me. I looked back on my life and somehow a solution came to me. I had been doing a lot of reading, soul searching and a lot of the solution, conclusion etc. Came to me out of the blue.
I had to take a really hard look at myself and found that I had to develop love within myself. This may seem to be selfish to you at first, but when all else failed, this worked for me.
I had to take a look at the love within myself. I believe that all through my life I had been looking for that special person who would love me when I couldnt do that myself. It was kind of like another persons love would rub off on me. That doesnt work. When I finally began to take a look within myself and at my self love I really began to like myself and love myself. I finally came to the conclusion that I first had to love my self before I could love another. It takes a lot of work, but now I believe I can love myself with no strings attached.
I truely believe that we all need to take a tough look inward of ourselves, our self love first before we can succede in any relationship. I need to go now because I am very tired. If any person wants, I can write more on this subject later on.
Keep your chin up and go forward knowing that you also can develop the true self love within.

Later, john
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replied March 16th, 2005
Nothingfits - thank you for posting your story...It really hit home with me.
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replied March 22nd, 2005
Experienced User
to Thecling- You Need to Read This Post From a While Back
nothingfits wrote:
hi nobleview.


*i am not sure if you are a man or woman, but I will write this as if you are female, although it can go either way in interpretation. Hope this helps.


I understand how u feel completely. I feel right now I am at my lowest health-wise, self-esteem wise, and professionally. I have so much stress and anxiety I have become depressed and a big stress factor causing this is lonliness. I have been hurt terribly in the past, particularly by my first love (high school thru college) whom I kept forgiving over and over even beyond reason. I would make up excuses for him, convince myself he loved me, and lived in a little bubble. When he hurt me and betrayed me terribly this past summer, I finally mustered up the courage to leave him. I felt pathetic- I had wasted five years of my life loving someone who did not love me back.

I lost all the youthful hopes and romantic illusions I had. I began having casual sex, one night stands, and liked the feeling of disattachment and protection against pain. These men cared nothing for me and I cared nothing for them. But I still had an inkling of hope left in me. That was until a close male friend whom I began falling for broke my trust in men all together. He was always telling me he had feelings for me but did not want to disrespect me by making a premature move b/c he was "messed up in the head" over his ex. I knew him for two years, talked to him almost every day for the last few months, and I trusted he would never do anything to hurt me or use me. Then one night I got drunk at his place (he was sober) and we had sex. I barely remember it. I was happy though, because I believed what he said before- maybe now he would be willing to be with me; maybe now someone would really want me. But no- nothing came of it...He continued calling me and complaining about his ex and acting like what we had never happened. A couple weeks later he coyly asked me when we ould sleep together again and I was disgusted with him. The only guy I ever met who didn't just want to use me for a one-night stand was talking to me like a hooker. I became distant and pushed him out of my life. I convinced myself it didn't matter and I should have expected it just like I expect it from everyone else. He still tries calling and asking why I won't talk to him, and apologizing, saying "its not his fault that hes not ready". But u know what? It did matter to me- it was hard enough opening myself up after the heartache I experienced with my ex, but I mustered up the guts and did it- but all that did was make me vulnerable to pain.

Now I have no faith in men anymore. I don't believe a word that comes out of a man's mouth, regardless who it is. I know there are good men out there, but I have never had a good experience. My distrust and cynicism are protective barriers, but instead of helping me hold on to my dignity and protect myself from heartbreak, these barriers cause me to live in lonliness and hopelessness.


The question here is: what is more dangerous- an optimist who hangs onto hope in any situation, gives people chances, opens themselves up, and risks heartbreak? Or a pessimist who prepares for and expects the worst and never gets hurt? Sure its safer to be a pessimist- its the easy way out. We tell ourselves men are liars and pigs and when they live up to these expectations we can just say "i knew it, I was right" and we're not disappointed.


But then I wonder: is pessimism a self-fulfilling prophecy? Do people like u and me set ourselves us for romantic failure by being cynics? Its like people who have impossible expectations- they want prince charming on a white horse to rescue them and throw aside men who don't meet these idealistic standards. Its silly and irrational and most of them end up alone if they don't realize they have to settle a little.


Cynics take this to an extreme and don't even consider the possibility that prince charming (or anyone decent for that matter) exists. We think that we are doing ourselves a favor, but then the lonliness sets in and we understand that our most powerful asset- our "wall" around the heart- is actually what causes our demise. This is called the icarus paradox after the greek legend of icarus who built wax wings so he could fly and be as powerful as the gods, but he got so close to the sun it melted his wings and he fell to his death. Plus, having the mindset that men are only going to hurt us makes us unconciously want to fulfill that prophecy and we tend to sabotage possible relationships or opportunities for any reason we can find. We are afraid to be happy.


I used to live by the quote,"dance like no ones watching and love like its never gonna hurt". I used to think the heart is meant for two reasons: to be broken and to be put back together. But this optimism, though often admirable in others, caused too many nights of crying and worrying and wishing for things that I never seemed to get. I was lonely, but I kept trying. And whats so bad about that? Then when I was physically exhausted from crying and stressing, when I had panic attacks and bulimia random episodes of fainting because my heart was (literally) skipping beats, I turned to marijuana and alcohol to numb myself. But when my last year in school started I knew these habits couldn't continue, so I decided that I was done- men were all the same, they all used women, and they were not worth my health. But the pain only went away for a little while. I had to replace my addiction to the weed and alcohol, because there was nothing to look foward to- no solution. I had closed my heart and I needed a new focus. So I focused on school, but since I had trouble doing my work, I decided to try taking adderall to concentrate, and it really worked. It really helped me get motivated and I did all my work and went to every class. Every free second I had I studied and that became the only priority in my life. I didn't care about my lonliness anymore, because all I cared about was getting adderall so I could finish my work. I stopped hanging out with friends, I stopped writing poetry, I cut out all the things in my life that used to make me happy- including sleep and food. Within 6 months I had lost 40 lbs.


But there was one week when I couldnt find any adderall. I began to crash. Hard. I tried a slew of strong diet pills from zetrax to phentremene to try and get that same feeling. All they did was speed up my heart and give me migranes. I snorted coke to stay awake but it didn't provide the same kind of focus addy did. I began throwing up my food because my body was suffering. The anxiety and mood swings I experienced on adderall massively worsened with withdrawl. All the lonliness I had been supressing came bursting out of me, causing uncontrollable sadness and self-hatred. I could not get out of bed, I refused to talk to anyone...I became hopelessly depressed.


That was last week. Tomorrow I am going to see a counselor at my school and hopefully I will find the courage to live without adderall by finding the courage to open myself up to happiness. I had to hit rock bottom to realize I am killing myself- not only with the physical addiction but also the mental addiction to fear and protectionism. I isolate myself and give myself zero chance at happiness instead of taking a risk and having some chance of succeeding, even a small one.


These walls we build are the enemy, not the world outside of them. We are locking ourselves in a fantasy world disguised as "realism", and that is worse than dreaming about prince charming. Optimists are brave, not us. It is when people can be crushed, and know it, but they keep on going out there every time.


My advice to you may sound drastic, but depression and fear and lonliness cannot just be wished away. You have to get help, like I am. Your walls are not made of stone, they are imaginary because you put them there. I know trauma and failure in love is incredibly difficult to forgive or forget, but our probelm is we don't want to let them go. We think that just because we don't love ourselves everyone else isn't capable of loving us and letting them in will only cause more pain than we already cause on our own. But that is not true.


Only when we learn to live with ourselves will we be able to let someone be good to us, and take chances on people, and be happy. Failure is nothing to be scared of. It is what builds character and allows us to become brave. We can still hold onto dignity and self-respect by removing ourselves from negative or harmful relationships immediately. Think of it this way- we have an advantage- we can use the traumatic experiences we suffered through as learning tools to never repeat these mistakes again. Just because someone gets attacked on the street one day does not mean they can never leave the house. They cannot sit at home alone and waste the only chance they have to live. They may have to take self-defense classes, or talk to a therapist to put this experience behind them. It may take a while, and they will be scared, but at least when they have the courage to go outside again they will be more aware of their surroundings and can channel their fear by making others aware. This is what empowerment is. We are dead right now, and we can only resurrect when we give living a chance. Living is scary and hard but it can also be beautiful and love is beautiful.


And hey, maybe optimism is also a self-fulfilling prophecy- maybe believing with all your heart that you will find love, that you deserve it, and that you don't have to be alone, will actually make you more willing and able to find it.


Please take my advice, I know I will, and we can support each other. Write me your progress, and if you need any help finding a couselor or an inspirational source, let me know and i'll help you. But only you can do it yourself.
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replied March 22nd, 2005
Omg!!!
Nothingfits - your post opened my eyes, lifted my depression and gave me the answers to why my life, is the way it is.. ....You are so... Right!!!!

...You have no idea, how your words have changed my life positively.. Forever!!!!
Thank you!!!.. :d thank you!!!.. :d thank you!!! :d
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replied April 17th, 2005
Experienced User
I can relate. I'm 19-yr and i've already lost confidence in ever being able to find a decent guy. I'm already kissing and fooling around without feeling, and then I base feelings upon this and think I actually like a guy when I don't. It just screws everything up and, in the end, just makes me want to turn lesbian. I have the mindset right now that I woud like a steady relationship with a guy, but don't actually want to do all the work of finding one and then maintaing that relationship since it 'surely' won't work out anyway. I'm so depressed all alone in my first year of college. None of my old friends are around or keep in touch, I just lost my best friend and I feel so unmomtivated academically by the school i'm at but know for certain that transferring schools would just screw up my future plans completely. I have to think that just a few more years, I can surely last. I have this optimism here, but no such faith for relationships. Going to a private school as a scholarship student and, furthermore, not a party-goer or a drinker. I haven't really found any friends except for one just recently, someone I can talk to actually and hang out with outside of classes. I mean, I went to see a movie with her for the first time tonight and I had a great time--much better than any other time i've gone on a date with a guy to the movies. So naturally I would think I should start dating girls, right? Only problem with that is that i'm really not a lesbian--tom cruise and johnny depp are still basically two of the hottest creatures on earth; and you can't beat that feeling of being embraced by those masculine arms. I have a lot of self-esteem issues and i'm really not a social person. I don't think guys like me, even when i'm dating them! I mean, I think i'm ugly, fat, short, stupid--but they say i'm 'beautiful, thin, medium and so smart.' i'll give them the smart since I only think i'm stupid because I know I could do so much better, but everything else... I can just go on and on about all the flaws with my body and personality and behavior. And despite the few bf's I have had and all the knowledge I have about how to, I don't really know how to meet guys or get them interested in me or anything as I am. Like I said, I don't party or drink--at a small, party college. I stay on campus unless I have to go to the store real quick for something or am going home, where I just run around the city doing things I can't at college or getting together with an old friend for a few hours watching a movie or hanging out at his/her house. I mean, I have a few guys here i've met and am interested in, but one just got out of a relationship and isn't ready. I've already messed that one up by revealing to him some of my issues even for when he is ready. And I don't really know about the other guy--i find him very attractive, but... I don't think i'm so, and I saw a note from some girl asking him when he's going to ask out her friend... So I don't think he's interested anyway. I don't know either how to know if a guy's flirting with me, or even know all the time if i'm flirting with him. Basically, i'm caught. I don't want to date, but I totally do. I want the relationship, a guy to depend upon and to have dependent upon me, and hang out with, but I don't want to be hurt, to waste my time, or know how to get a guy. Especially since the couple of guys i've been involved with as far as not having emotions for but doing things have truly ended up being total assholes, including one who just tugged me around and then ended up dating my sister's roommate and another who ended up having a girlfriend already (poor girl... And she'd never believe anyone who would tell her either). I've lost faith in all the adolescent fantasies and hopes, and even the not-so-adolescent ones.
Nothingfits: your story impacts me when I read it. It gives me some of my old optimism back and makes me think. I know i'll read it many more times in the future, to support me and keep me from being so distraught. I've been so depressed lately, and I already feel a little better. Thank you so much for sharing this life experience, and i'm so happy I found it. I hope you find the help you seek and something that will put you back onto a good track.
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