I’ve always found it very hard to trust people, which affects my friendships as well as my relationships with men.
I seem to sabotage any close relationship by being suspicious and paranoid or just going cold on people and not being there for them. It just feels too risky to get close to anyone.
My parents split up when I was eight, which had a huge impact on me, and my mum was never really there for me after that. She was always working or out at night, leaving me with the teenage babysitter next door.
I’ve barely seen my dad since he left us, apart from on a couple of occasions when he showed up drunk with a birthday present weeks after my actual birthday.
I understand that my family background probably has a lot to do with why I find relationships tricky, but I don’t know what to do about it.
Recently, my best friend had a massive go at me for not supporting her through her mother’s illness.
I also really like this man at work, who’s asked me out on several occasions, but I keep coming up with excuses not to go.
Can you help?
I think the way you relate to people is entirely to do with your parents’ relationship and divorce. And even though your mum was present in a physical sense, she wasn’t really there for you – that will have had a huge impact. It leaves emotional scars.
Unconsciously, you’re keeping people at arm’s length because you assume they’re going to abandon you the way your parents did. These situations and feelings
you experienced as a child are incredibly powerful and therapy would really help you to work through them.
But you did survive your parents’ divorce and you carried on and you have lots of people who want to be in your life. Look, people will let you down in the future, but the important thing to know is that you do get over it and there will be other people there to catch you.
I’ve been badly let down in relationships over the years, but I’ve never allowed that to stop me from forming new relationships and giving people a chance.
If you don’t do that, you won’t give yourself the chance to have some amazing people in your life.
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