(Permission by client granted; names and details changed.)
Jill is a single and successful 34-year old female of mixed heritage who had been traumatized by being in a relationship with Greg, an alcoholic. Jill wants to regain the self-respect that was destroyed by being in a relationship with an active alcoholic. She wants to be able to be herself without walking on eggshells, determine her own needs, and create equal and mutually supportive relationships that contribute to her happiness and self worth. She ultimately wants to attract and be attracted to a healthy partner
Growing up in a home that experienced the shame of discrimination, Jill learned to hide her needs, yet felt pressure to visibly achieve in both academia and athletics. Acknowledgment and parental support of Jill’s needs were missing in her family environment. Additionally, Jill’s father alternately adored and emotionally abused Jill, causing her as an adult to move into vulnerability and neediness whenever a partner became unavailable or critical. Consequently, Jill complies with the needs of others at the expense of her own needs. Jill states that she is not even sure what her needs are. She grapples with feeling “less than”, and struggles with anxiety and depression as a result.
Over the past year I have helped Jill learn to value herself and know that she is deserving of happiness. She is learning to witness and tolerate her feelings of discomfort when others are unhappy. No longer putting others first, Jill is learning to hold appropriate boundaries. We are processing the trauma of being in a relationship with an alcoholic who lied and was not reliable, and exploring the childhood dynamics that caused her to accept such a compromised and painful situation. Jill is coming to realize that her unresolved childhood history caused her to accept Greg as partnership material.
Jill is learning to stand up for herself. Her relationship with Greg has ended and she is identifying the aspects of this relationship that were destructive to her. She is becoming more confident and happier. Her anxiety and depression are lessening significantly. She is modifying her existing relationships, and creating new friendships that are trustworthy and supportive. She no longer tolerates disrespectful behavior from others. She is becoming empowered in her life and relationships and is looking forward to attracting the right partner into her life.
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