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Ask Dr. SchwartzAsk Dr. Schwartz:
Psychotherapy and Mental Health questions

Past Following me For the Worse

Sun, Jul 15th 2012

Hi Doctor,

I feel as if my negative past experiences have dictated how I live me life and somehow, as hard as I try, with previous and extensive counseling, I can't shake it off.

I should start by saying my problem is my incredibly low self-esteem and self-doubt. I doubt my level of attractiveness and ability to succeed constantly. I have felt this way for about 6 years. When I was a college freshman 6 years ago, I lost my virginity to rape. I was very inexperienced before this happened. I never had a boyfriend. My self-esteem just sunk to a low and I wasn't the same. i felt like I was treated like a piece of garbage, just tossed out and forgotten after I had lost my virginity.

After this happened I became very promiscuous and had casual and random sex to fill the void I had inside me. I would go from man to man, trying to feel some sort of closenss to someone, that someone cared about me and made me feel attractive after the rape. Every time, I would feel crushed when nothing came out of it. But I continued on this path because I wanted to feel wanted. From this feeling followed substance abuse with alcohol and marijuana, but I cut substances significantly after graduating college and going through counseling to explore my issues.

Now, I am two years out of college. Even though I let go of my subsatnce abuse problems, I am still left with the same emotional problems. I vowed to live a life of responsibility and consideration for myself. I got a job, worked out, and took care of myself. But I still felt ugly and unloved. I had gotten plastic surgery, lost weight, bought expensive clothes, skin treatments, etc. I told myself, "now someone will love you because you are trying to be more beautiful." But my self-esteem is still so low that I can't even fathom anyone loving me. I costantly think I am not attractive to anyone, no good for a relationship, only good for sex.

I am so afraid for men to get close to me emotionally and intimately that I find myself only comfortable being in sexual relationships where they leave me after they are done like in college. I detach myself when men want to get to know me more. I get scared, back off, or don't even approach men the majority of the time as I worry they will be so offput and wondering, "why is this ugly girl talking to me?"

I just want a man to get intimate so I will feel attractive and wanted, and not leave. I long for love. I am so jaded, bitter, and sad for a 23 year old girl. I wish I didn't feel this way so I can experience what love has to offer. But I cannot love myself first, which is the first step.

Should I see someone for how I am feeling? I approached counseling once and I reverted back to my old ways even more so. I can't shake this off and am pleading for some advice.

Thank you very much for your time

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