In that short interval between our last couples' therapy session and our break-up, Liz asked me to explain what I had meant. I didn't manage to actually finish that letter before we broke up, but I still offered it to Liz. I thought it could still be of some use to her. She was no longer interested in it, as I had expected. It probably doesn't even matter any more but I thought it shouldn't be thrown away entirely. Here it is, still incomplete. I don't know, maybe it'll be useful to me, to help me remember what it was that precipitated the end of my first relationship.
You asked me to elaborate on what I brought up in our last session, in writing. I know our past attempts at written communication tended to be counter-productive, but I do agree that I am more able to clearly explain my opinions when given some time to compose them. I hope that what I have written will be of use to you. I know that some of my conclusions may be unpleasant or even invasive, but please remember that I try to understand you because I care for you.
I believe that a lack of self confidence and inner strength are the core causes of your and our difficulties. I attribute part of this to your upbringing which I believe was very supportive, comfortable, and unchallenging. Being the first born, being the only girl, being home-schooled in a tight-knit, conservative community, going to a private college, moving in with your grandma, etc. I don't believe this path challenged you much and as a result you did not develop the ability and strength to deal with difficulties and you also did not gain the confidence that comes from enduring and overcoming them.
I believe this lack of self confidence is so deep that it handicaps almost all aspects of your life. These are the insecurities I was talking about. At first I thought that each insecurity was an isolated, unrelated aspect of your personality, but as I got to know you more and realized you had issues about so many topics, I began to suspect that there was a deeper, interconnected reason for these system-wide fears, which I assume to ultimately be an issue of self-confidence.
Low self confidence and the resulting fear paralyzes you when a challenge arises. On one hand, you may instinctively doubt your ability to overcome it, or should you try and fail, then you've only confirmed your doubt in yourself. The fear that stems from low self confidence runs rampant in you. Fear of moving out of your grandma's and into your own place. Fear of looking for a new career. Fear of what your parents will think when you move in with a man, etc.
Self esteem and self confidence go hand in hand. I think that's why you have a tendency to interpret situations and behaviors as saying something about you or being directed at you, regardless of whether that's the case or not. When people celebrate Amelie's birthday and not yours, you take it as an insult, even though they've known each other and lived together for years. When I have fun with my brother or friends in Dallas, you feel abandoned in response, yet when I come home you resent the intrusion and don't want to be disturbed. When people praise my costume, you feel underappreciated. When more people reply to my LJ than yours, you complain that you have fewer friends. When friends don't include you in their outings, you feel ignored but when they do invite you, you feel burdened and inconvenienced.
I think the state of your self esteem is most evident when it comes to your physical appearance. You believe you're unattractive and you're unhappy about it. Regardless of how many times and how many ways I honestly tell you that you're attractive, you say that my words are worthless because I love you. Yet, at other times you demand that I praise your appearance whether I believe it or not. This shows that no matter how frequently or strongly I say you're beautiful, you won't believe me because you don't believe it yourself, but you still ask me to correct something that is beyond my reach. I believe you put such low worth on your personal appearance because doing otherwise requires strength, confidence, and motivation that you don't have or won't summon.
It's difficult for me to determine what it is that you lack when there is a challenge or obstacle to overcome. The strength, the ability, the motivation, the desire, the courage, the will . . . it could be any or many of these. All I know is that often you seem unable or unwilling to act. You avoid or ignore the problem instead. When you started going out with me you avoided telling Allen for months until he forced you to face it. When you said you were going to see your ob/gyn about possibly libido/birth control stuff, you made excuses for months. You don't tell your parents we're living together and ask me to help deceive them. You place a prohibition on discussing any or our issues for the time that I'm home or delay discussion till we're in therapy and then have nothing to say when we're finally there. etc.
I believe you use anger to hide your fear and insecurity. Rather than risk the vulnerability of being honest and admitting the feelings of fear or weakness, you shield yourself with righteous indignation. Such as when I hypothesized that you had participated in sexual behavior with past BFs that you regretted. At the time you hotly denied that, saying that you'd never done anything that you didn't want to, only months later admitting that in fact you'd participated in those relationships and activities as a result of low self-esteem and regretted them. OR last summer when I suggested that you may be tiring of the cosplay hobby, you took insult and cited extenuating circumstances as for why you were inactive. Only recently have you concurred with my guess. Your reflex to deny in anger, or remain silent, is a terrible handicap for me towards understanding you. It has gotten to the point where I am prone to dis-delieve your heated words and to guess your feelings and thoughts when you're silent. It seems you would rather deny than be truthful and it takes me weeks or months of persistence or guessing to prise the truth out of you. How can a