I Just Wanted to be Loved

Published on March 7, 2022

Elizabeth sat on her therapist’s couch, trying to answer questions about her life as a teenager.  She had dabbled in drugs, ran away, used men for her own ends and chronically shoplifted.  Elizabeth was nothing like that now.  She was a successful lawyer who valued her reputation.  She would be ashamed if any of her colleagues or her husband found out about who she used to be.  She would be horrified if her children ever acted that way.

As a teenager, Elizabeth felt like she was unloved and unwanted.  She often felt like she wasn’t enough and that she was underperforming.  Her parents were abusive, which made her self-esteem even worse.  She wasn’t allowed to have her own feelings or thoughts.  She was told how to think and believe in and that emotions were unwelcome.  Due to this, she was often confused about who she was or who she should be.

Looking back, she could see that she did drugs to fit in, and she used men hoping that they would love her.  It was too scary to be vulnerable enough to love someone herself; she could be rejected or abandoned.   She lacked empathy because it was too painful to feel hers or anyone else’s emotions.  She shoplifted because she wanted to look nice so people would like her.

She often wondered why her husband loved her, considering she didn’t think she was worth much.  She began to feel bad for how she had treated people in the past.  Finally, she began to learn what a healthy relationship should look like.  Reflecting on her life, she could see that she never had appropriate role models.  Her father was often drunk, and her parents frequently fought.  Sometimes the conflict would become violent.  Elizabeth was often confused in social situations because she wasn’t sure what was appropriate.  She would watch others and try to imitate them, looking to fit in.

If you struggle to find your identity, consider starting with your core values.  Understanding your core values allows you to make decisions based on what you believe versus what you should be for others.  Understanding who you are will enable you to attract and be attracted to similar others.  Are you aware of who you are trying to impress and why?   When self-worth drops, people seek external validation by imitating what they see on social media or changing themselves to fit in.  Practising compassion for yourself and others allows you to feel like you belong.

There may have been things that have happened in the past that you are struggling to forgive yourself for.  If you were to take a step back and look at someone in a similar situation, what would you say to them?  What advice would you give them?  Do you believe that you were doing the best you could with what you had based on your circumstances?

If you still struggle with shame, coaching or therapy can help you see your worth.



If you feel like you need to talk to someone, then please do contact me to set up an online session via email m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Category(s):Abuse / Abuse Survivor Issues, Anxiety, Complex PTSD, Emotional Abuse, Identity Problems, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) / Trauma / Complex PTSD

Written by:

Dr Monica Borschel

Registered Clinical Psychologist (HK)

Dr. Borschel specializes in Attachment, trauma and Loss. She is experienced in helping adults, teens, children, and families adjust to anxiety, trauma, abuse, divorce, separation, loss of a loved one, and loss of finance. This may include deciding what is in the best interest of the children during custody disputes, strengthening the relationship and communication between the parents and the children.

From Nov 2020 Dr. Borschel is only available for online consultations.

Dr. Borschel’s attachment-based therapy along with EMDR and Brainspotting enables her clients to find healing within themselves. In so doing, she can help her clients to overcome anxiety, trauma, neglect, emotional, verbal, physical abuse, and child abuse.

Furthermore, as an attachment specialist, she also helps individuals understand relationship patterns which prevent them from developing or maintaining healthy relationships. She is able to help reduce anxiety, insomnia, depression and promote confidence and self-esteem.

Dr. Borschel is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. She graduated with her Masters in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. She later moved to Hong Kong to pursue her doctorate at the University of Hong Kong in Social Work and Social Administration.

Registered Clinical Psychologist with The Hong Kong Society of Counseling and Psychology (HKSCP). Member of the American Psychological Association (APA), The British Psychological Society (BPS), and the Hong Kong Family Law Association (HKFLA).

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