I’m Nothing without Him

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I’m 16. Almost a year ago today I met the person I fell in love with and wanted to be with for the rest of my life. When no one else cared, he was by my side. He came into the nurse’s office last year on my birthday and sat with me when the nurse saw my scars on my arm from cutting and called my mom.
This boy knows everything about me. I knew everything about him. We were always together. We, naively, planned out our future and everything. I lost my virginity to him as well. He’s a 10th grader at my school. I’ve never really had that many friends, and so with him i always had someone to sit with, someone to talk to, and someone who generally loved me for who i was.
I guess, over the next 6 months that we were together, i got to be too much for him. I’d get paranoid over other girls. And cry. I’d be afraid that i said or did something stupid. And cry. I’d get insecure about myself. and tell him about it, stupidly, because we were very open with each other. I cried all the time. It drove him insane.
It was a long extended period of breaking up, but sometime in March (2012) we were finally done. I had to take off the promise ring he gave me and we both cut off the rope bracelets we’d worn since the previous July- sailor bracelets that we shrunk in the water together that said we’d always be there for each other no matter what.
Now I’m all alone. It’s been two months, but I’m still crying myself to sleep every night. I have really low self-esteem too, so I look in the mirror and hate myself. Not only was I not good enough for him, I wasn’t good enough for any of my friends I’d gotten close too over the year. Now i stand alone every morning. Sit alone at lunch. My ex knows how I feel, and he doesn’t care anymore. He longs after all these other girls that don’t like him back. Not a lot of people liked him either, that’s why we got so close so fast i guess.
Now, I barely talk to any of my friends. I know i shouldn’t feel so bad about this “it’s just a stupid breakup, get over it” but I swore to God I’d found the one. No one else will ever be able to take that place. I still talk to him occasionally, but we’re not open with each other anymore. I want to tell him how I feel. I wish I could. I want to ask him what finally made him decide he doesn’t love me anymore. I have no desire to meet new boys. No desire to talk to anyone. I can’t get myself to do homework. It’s just not worth it. Every day without him in my life is a nightmare and I feel like nothing. I know “oh just grow up and you’ll forget all about him” But I’m stuck inside these memories and something needs to change. I’m not myself anymore. I’m empty. I have no strife for life. I just need some help.

A: You’re right. You do need help. You made a common mistake. You thought dependency was love. It’s not. You and your boyfriend both have trouble making friends, dealing with feelings, and liking yourselves. In each other, you each found a person who could understand and you clung together to make things seem okay. Things weren’t okay. You’re still not okay. I imagine neither is he.

I don’t have enough information to even guess why you got to 16 with so little sense of self and such low self-esteem. Something is lacking in your education about how to get along in the world. Somehow you didn’t develop the skills necessary to deal with the social scene or your own feelings.

The good news is that you are young. You haven’t wasted 40 years sitting in this pit of self-dislike. With some therapy, you can learn to love yourself — which is, after all, the first requirement for finding someone who can love you. Please talk to your parents, your school counselor, or doctor, or clergyperson to get help in finding a therapist who likes working with young people.

It was brave of you to write your letter and to ask for help. Now please do the next step and get the help you need. I suggest you take your letter with you to your first session. It will help jumpstart your work with your therapist.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 May 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). I’m Nothing without Him. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/05/28/im-nothing-without-him/