There seem to be two overarching issues: your inability to trust others and low self-esteem and self-confidence. Your inability to trust others is a multifaceted issue. You feel as though you cannot relate to other people. This ‘feeling’ may inhibit your ability to connect to others. It may be similar to a self-fulfilling prophecy: you believe that you cannot connect with others and thus act in a manner that is consistent with your perceived self-image. This may have been the case with your ex. In this example, the second you two became a couple you behaved (as per your letter) in a manner that essentially drove him to break up with you. That is self-sabotage.
Another possibility is that fear is holding you back. Whenever someone becomes too close it frightens you. The reasons for this may be related to trust issues. It may also be related to anxiety. As you mentioned, you are constantly focused on what other people think of you. This focus may be altering your behavior in the presence of others. Fear of what others think of you may be prohibiting the development of your authentic self.
I mentioned the possibility of having low self-esteem. Many confident individuals seem to be immune to the opinions of others. When an individual is confident about his- or herself and his or her abilities, what other people think of them is of little or no importance.
If I were interviewing you in person, I would inquire about a history of abuse. Some of the issues that you are struggling with are consistent with an individual who has a history of sexual, emotional or physical abuse. Individuals who have been abused often fear intimacy.
What is very positive about your letter is that you recognize there is a problem and are highly motivated to change. This makes you a perfect candidate for therapy. I would recommend finding a good therapist to help you deal with your relationship, intimacy and self-esteem issues. Those are among the most common reasons why individuals enter therapy. You can locate a therapist by clicking on the find help tab at the top of this page. Please take care.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on November 19, 2010.