“After a bad relationship, I feel broken and doomed to fail.”

Q—I broke up with a manipulative guy in January after an eight-month relationship. I accepted responsibility for my actions, which exacerbated the problem, and for staying so long in the relationship after realizing it was destructive. All the same, I poured my soul into that relationship and it completely broke me, to the point I don’t see myself as a real or valid person anymore.

Men are looking for real women who trust their own femininity, who like themselves, are confident, share their opinions and needs, express trust in men, etc. These are qualities I no longer possess. I would either make men feel manipulative or bored out of their minds if I got them to ask me out. Is there something I can do to nourish myself into a woman who can have a real relationship?

Thanks, I really appreciate your time, efforts, and generosity.

Sincerely,

Broken

A—If you feel this way, get counseling for a while, read the Be Safe section of my book, Dating Game Secrets for Marrying a Good Man, so you can rebuild your confidence in sorting the jerks from the gems. But more importantly, you need to start changing the way you view yourself. You are not broken. You’re situation does not define your worth. You will rise above this and be stronger and wiser. Honor and respect your emotions but don’t believe your judgments and opinions about yourself. Your emotions will never hurt you, but your judgments can.

For instance, after a break up, acknowledge your feelings by saying, “I feel sad, hurt, rejected, and embarrassed,” if that’s how you feel, but don’t say, “I will be alone forever. I’m worthless. No one will want to be with me.” The first suggestion respects your emotions and leaves your past, present, and future open to redefinition and change. The second locks all three into an inflexible and negative perception. Whether they’re true or not, our perceptions often become reality, largely because we rarely challenge or change our perceptions when we cling to them.

To illustrate this in a different way, if you were going through a hard time financially and simply said, “Things are tight right now,” such a perception would not hurt you. It reflects your current situation but does not define you or your worth. Whereas, if you said, “I’m poor,” you would be labeling yourself personally rather than describing your situation.

All battles must first be fought, first, from within and then from without. I hope this helps.

Good luck,

Alisa

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