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April 25, 2005


Richard Lawrence Cohen

What can one say except thank you? On behalf of all who have ever had similar feelings -- and I believe that includes most of us. And a deep bow to your friend for so successfully becoming his or her own therapist.


I agree with your ex-husband from the Central Asian steppe! These are the issues I grapple with constantly and I admire your friend for getting to those important realizations on his or her own. I am literally sitting in front of my therapist's office right now in my car feeding off of a neighbor's Wi-Hi signal and I've been having a very emotionally painful day so all of this resonates. Luckily, my therapist is not one of those who wants to dwell on my childhood at all--it's a very productive, challenging relationship. And I've recently tried that trick of listening to the barrage of self-hating thoughts that live in my head and turning them around. Even if it feels false at first it does wonders. My twist is that I try to be a better parent to myself by imagining anyone (especially me) saying to my daughter those horrible things I say to myself all the time and of course that's such an appalling thought it usually shocks me out of my self-hatred enough to step in as a good parent and assure myself that everything is going to be okay. A little cheesy, perhaps, but it works!

(Thanks for the pre-therapy!)


What you friend describes is just so how I have been coping myself over these past twelve months, Tamar. I am trying to catch the little self-criticisms and negate them. Some are more difficult than others because there is a semblance of reality to them. These I come to terms with. But the vast majority I can "see through" when I am on my guard. Still not second nature yet though. But that is what I am working on.


Nice post today, Tamar. And I could really relate to the email your friend sent you. I also went through therapy for years and found it made me worse in some respects, but fortunately I found a good counselor a few years ago who taught me the same things your friend had to teach themself. Some things you can't 'think your way out of' you just have to let go and live and be yourself, warts and all. :-)


From all your comments, it looks like some of what my blogger/e-mail friend wrote resonates with you as it did me.

Richard, thanks for the mention in your comments on your Relatively Relativistic post.


Yes, thank you so much for sharing this. It really IS feelings I'm struggling with everyday. Some days are fine and some are more black. Posts like this put things in perspective and remind me that we don't have to be perfect, but it's important that we like ourselves anyway.


The light bulb that went on for me (well, one of them) was recognizing my perfectionism. I became tongue-tied and paralyzed because I thought every word that came out of my mouth should be witty and articulate and insightful, every movement should be graceful. It was so arrogant and absurd! I was comparing myself, not so much to other real people as to, I don't know -- characters in a Noël Coward play? I wanted to be fictional! (This is what comes of reading too many books as a kid.)

Nothing relieves any of us as much as hearing another person admit to the same unworthy feelings we've been hiding. So . . . thank you, Tamar.


Amba, you bring in an importance piece to all of this that matches up so well with my friend's question: "And who are you to think otherwise?"

The idea of "arrogance" as we try and match up to fictional, models, "real" people, or whomever.

Thanks so much for sharing this part of you here.


Thanks Tamar for sharing this letter from your friend. I can relate to it as well and am trying to cope with all the negative feelings just as your friend is. I finally got tired of feeling bad and unworthy. The funny thing is, the moment I stopped worrying and comparing myself to others and focused on me and my eccentric self, people flocked to me. I meet people now who want to know me. I even meet people now who want to love me, and I never felt worthy of that in the past. So thanks so much for this post.


Ella, I'm glad if this letter was helpful to you. One of the reasons I wanted to post it was that I thought it might resonate with others too.

Nappy, I like your advice about focusing on "my eccentric self." I think that I am doing a lot of that lately and it might be starting to have a positive effect on how I view myself ... I'll keep you posted!

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