Q: I’m seeing a counselor because I was abused as a child. I’m 19 and have been with my boyfriend for two years. I dwell on his past and the women he’s slept with,as I’ve only slept with him. I feel guilty that he’s with me when I am such a burden. Help!

A: The most important part of this for me is that you are seeing a counselor and yet you are writing to me about this. Are you pleased with your counselor? Is she/he a therapist or some other kind of counselor? You need someone who is well-trained in dealing with childhood abuse, and they should be a therapist (whether social work therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist).

You sound like you think so little of yourself… comparing yourself to other women in his past, feeling “guilty that he’s with me,” etc…. Childhood abuse creates very low self-worth.

Know that your boyfriend PICKED YOU… and that this is his choice, and it is based on his experiences with the other women. He didn’t leave you. He’s there now.

About being a “burden”…. Don’t think with your boyfriend about your therapy issues, about sadness/anger/fear you have from childhood, etc. Notice that I said don’t Think with him about this. I didn’t say you should hide your emotions or anything like that. It’s just that things get very confusing when someone basically says “I’m feeling bad and I don’t know why.” When we are feeling that way, we need to talk to a therapist – and we need to avoid using a lover as if he is a therapist. This is the only way I can imagine you to be a “burden” on him. Otherwise, he’s with the woman he Wants to be with, and I assume he has made a Wise choice – since we all have problems and it’s only the Healthiest among us who seek help!

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