June 6, 2014 - submitted by Orlagh, United Kingdom

I'm completely lost at the moment. It seems as if every person I know leaves me. My father left before I was even born because he didn't want me. I just helped a guy get over self-harm; he said that he loved me then promptly ditched me after he was better. I keep trying to look after others and block out my own feelings. I bury my head in academia and yes, whilst this is good as I could, potentially, have a shot at getting into a university such as Oxford, I feel that I am placing no importance on my emotions whatsoever. I don't know what to do.

The Oracle replies:

A lot of this will stem from abandonment issues with your father's departure and that is something that you may need to talk through with someone - like a counsellor.
Perhaps people are not leaving you, but a situation.
Your Dad left but not because he didn't want you but because he didn't want a baby. Yes, the baby was you but in the time before you were born, to him it was probably the responsibility he didn't want. I know it's not as easy as that to dismiss what happened but what I am trying to say is you sound like an amazing person so don't take that selfish decision of your dad's personally.
If you're a regular reader, you know I'm not a fan of labelling people selfish. To me it means doing what you want with total disregard for others. People can be selfish and the damage they leave behind can be catastrophic but I urge you to not let this shape your future.
You are offering support and love to people but maybe you are not showing that you'd like the same. With what's happened in your past, you may be unaware of a barrier you've created that prevents you from receiving the same? Maybe people think, as you're so capable of giving that you don't need anything back from them?
Also, if you always expect people to leave, they have a habit of doing exactly that.
Studying hard is being kind to yourself and definitely a step towards a better future but don't hide behind it - you need to look after your emotional needs too.
Don't be afraid to tell people what you want and need. If you want a hug or a shoulder to cry on, ask someone. You don't always have to be the rock for everyone else.
That said, different people have different things to offer so the guy who you helped get better needed something but might not be capable of giving you anything back. It's not always a reciprocal arrangement. I have friends that my role is to listen, comfort and help. I have other friends I go to if I need support. Try to seek out who is there for you - they will be there. If you struggle to recognise them, start by speaking to a professional for the support you need.
You're not alone in this I assure you. You need to make time for yourself and I mean schedule it if you have to. In that "me time", do things that make YOU happy. Sometimes we don't need other people to give us what we need, we can get from within ourselves. The more you do that, the more it will become habit and hopefully you will begin to place importance on it.
Over to you.

That sounds really tough but you mustn't feel that it will always be the case. You need to focus on you and the rest will fall into place. Bad things happen, but really good things happen too, if you let them. The important thing is to look forwards, not focus on the past. Allow the past to help you become the person you want to be, but don't dwell on it. Rather than thinking about all the people who have left you, focus on the ones who haven't. Look for the positives, the great relationships that you have with family and friends, think about why they're in your life, what you love about them and what they love about you.
It sounds as though you have an exciting future ahead of you and there's nothing wrong with burying yourself in academia. I sound like a grandparent here, but it will stand you in good stead!
I look back on the people from my past, those who have come and gone and I have regrets. Regrets about the way I allowed myself to feel, the time I spent on being sad that they weren't in my life anymore. 20-odd years on and what's important now is those who are with me now, the rest are insignificant. Ruth, UK.

Let's start with your father. His lack of commitment and immaturity and who knows what else isn't about whether you were lovable. His issues were instilled in him before he created a life without stepping up to nurture that life. He may have contributed to your DNA, but he is not a father.
Children base their self worth by seeing themselves through their parents eyes. What people often do who haven't received this, is find people like the parent they feel rejected by and try to win them over. Which means, you may be looking for people who lack commitment and a sense of nurturing and then try to change them into what you hoped your father would have been.
Decide to find healthy people who can have a healthy relationship with you. It may not be easy, but, remember, people show you, pretty early on, who they are. Often, people in your situation will excuse behavior in order to continue to try and fix the person who reminds them of their parent.
Volunteer with an organization which speaks to you. You might find people there who are givers and also have things in common with you.
Find an activity which brings you satisfaction and participate, even when you don't feel up to it.
Move forward and shake off people who drag you down. Be for yourself what your biological parent didn't have the guts to be for you. Love your self, nurture yourself, respect yourself. Prove yourself. You are worth everything. Jamie.

Sometimes the answer lies in the questions we ask. You said, 'I keep trying to look after others and block out my own feelings.' It is time you pay heed to your own feelings first, before you begin to look after others. Charity, they say, begins at home. And it really does.
No matter how tragic things have been, please realise the act of your father or this guy does not define who you are. Revel in the person that you are despite the circumstances. You have clearly shown you can turn the negative energies into something positive like in your studies and find yourself standing at the threshold of a great future. Celebrate that.
Look after yourself for a change. Indulge in things that make you happy; whether it is gardening or dancing to Coldplay or whatever you fancy. Be more of you. Enrich your 'self'.
Often in our miseries we fail to notice the people around us who truly care for us. Appreciate them. Don't let them feel neglected like you are feeling now because of someone else.
It can be hard to believe that so much suffering can come to one person. But when we see, how we don't even compare to the sufferings of people in other parts of the world, we realise how fortunate we truly are to be alive at all.
Perspective is a tricky thing. But it makes the life we live all the more easier to understand and appreciate.
Rex, India.

I really think I know what you are feeling; I have experienced similar things. I had a close friend who was in a dark place. I did everything I could to help her out of it but once she recovered she seemed to forget about me. It really is painful to be left behind like that. I too had swallowed all my pain and focused my energies on school.
However, one of the things I have learned from listening to Coldplay is that you have to let yourself feel the pain. Sometimes you need to have a good cry, go for a long jog in the fresh air, write about your feelings, or whatever it is that will help you let it out. Then it isn't stuck in the back of your throat; you'll be able to breathe. This is when it is easier to understand what you are feeling more clearly.
In life, no matter who you are, there will always be people who forget to appreciate you. You have to let these people go. Although it is a loss for you it is also a loss for them. There are others out there who are lovely like you, and will appreciate you and treat you like you deserve. And you really do deserve it. You focus on helping others and your studies which is great but you also need to take time for yourself.
Wishing you all the best
Alex, Canada.

You find the person who really loves you as you want. Do not feel bad because in any place of the world anybody destined for you exists. Sometimes you can go so far as to think that this moment will never come but believe me, I have had some problems with my relations that neither came to a good end nor had the beginning that I wanted but of the errors it is learned. As many people say "if you fall down you can get up and continue". Do not stop your life for anybody who could not value you as you deserve it to yourself. Fulfill your dreams and sees the university that will help you to forget all your problems and know more persons. I am sure that there are more people who love you so much. Look well and fulfill all your dreams. Hugs and greetings enormously from Argentina, Daniela.

You can get through. Things may make you feel like happiness is hopeless, but your trials and tribulations will allow you to be happier in the future. This may seem difficult, but let all of your feelings in. Why? You'll have a clean slate in your mind. You will accept your feelings and it will be easier to move on.
Also, emotions are very important. But, you are not shutting out your emotions, just letting in the wrong ones. People unfortunately accept their insecurities before their beautiful gifts. You are smart. You have a chance to get into Oxford. Only a small percentage of people get that chance, which shows that you are special and greatly needed in this world.
I don't know you personally. But, just know that I love you. No matter who you are and what you've done. I love you and there will be one person that will stay with you forever. You're just finding the right person that will really understand you. You're not lost. You're just waiting to be found, and someone will most definitely fulfill that need. So, don't worry, be happy. If you are able to help someone else get through his or her personal trials, you will too. You are a wonderful person and you will find your way. Amy.

I'm sorry that you're going through this rough patch! You mentioned two different problems, so I wanted to address them separately.
Part 1
I cannot pretend to imagine that I understand how you feel, but I can imagine that it's heartbreaking to feel as though every time you turn around, people are leaving you. However, if you focus on those who leave you, you'll never be able to focus on those who are standing right in front of you. I like to think of people as flowers. Some people in life are like annuals; you can take care of and nurture that flower to the best of your ability, and it would still die within a year. It's fickle and leaves, just like some people in life. Others, however, are like perennials. You could leave them alone and they would still return year after year. Cling to the perennials in life because they will stay by you, year after year, even in the rough patches. Annuals come and go, and while they might seem lovely for a time, they are soon gone and leave no trace. Don't waste your energy trying to get annuals back, but reach out to the perennials in your life.
Part 2
Balance is the key to happiness. You are more valuable than your academics. It's healthy to sort through your emotions; if you bury a piece of a broken watch, is it ever really fixed? Take time for you.
Good luck! Brooke.

I can understand why you're lost and might feel abandoned. You went through some tuff times, but you should not let that get in the way of your life and happiness, and most of all you shouldn't try to block your feelings by studying. Our emotions are one of the things that make us human it's a part of us that can make us really happy or really down. Don't be afraid to tell people how you feel because of what happened. Talking about how we feel is something that connects us with each other and who knows things happen when you at least expect them. That fact that you're going to university is great and you should be proud of that. It's a place where you meet new people who can end up being friends who will last a lifetime, it's also a place where people find themselves. You might miss out on that when all you do is keep your nose into your books. You can be smart and enjoy yourself. Don't let what happened in the past control your future. I went through a rough patch myself a couple years ago and once I realized that how I choose to live my life going forward is a way I can honor his memory I became happier. Maybe you can contact your friend and ask him why he did what he did and that might give you some closure and help you move on from it. Amal.

I've read your story, and it made me kinda sad because it seems that I've encountered the same chronology as yours. Well, not very similar. God gave me a loving parents that took care of me, and He gave me many potentials of many things such like linguistic ability and musical sense. But I always underestimated those gifts because of my behavior that always consider things easy, I'm afraid that He'll take everything from me. Meanwhile, I always think that my contribution towards life seems unrequited. Even though I'm an apathetic kind of person and I don't tend to talk to people, I have a principle about helping people regardless everything. There was one of my friends, I often taught him language-related subjects. Until one day, our teacher demanded us to team up to solve a group test. I was sick the day before and he ditched me and he grinned at me " why would I team up with a weirdo like you?". I silenced, then I sincerely took the portfolio by myself. The results were quite surprising that my grades were higher than him - with his troops. Later, he respected me till the end of my middle school years. Well, I just wanna tell you that it's true that what goes around comes around. But never hate those who've hurt you no matter how wretched they are in your eyes, because it makes you same just like them.
God bless, Joshua.

From your description, you sound intellectually gifted, but emotionally, you are still the little girl who was abandoned by her Father. As a result, you self-identify as someone nobody wants instead of someone who could potentially get into Oxford which is huge. I have also used my academics as a coping mechanism which is better than drugs or other harmful behaviors. School can provide a support system that home life may not be able to provide.
Your Father not being present in your life is not a representation of you not being lovable rather than a reflection of his inability to care for anybody other than himself. Sometimes, parents stay away because their presence could actually do more harm than being absent, but this does not alleviate the hole in your heart. Right now, you are filling that hole with more damaged people.
Adulthood is about learning to evolve from the damage that was done to us as children. We are all experiments in some way because parenting does not come with a how to manual, but the jewel is realizing the root of the damage in order to create a plan to address it. With the compassion that you expend on people who leave you, you could use that same compassion to be a wonderful advocate for at-risk-youth who grew up without a parent like you. Be Well, Orlagh. DH.

Reaching out is such a courageous thing to do, Orlagh. It's often so much easier to help others with the challenges they're going through, and much more difficult to ask for guidance when we need it. The core of what you're going through likely stems back to feelings of abandonment at such a young age. When we experience traumatic events, so much of it gets stored deep within us, without our awareness. We unconsciously continue to play out patterns that reflect those earlier wounds, such as the situation with the guy you helped recently.
Just being aware of the root cause, as you are, is the most powerful step to take in choosing a different pattern for your life. Feel the feelings that are coming up, let them pass through you, allow your emotions to be there without judgment or the need to push them away. Emotions are simply "energy in motion." They need to move up and out in order for us to heal.
It's often helpful to talk these things out with someone as well. Remember that you are not alone in this. We're all here for one another, even across the seas. Sending you love and intentions for healing. Alia, USA.

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