Rather than blame your genitalia for everything thats gone wrong says Annalisa Barbieri, try to work out where the real problem lies
Back in my youth, my love life was a string of rejections, based on lack of confidence in my physical attributes( 6ft 4in, reasonably attractive, bright, humorous, caring, but with dangly bits a hamster would be worried about ). It was ego-bruising, getting giggled at. I’d avoid beach holidays, changing rooms and even ran away from uni to avoid the shame.
Moving back to the capital, a miracle happened: two women I’d become friends with decided to stay the night, on different days, the same weekend. Who was I to say no? They were lovely and I felt safe. And, amazingly, they wanted things to continue. It was the most wonderful hour- but after four years of a heart-wrenching triangle, it was over. I’d lied, cheated, oscillated and hurt everyone, until my self-respect, friends, undertaking and trust had faded. I wasn’t the same person I had been.
I got back along with one of the women but things weren’t the same. Now here I am, 30 years and a string of uninteresting undertakings afterward, in an unhappy marriage, retired, with dodgy health and my only positive memories being from 35 years ago. I’m in my 60 s, live in the sticks and am bored out of my mind. I’ve tried joining clubs and do volunteer work but it’s not giving me what I want or require( if merely I knew what that was ). Every night I pray that I don’t wake up, as I’ve not the guts to aim it all. What to do ?
Being chuckled at for something as fundamental as the size of your genitalia must have been traumatising. But I do wonder about the accuracy of your description( of your penis size )? After all, you shied away from situations that may have helped you see that genitalia come in all shapes and sizes, and for four years you had two women opposing over you.
There was a line in your letter that gave me intermission:” I felt safe .” I get the impression your life didn’t- doesn’t- feeling safe? If so, can you work out where that feeling comes from?
I am really interested in this “before” and then “after” day, and can’t fully understand how and why you were so different after the episode with the two women. Why was it so catastrophic? Mostly, I get this sense of you looking in at their own lives like someone watching a conveyor belt go by, powerless to take what you want.
I consulted psychoanalyst Susan Godsil. She was struck by how” your best memory was of something exciting but empty , not of building something in your life you can value “. Sometimes, it is the most ordinary things that provide the richest memories. But I get no sense of that with you. It’s all excitement or disaster.
Godsil wondered why you are living “in the sticks”? Is a move a possibility?” Maybe[ downsize] to a town/ city where you have more life, and people ?” she indicated.” Retiring is a challenging life stage and inevitably involves looking back over their own lives .”
But is your current depression and sense of your ageing and, as you see it, inadequate body influencing your view? Because when you’re depressed, it can colour how you look at things. So at the moment all you can see is the bad stuff.
I also wonder whether you aren’t blaming your penis for everything that has gone wrong in your life. If you could start to tackle the depression- by talking to someone- I think this may be of more use to you than are concerned about your” dangly bits “.
I am confused about whether your spouse is one of the two women you oscillated between all those years ago. Nevertheless, you have constructed a 30 -year partnership- is there nothing good about that? What does she believe? Is it fair- to either of you- not to talk about your relationship?
I think you should get your emotional health looked at: talk to your GP or find a counsellor, someone you can safely talk to, to try to undo some of your past and make sense of it. You say you don’t know what you want, but you do seem to know what you don’t want. Suppose about moving, if possible, to somewhere more vibrant. After all, all those years ago, when you moved to a city” a miracle happened “.
Don’t look too far ahead. This will stop you feeling overwhelmed and despairing. Being in yours 60 s isn’t that old. Isn’t it time you stopped being a passenger in your own life?
In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org . Campaign Against Living Miserably, thecalmzone.net
* Send your problem to annalisa.barbieri @mac. com. Annalisa regrets she cannot enter into personal correspondence.
Follow Annalisa on Twitter @AnnalisaB
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