Lots of similarities there mate & thanks for being so open. Loads of stuff in there.
Growing up my parents only had a few emotions - anger, fear or stressed - I was very afraid of my dad’s temper until I was about 20 years old.
I was verbally bullied a lot by my older brother - daily criticisms of my appearance - mostly that I was skinny or a facial feature was ugly, then when I filled out, that I was fat. It didn’t take much for me to believe what he said, and I thought I was painfully ugly.
I was a recluse for years as well.
Like you, looking back at my teenage photos I was a really good looking kid ! What I was told was all horse shit!!
I’ve done a lot of counselling around those relationships & also talked to a lot of friends in my area of work - homeless/prisoners/substance abuse.
What I’ve come to understand is that my parents seem to be typical baby boomers - which is to say their parents had poor emotional intelligence, were cold, detached, had no interest in my parents - ill equipped to be parents - so they learned poor parenting.
I didn’t realise it until I examined it with a counsellor, but my brother was bullied a great deal at school & he was in a terrible place himself. He took that out on me. “Hurt people hurt people”
From examining all this with a good counsellor, I’ve been able to let go of my resentments towards my parents. That’s very liberating mate.
I’m still working on how I feel towards my brother. That’s a work in progress!
I’m very sorry to hear about what happened with your 7 year relationship & your friend.
Like you’ve said, I used to think being sensitive was a weakness. I wondered why I felt like shit if I treated others badly, treated women badly and slept around, why I felt bad half swindling someone as a salesman.
Today my belief is that having a conscience, being sensitive & having a moral compass are strengths. I had it all backwards. Being sensitive allows you to see, hear & be aware of loads of stuff others can’t often see. It allows you to do good in the world, instead of just taking.
If you put the work in with the counselling, you’ll become & have things you couldn’t imagine. You’ll possibly be very different to the person you want to be right now, but my experience was first accepting I wouldn’t be exactly how I wanted to be - my introversion won’t go away - to gradually caring less & less about stuff like that - to becoming quite content in my own skin.
My experience with women (and the world) has been every year it’s like another layer of a blindfold is removed - I can spot good women, women who are spiritually sick, women who have a lot of shit going on. By and large, so far I can avoid hooking up with women who are bad news. I’ll probably screw up there though haha!
I tried ‘talking therapy’ as well & didn’t get anything from it.
I was lucky with the 6th psychiatrist I met - he was the one who prescribed TRT. He said I need a counsellor with a spiritual approach, he was right! It took 2 years & a lot of it was CBT as well.
You could try looking for someone like that.
I’d definitely recommend finding communities with a spiritual/self less outlook as well - volunteering then working in an area which I found meaningful did that for me. Some of those people are incredible. I’d never ever met people like that before.
I often feel I’m lucky to have a new, second life, a lot of people only get one life. You might come to believe that too. Other days I get fu*ked off that I’ve got to work quite hard to stay mentally fit, haha.
Hope that’s food for thought It’s not my wisdom, I’m just repeating what was taught to me.