Ask BR: How Can I Have a Loving, Lasting Relationship When I Believe I Will Always Be Let Down?

I was adopted within my family as a baby.  It all came to light when I was 16.  I'm now 48.  My siblings and cousins seem to hold a grudge against me, because I was adopted and they believe that I had a better upbringing than they did.  I feel I'm paying for the family's decision that I had nothing to do with. I have no trust or faith in anyone, as I believe I will always be let down. How do I stop this pain and actually have a loving relationship that will last?  I am about to get my fourth divorce. I hurt all the time. Thanks. 



These sound like deep issues to address in psychotherapy, and I wouldn’t count on guided imagery alone to turn this around. Seems to me this scenario could use what they call in Recovery circles a “fearless moral inventory” on your part, where you focus your mind on how you’ve likely fallen into repeating patterns of behavior that have resulted in one disappointment after another with relationships. 

At 48, you won’t get very far laying this at the feet of the way your adoption was handled by your adoptive parents or the unpleasant and unfair attitudes of your siblings. I’m sure all that plays a part, but you’re at a stage in life where what’s required is taking responsibility for your own choices and behavior since all of that transpired, and changing what you do that doesn’t work for you. Really, that’s all you can change, when all is said and done.  

More simply put, I’d quit blaming others (even if they’re blame-worthy), and take a courageous look at yourself. And for that, I recommend some skillful, compassionate, but smart psychotherapy or counseling that helps you hold your own feet to the fire, so to speak. 

And in addition, for a boost from guided imagery, I’d recommend Chuck Leviton’s guided imagery for the 12 steps, even though you say nothing about addiction, (although I’m wondering if you struggle with that as well), because his work – brilliant, kind, non-judgy but down to earth - really helps with these self-defeating attitudes and perspectives. The imagery exercises created for the 12 steps are like building blocks for a viable, liberating approach to living your own life.  He calls it Inner Peace, Outward PowerIf you follow it, step by step, taking as long as you need with each step, it could help significantly. 

We also have my imagery for Heartbreak, Abandonment & Betrayal, which can be found here:  and Anger & Forgiveness. But I’d start with Charles Leviton first. 

Best of luck with this.