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Hi I’m Kandice and I’m 35 years old and living alone outside of Chicago. Here’s my story:

My last truly intimate relationship was during college with someone I loved deeply. I had hoped our relationship would endure even though it seemed I was giving so much more to thee relationship. I held back nothing and he could only give so much. It seems to me that this has been the trajectory of a lot of my relationships, even some of my friendships. I find that I am consumed with love for them, putting them on pedestals, and wanting to make my partners happy. I want them to feel loved and to know they can trust and depend on me. I often sacrifice my own needs to fulfill theirs. The problem is that I rarely get that in return.

After much therapy and lots of deep searching I realize that a lot of my relationship patters stem from my family. I grew up in a household permeated by alcoholism, drugs, anger, and self-absorption. At an early age I was very sensitive to the nuances in my family dynamics and I was often criticized by my parents and relatives for being too outspoken, too “flip”, and too smart. I often felt attacked and hurt. I was confused because sometimes my family relied on me when my parents were being unpredictable and other times they scolded me for being “too grown”. I never felt good enough. I’ve always struggled with needing to prove myself. As a result in my relationships I am scared to ask for too much lest the person retreats. Of course, I never get what I need and I am sad to be so alone.

In working through these exercises one of the things I realized is a real gift of mine is my intuition and sensitivity. Thinking back on the pain of my childhood made me realize that my ability to sense dangers and toxicity in the environment or in my parents, and the courage to speak up about what I noticed scared and threatened others. However, this inner awareness was good for me. It helped protect me and lead me to strive for a healthier life apart from my family. My sensitivity makes me a good friend because I am a deep listener; I often feel like I hear the things that aren’t being said from others and I find the right things to say to help them feel less alone.  I’ve wanted to give to others what I wish I had growing up, understanding and stability. I am praying that through this class I will meet people who appreciate this in me and reflect it back to me.

I’m inspired by everyone in this class and I am grateful to be learning from all of you.