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I want to eliminate my ‘look-at-me’ syndrome

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a female part-time worker in my 40s and have children of elementary and junior high school ages. I’m worried about how I can live a more ordinary life.

Nearly 10 years ago, my husband had an extramarital affair and later I was diagnosed with depression and lost my job, which was very fullfilling.

Since then, I have met other men via online dating service sites. Even now, there are men with whom I have extramarital affairs.

To use a trendy expression, I regard myself as “a person with look-at-me syndrome.” My memories of childhood are full of those in which I was scolded by my parents. My husband is not interested in me. Maybe because of that, I’m a sucker for men who tell me such things as “You’re beautiful,” “You’re cute,” or “I love you.”

As I’m confident in my appearance, for now I can enjoy playing with love as a woman. But I feel anxious when I think about what I will be when I get old.

You may feel I am the worst mother, but I don’t feel any sense of guilt toward my family. I hate being a woman totally dependent on men, but I feel irritated if I can’t feel fulfilled through love affairs. What can I do?

W, Shiga Prefecture

Dear Ms. W

You have a good appearance, spend days freely having fun with many men, and are surrounded by words of love. You also seem to be an attention seeker who desperately wants to attract the attention of others around you.

Absolutely, I think you have typical look-at-me syndrome and you live your life in your own sweet way. But you yourself seem to be far from a feeling of happiness.

The reason is very clear. It seems that, even if you are surrounded by things like love, you have little true love. Given that you’re playing at love and have look-at-me syndrome, your love toward others may be no more than narcissism. If you say to someone, “Love me,” the first step must be to love him or her. For this goal, you need to change yourself.

You hope to live life in “an ordinary way.” If so, what is primarily important is to love your family, don’t you think? Is it impossible to recover your relationship with your husband? To realize that, I think that the first step is to show interest in him from your side.

You worry about a time in the future when you will get older and thus your attractiveness as a woman will wane. It’s not too late. If you have selfless love with which you love others from the bottom of your heart, your attractiveness, regardless of age, will shine starting now.

Soichiro Nomura, psychiatrist

(from March 12, 2019, issue)Speech

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