Dear Dr. Romance,

I need to forgive myself for continuing in the care of a dentist whom I had lost confidence in and didn't trust anymore. He put a crown in and messed up my bite so now I bite and scratch my cheeks. I have had anxiety and a brief hospital stay over this. I will always have a mental and physical reminder of this. I need to "let this go" and I am having trouble. Any suggestions as to how I can forgive myself?

Dear Reader:

The first thing you need to do is acknowledge how awful this was for you. Write about your feelings, express them all. It was a very traumatic event, and you are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If writing it all out doesn't help, getting therapy will. "Guidelines for Finding and Using Therapy Wisely" will help you find a reputable psychotherapist.

If you can have your bite fixed, find a reputable, recommended dentist and do it.

Once those things are done, you need to forgive yourself for making this mistake, and figure out what you'll do in the future to listen more closely to yourself when you don't trust someone. The most important person in the world to be able to trust is yourself. You can only trust others to be themselves, not to take care of you. Once you figure out how not to be taken advantage of by others, you'll be able to forgive yourself. "Apology and Forgiveness" will show you how. "Healing: Turning Poison into Medicine" will help you heal your PTSD symptoms. It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction gives you in-depth exercises and information that will help you understand why you had trouble saying no to that dentist.

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For low-cost counseling, email me to tina@tinatessina.com

Author's Bio: 

Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. is a licensed psychotherapist in S. California since 1978 with over 30 years experience in counseling individuals and couples and author of 13 books in 17 languages, including It Ends With You: Grow Up and Out of Dysfunction; The Unofficial Guide to Dating Again; Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting About the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage, The Commuter Marriage, and her newest, Love Styles: How to Celebrate Your Differences. She writes the “Dr. Romance” blog, and the “Happiness Tips from Tina” email newsletter.