Do you have this obsession too?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2005
Do you have this obsession too?
20
Tue, 06-02-2009 - 6:09pm

I'm fairly young, healthy, had some luck in my life, yet all of a sudden (about a year ago) my self-esteem took a complete nose dive and I found myself in a very foreign to me territory of low self-esteem and zero confidence. Wow, what a scary place to be in! For the first time, I can empathize with individuals who say they're people pleasers and care too much what others think of them. Exactly! That's where I am today, 20 some years later, after living a fairly happy life and being considered a confident girl, I've become a girl who just can't stop obsessing over what others think of me.

It is honestly rather difficult to explain how this change came about but I believe it was a progression that took place in a span of about a year and a half and various circumstances leading up to it and during it. I hope you still can follow me....

Okay, so about 16 months ago I was fired from a job for being late and although it wasn't the first time I was fired in my life, I took this firing very hard because it was from a job that I actually liked. I was there for over a year doing very well until a new manager showed up and decided to pick on me for various reasons (one time he sent me home because he said I was wearing a see through shirt- I kind of was but no one else found it offensive and it's not as we worked in a monastery but a regular office setting). I battled with the manager for months, wanted to quit but in the end he canned me and used the excuse that I was 2-5 mins late a few times within a period of a month. I later found out that he was mean to someone else after I left but that person had a totally different reaction to the treatment, that person was very savy in documenting every incident with the boss, did not talked back to him, just complained to teh HR and the mgr eventually backed off. My biggest regret is that I shoudl have done the same as it seems like a more prefessional and mature approach. Oh, and that person still works there and probably gained much respect from everyone. Meanwhile, I will always be the girl who got fired.

So that's just the beginning of when my emotional problems started. Then I started working for a small business where the group was so small, I quickly formed a tight friendship with one person and after I left that company we wrote emails back and forth and she even invited me to her birthday party. I came, had a great time but then she decided to end thet friendship because she never responded to my emails. That was months ago since I have heard from her. I never found out why she decided to cease all communication but obviously, after sending a couple of emails to her and not getting a reply back, I assumed she did not want to be friends anymore. That's when my self esteem started to sink even lower and right around that time I started to question myself, whether I am the kind of person people would like to be friendly with.

I started to analyze ALL of my previous relationships and decided that I never really had any true friends. At least not the kind you see in films where a good friend brings you chicken soup to your house when you have a cold.... I know, silly example but Im sure you know what I mean.

Then I had a couple of other incidents in my own neighborhood- neighbors not inviting me to parties and generally not being nice to me. That I believe is because I had a fight with one of them over dog poop (I wrote to the association complaining about my next door neighbor) and ever since (a few months ago), I've noticed that the neighbor must have told everyone to stay away from me. I even overheard a conversation that one of my neighbors was having on her deck and my windows were open so I heard her say clearly "Amanda is such a stuck up bitch, she thinks she is animal cops or something"..... That;s how I knew for sure why I was getting that treatment from the rest of the neighborhood.

I can go on and on but I must go to my college class in a few minutes. I would like to add more to my story because there are a few relevant details about this. If yo have read my story this far- thanks for reading and I hope I can generate some comments before I add to this.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Wed, 06-03-2009 - 9:47am

yeah, i feel that way sometimes. what i'm learning though is that you have to be careful with the all-or-nothing thinking (e.g., "nobody likes me", "i've never had any true friends", etc.). that is a hole that you never want to dig yourself into. is it really true that you've never had any true friends? (and not the kind that hollywood thinks you should have. i hate how female friendships are portrayed in movies.) i'm noticing that friends (even good friends) often come and go as you move or change jobs

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Wed, 06-03-2009 - 5:47pm

Welcome thegreenearth.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2005
Thu, 06-04-2009 - 7:37pm

Thanks for responding. I've read a few of your responses to others and I think you are exactly what this board needs- someone mature and with life experience. So many of us are so lost in our own journey, sometimes what one needs to hear is simply some common sense advice. Or perhaps just another perspective on life and its problems.

So I guess, back to my "story" and trying to verbalize what exactly I'm going through, from the little comprehension I myself have about it all. I think I started developing depression and anxiety symptoms about a year ago- the kind I've only read about before they started happening to me. Maybe not the clinical depression kind, where you cannot get out of bed and lose your appetite but the situational depression kind (I think that's what it's called), where it's triggered by an event, which in my case there were several. Majority of them I've listed in the initial post but a few others really had to do with criticism I received over the past few months from co-workers, superiors and clients. For me it all sort of added up and felt like I couldn't take it anymore at some point. I just started doubting my own talents and abilities and pretty much "convinced" myself that no one likes me or respects me. I know someone on this board already mentioned that it's a slippery slope when the thoughts of "everyone hates me" arrive and I believe that I've already hit that bottom because my insecurities have turned to an almost paranoia of "I know ALL people who know me don't like me", "Iam not a likable person", "I've done so many bad things in my life", etc.

So to break it down for who ever is reading, the chain of events was something like this:

- i lose the job and i mourn it for months, beating myself up with coulda, shoulda, etc. feeding into the fact that i stayed in touch with a couple of former co workers who would tell me things like "yeah, everyone thought you were such a rebel, such a bitch, you did not care about what others thought of you". So yeah, it's funny to me learning that the perception I apparently gave out is that I did NOT care what others thought of me, yet I knew deep down how much had work maintaining that attitude required because I would go home and over-analyzed every stressful event at work. And then I would beat myself up for various things I've said/done.

-i started feeling rejected by neighbors and although I've never actually had a close relationship with any of them, I know majority of them were able to develop couple of cliques- the kind I will never be a part of and it bothers me, all because one neighbor
decided to "ban" me by bad mouthing me. See, the thing is, a couple of years ago, this type of an incident wouldn't bother me but for some reason, this time around it does and I cannot understand why. It's like I've become desperate for acceptance by others and unfortunately, this need turned into an unhealthy obsession as well.

-finally, I've been struggling with accepting other peoples negative opinion of me, for example, not that long ago I had a couple of clients who complained about me to my boss (I manage commercial accounts for work). One client was a woman who turned out to be a complete two face- smiling to my face and later making a complaint to my boss that I wasn't symphathetic to the fact that they had a fire in the building and yet I was calling them to collect $$ they owed to my company

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2005
Thu, 06-04-2009 - 9:47pm

oops, I did it again
I posted incomplete post
i just can't get it together today
I'm actually writing this on another screen and then copying and pasting and not all teh text got highlighted...

I think I should probably group it all together into one (albeit long) post

bare with me....

so in summary, I've been extremely sensitive to what others say about me

As with that last person I was talking about, after she complained about me to my boss, I realized that during our 'friendly" days she revealed to me that she did not like my boss either so next thing I did my moment of anger is I sent an anonymous email to my boss letting her that I know THAT person is speaking ill of them. Is that petty, borderline childish of me or what? As soon as I sent that email, I started feeling worse, not about that it may hurt someone's feelings but that it somehow may be found out that it was me who sent it
and so that incident put me into a deeper depression/anxiety state
that was weeks ago and I still think about it at least once a day

going back to the woman I was friends with at my old job, I obsess over why she decided to cut me out of her life, there's no reason, from what I can tell
then I think about other people who just stopped calling/writing over the years, I actually know quite a few of them

For the first time in my life I am wondering what I've done to not deserve someone's love and friendship

I have 2 cousins who recently showed up at my baby shower after I haven't spoken to them for about 5 years because we somehow lost touch (no one moved)
They showed up for the obligatory first part of the shower but then couldn't wait to get out. When I asked them "hey, we shoudl hang out sometime", they both just politely nodded, said "sure" but did not take the initiative to exchange new phone numbers or set anything up so I know they did not mean it, probably another 5 years will pass before I see them

I suppose there are many other example I can cite here but overall, I feel so bad about myself as a person. I am not a shallow individual, although I do like nicer things like high end cars and expensive clothes. I do care tremendously about the environment and I love animals more so than some people. I am passionate about so many things: film, history, literature and I think I am semi well read in classic literature. What I'm trying to say is that I can hold a conversation with someone beyond a small talk and I've always been proud of that. Recently, none of it matters because in my own little corner of the World I cannot seem to find peace and happiness....

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Fri, 06-05-2009 - 3:38pm

"I cannot seem to find peace and happiness.... "


Maybe you have been looking in the wrong place.

dragonfly siggy

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2005
Fri, 06-05-2009 - 3:59pm
Can you elaborate on that?
Do you mean that seeking the acceptance of others is what I've been doing?
Is it like that saying that if you look for constant approval you'll never be happy?
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2005
Fri, 06-05-2009 - 4:09pm
what were you fired for? was it something you could have prevented? how long did it take you to "get over" the incident and what helped in the process?
iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Fri, 06-05-2009 - 10:34pm

Sure.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-21-2005
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 10:54am

This is common? Somehow I find it hard to believe but maybe I just don't know enough about depression since this was the first time I got really hit hard with something that has been lasting THIS long. I wonder how other people cope with this? Do they start drinking, gambling, etc?

Last night I had a conversation with my brother about this. We're not particularly close but yet he's been suspecting for a while that I have not been well. His personality is different from mine- he is always planning for things, goes out a lot, always on the move and he seems to be happy with his life. He told me that I have always been a negative person and I have been very anti social lately, not accepting invitations to things, etc. I've explained to him that it's my depression that has been preventing me from acting social and he understood that but said that I also have always gave out the impression that I just prefer to do things my way which in his mind is a sign of a "difficult personality".
Agh, so I got hit with more criticism, I don't think I can take it anymore.
Last night I had some minor suicidal thoughts, along the lines of "wouldn't it be nice if I went to sleep and never woke up"? I really feel like the whole world hates me. How do I explain it? I feel like I really hate ME for everything that I am incuding my insecurities and self doubt. I wish I was that lovable, care free, funny, caring, smart, intelligent girl who has many friends and is loved by everyone.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Wed, 06-10-2009 - 12:00pm

Suicidal thoughts are not something you want to mess around with.

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