It's like I lost it

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2009
It's like I lost it
6
Sun, 11-01-2009 - 4:01pm

As I mentioned in one of my first posts on here, I just started to see a nice therapist in regards to my rotten self esteem. I've only seen this man a couple of times, he's in his early 70s(!) but came highly recommended and takes my insurance so Iam sticking to him for now. I hope he will continue to see me and not retire anytime soon because he did mention already to me that is a possibility. It's my first stab at therapy and I am just not sure what to expect from the experience. I joke to my therapist that I need him to "fix me" soon so I can resume living my life the way I used to and so he can retire.

Quick background and how it all came about:

I've lived my life so far in a fairly "normal" way, my parents are educated middle class, there was never any violence or abuse in the home. My parents were never very emotionally involved in my upbringing but rather practiced the "pull yourself by your boot straps" approach to raising me and my younger brother. It worked for sometime I guess. I was able to get through schools, college with a small group of friends and although I never considered myself life of the party, I did ok with no signs of social anxiety or low self esteem. I had enough confidence to deal with criticism and rejection in a semi constructive way by not dwelling on it and taking it in stride. My parents have been telling me for years that Ia m smart and beautiful and I will do great in life. I got through my early 20s taking mediocre low paying jobs in restaurants, usually hosting and waitressing, whatever paid the bills. I finished school, had a few of failed relationships, one left me in deep depression for 6 months (it was the first time I was rejected and not the other way around) but I got over things within a reasonable amount of time. Life moved on, I felt good most of the time.

And then something happened...

At around 26 years old I moved into my first home I purchased on my own, my first very proud moment. 2 bedroom condo, only 1400 square feet, yet- I thought I could conquer the World. I worked so hard to get there. My happiness lasted exactly 6 months. One beautiful sunny day last Spring, I was minding my own business, doing the laundry, had my windows to the bedroom open when I over heard conversation my next door neighbors were having with one another. IT WAS ABOUT ME. I heard every word, loud and clear. I don't think it was meant for me to hear this conversation hence they almost tried to whisper. But as soon as I heard my name, I got down on the floor, pressed my head to the wall by the window and I listened to the most hurtful comments about myself I have ever heard. My eyes still fill with tears when I think of this image in my head of that day- me laying on the floor, insecure, wanting to understand why my own neighbors have such negative things to say. Basically, the comments that were made were that they didn't think that I was a nice person, that I gave them the impression that I was snooty. What put a knife through my heart is when my one neighbor said to the other "well, I guess you don't know what kind of psychos live next door to you." This comment killed me. I called off sick from work the next day, I laid on the floor of my bedroom and I cried for straight 24 hours. I kid you not, hearing those things about myself devastated me. I have never been the same. SOmething died inside of me ever since.

It's been over 6 months since this happened and I still can't get it together. I barely function. I've analyzed my life in 300 different ways and constantly keep asking myself if I really am so hated by everyone? Most of the time the answer I come up with is yes.
What doesn't help is knowing that I HAVE been called snooty and arrogant before by others. Most of the time I brushed it off knowing that it's not the worst thing to be called and with my own admission, I do posses certain characteristics that may be considered snooty such as liking nicer things, behaving a little distant when meeting new people. That;s one thing. The comment about me being a psycho, however unjustified, still bothers me. The obsessive thoughts in my head want to know IF I am really being perceived as crazy by others, I just haven't had the chance to hear them say it. For the past 6 months I've been analyzing ALL of my previous relationships and interactions with people in my life, starting wiht teachers and friends from grade school! All of a sudden, comments that were made about me in third grade came back to me. Of course, I started recalling the negative comments, not the positive ones.

The reason I mention my first batch of jobs in my early twenties is that I realized that I was fired from most of them (5 out of 7) for things like "you're not the right fit", "you don't seem happy here" and "you did not do superior work here, we have to let you go". So no concrete reasons like you were late all the time, something that I could explain to myself easier, something I can correct in the future.

Almost 10 years after it happened, for the first time in my life, I am ANALYZING why I really lost those jobs and if people really hate me. I've convinced myself that based on what I heard the neighbors say, this is how most people feel about me, no one has ever confronted my on it.

As far as the neighbors, I've been avoiding them. I get my mail when it gets dark outside. We say a quick hi but I cannot stop and chat because now I KNOW how they really feel about me, so why fake it?

I am not sure how to present this situation to my therapist. I have no idea if this is a self esteem issue of some sort of biological reason behind this long depressive behavior triggered by ONE episode? I don't understand what happned to me. Do you have any ideas for me?

It goes without saying, this experienced made me obsess over things like: what people really think about me, have I always been perceived this way and am I going crazy because they occupy my mind most of my awake time.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2006
Mon, 11-02-2009 - 11:43am

next time you see your neighbors, why not just ask them about the comments? wouldn't you feel better if you did that? we can figure out what you could say to them.


it sucks that you overheard two out of a billion people in the world say something mean about you, but you don't know why they said it or what the underlying circumstances were (maybe one of them was tired or PMSing or having a bad day, or they think that YOU don't like THEM). i'm not trying to defend your neighbors by any means, but people say stupid things all the time without a second thought and you can learn how to laugh it off or at least just take it with a grain of salt. i think that by overanalyzing you use up too much energy that could otherwise be used for something good (and most of the time it's worrying over nothing). it really would be to your benefit if you could stick it to them.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2009
Mon, 11-02-2009 - 12:16pm


Thanks for your 2 cents happy pants but I CANNOT confront my neighbors on what I overheard. This happened over 6 months ago. Besides, I would have no idea how to even approach this topic because ever since this happened, I stopped talking to them.

HappyPants- do people really say mean things about each other all the time? I beat myself up over saying a few stupid things in my life until this day and I'm almost 30. I should start a new post to get your feedback on that whole mess. Regret and dwelling on the past are my huge setbacks.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Tue, 11-03-2009 - 9:01am

if you can't confront them, what about forgiving them? there has to be a way for you to put the incident in the past where it belongs. you can write about it in a journal or write each of them a letter (without sending it - just rip it up or burn it when you're done). what do you think about that?


yes, people say mean/stupid things about each other ALL THE TIME. think about politics and mudslinging - how much of it is actually true? or gossip. honestly, if i had a penny for every time i heard someone running their mouth without actually knowing what they're talking about, i would be a millionaire. so i've learned how to filter it out; however, if i think there might be a grain of truth in what someone else is saying, i do my research before i react because if i got worked up over every offhanded comment i heard someone say about me then i would go crazy.


the most important thing is whether you believe what other people say. do you really believe that you're psycho (like your neighbor said)? it doesn't matter what anybody else thinks of you; it only matters what you think. remember the "sticks and stones" rhyme?

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-06-2007
Sun, 11-08-2009 - 11:58am

Nice to meet you just-aubrey.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-10-2009
Mon, 11-09-2009 - 8:23am
aubrey, i have to apologize - i didn't read your previous question (about people saying mean things) in its entirety the first time. i thought you were asking about your neighbors and what they said about you, not your regret over things you've said in the past. if i were you i would just let it go - like i said before, most things said are quickly forgotten. you maybe said something you shouldn't have, and now your neighbors did the same, so it sort of balances out, right? again, i'm sorry that i misread your post.
iVillage Member
Registered: 09-26-2009
Mon, 12-14-2009 - 11:30pm
im back to this post- still have questions and need help but i wonder if i should start a new thread?