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How do I stop caring what others think?

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This topic contains 157 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 days, 17 hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 158 total)
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  • #296403

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    “I understand a lot of things on an intellectual level… I think emotionally, I am underdeveloped”- I agree. You understand a lot intellectually, but not emotionally. You have lots of intellectual intelligence but little emotional intelligence.

    The reason for it, I believe, is an almost amnesia of your first decade+ of life. You skipped that decade, made a short cut, in your awareness, and jumped into your teenage years. You built in your awareness an image of yourself as a strong teenager. “I wanted to see myself as strong and wanted to forget how I felt as a child”- so  you did just that, you forgot your first decade of life and you pretended that you were strong.

    “As a teenager, I prided myself in distancing myself from my parents, being an atheist and forming my own opinion”- as a teenager you were not strong, you did not resolve anything about your relationships with your parents and your opinions were not formed on any matter except perhaps religion.

    In other words, the way you see yourself as a teenager is not true to reality. In your threads, you focus on your life as an adult, as if you were a strong teenager who didn’t manage adulthood. But you were not a strong teenager.

    To see yourself truly, as you are, you have to remember what happened in your first decade+ of life, not necessarily events. Remember… you, that girl that you were and what happened in her little life. To become stronger now, you have to understand your weakness as a child, the same weakness that you carried with you all along and throughout the decades of your life to this very day.

    I hope that somehow, you find a way to see the girl that you were, understand her,  embrace her, so that you can indeed grow up, like you wrote yourself right above: “I don’t want to remain  like that. I want to grow up”!

    anita

     

    #296509

    GL
    Participant

    Dear Lily,

    Fearing the judgment of people can mean many things, but in your case, it seem to be highlighting your shame.

    There’s a certain negative aspect of having a parent or two that has the habit of blaming/criticize/reproach/reprimand/chide others for little to big things. It is actually nothing personal, or at least in the regards that your father hate you or anything. Rather, as you’ve noticed, because he cannot accept the fact of his own flaws, however small, he must find the flaws in others then berate them for having flaws. But because you’ve had to live with that and was one of his targets, it is difficult not to take on his shame and make it your shame.

    Your shame makes you fear the eyes of other because they might be able to see all your flaws and deem you as a ‘bad person’ or whatever fear that haunts you in the depth of your heart. Judgment is frightening in that they reinforced your greatest fear, your belief of your inadequacy as a person. And right now, you have surrounded yourself in a spiral of ‘anxiety’ rooted in shame.

    This incident with the missing knife (please move out as soon as possible, it doesn’t sound safe) made you question whether the people in the dorm were suspecting you of theft because of your general disposition as someone who didn’t care to socialized much. You even write that it was your fault for not socializing, or at least appearing like someone who is warm-hearted and trustworthy. But even those that smile can have cruel thoughts and the stoic ones might have the warmest heart, but you don’t know that until you have some understanding of their true character. But even that doesn’t guaranteed you’ll know a person.

    The incident itself, though, is not that important. What is important is the effect that came about because of it. For you, the effect is the shame of possibly being suspected as the thief. No one wants to be a bad person, and it is doubly so for you because being a ‘bad person’ is associated with being a person with flaws. And having people see your flaws is utterly terrifying.

    If you yourself is scared of your own flawed reflection, does it not become a nightmare that others should also see it?

    But you can’t think away your shame nor can you ignore it as it will simply come back in another form. You can question it but emotions are not rooted in thoughts as it is thoughts that are rooted in emotions. That ‘shame’ is an emotion that you unconsciously justified with reasonable doubts about your own character’s flaws. And because it’s reasonable, it’s does not seem erroneous to continue those justified ‘thoughts’. You don’t want to be incorrect, no matter how negative.

    So what do you do?

    Well, the first step would be acknowledging your feelings regarding your shame. Acknowledge your fears, acknowledge the fact that you probably don’t like your reflection all that much. And then try to be okay with the fact that you don’t like yourself all that much. While it is easy to show other kindness, it is all the more difficult to show oneself kindness, but the least you can do is accept that there are things you don’t like about yourself. And that’s okay, you do not have to like yourself all the time. It’s okay to accept the negative for what they are, rather than ignoring or trying to force them away.

    So don’t let what is negative fester, as what seemed to have happened for your father. Because he could not accept what is flawed, he could only find the flawed in other people. Even when it seemed absurd, his criticism was his personal shame. Yours is different in that you are too ready to accept your flaws yet you also seek to ‘think’ or ‘do’ away with it. But that is merely a band-aid on the open wound.

    Slowly acknowledge what you can. It is a long process to accepting imperfection in a seeking ‘perfect’ society. You’ll probably have days in which you question why you can’t just function without the heedless worries of judgment, days in which you are tired of yourself and your ego, days in which you torment yourself over the imperfection and flaws. That’s okay. Life is not without the pointless worries. What is negative and what is positive is merely two side of the same coin. What’s important is what you choose to do or not do.

    Good luck.

    #296703

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I read an old diary entry that talks of my parents from when I was 19 years old. There I see that my parents made mistakes and that their behavior was not o.K., but I also write that they tried their best and that others had it worse. Also that I was a difficult child. It seems like I had mixed feelings. One day later I write that what I had written one day before was stupid and that it doesn’t help to look at old wounds. That my anger from one year ago was gone and that I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

    Maybe that was the time when I started to change from being angry at my father to becoming numb. At that time I also moved to another place to study and I felt very lost.

    Hopefully I can grow up someday, but it really feels overwhelming and hopeless. But your idea to look at my early life sounds good to me. Next week, I will ask my therapist about it. But on the other hand, I feel like I have thought and talked so much about my childhood already, but I still don’t get it, still haven’t healed.

    Something went definitely wrong in my childhood. My siblings also have problems. When I talked to my sister a while ago, she said she felt like a burden to everyone and insecure. But she has more guilty feelings towards my father, probably because she was her favourite and saw himself in her. My sister felt like he liked her, while I felt like he hated me. And she was surprised about the things he said to me. She also remembers getting hit on the head by my mother only once, while I remember my father hitting me on several occasions.

    In general, I feel like I was treated differently from my siblings. I was supposed to understand everything, because I was the oldest. It felt like my father liked my sister, my mother liked my brother and no one liked me. But my brother for example, he was overprotected and now he cannot live by himself. He is unable to make the smallest decisions. He doesn’t talk much, and if people ask him something he answers “I don’t know” or “maybe”.

    My parents didn’t look after our needs and our opinion didn’t matter. Discussions were often ended with “period!” and mistakes on my parents part were never admitted during my childhood.

    Sorry, I don’t want to pity myself. And I still think that I have a strong side! It is not true, that I haven’t formed my own opinion, but I don’t voice it very often. And I also try to overcome my fears and do things that scare me, like going abroad, or volunteering in playing a big part in organizing an exhibition. My fears were big, but I still did it and it went o.K. So I’m not completely weak, I don’t think so.

    Of course, I know that I am far behind everyone in life. It makes me feel terrible about myself. Yesterday, that colleague that seems to have a problem with me made jokes with another colleague about me again. And he spoke about someone else, who was not much older than me, but had accomplished more. It dragged me down and I want to change. But also, at the same time, I think his behaviour is cowardly and I think he is far too judgemental! What is his problem with me? If I make a mistake, he could just come to me and explain calmly what I could improve, so I can learn. Instead he makes his passive aggressive jokes to others. And comparing also doesn’t help… I know all of this, but is still hard for me to distance myself from the opinions others have about me.

    Hopefully I will learn with time and therapy will help me out further.

    #296705

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear GL,

    thank you for your helpful reply. I will answer you later as I don’t want to spend too much time on the computer right now and need to get my day started!

    Please take care!

    #296729

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    “I have a strong side! .. I’m not completely weak”- I agree. My point in my recent post to you is what I wrote to you there: “To be stronger now, you have to understand your weakness as a child, the same weakness that you carried with you all along and throughout the decades of your life to this very day”-

    – see, I suggested that you are strong and weak, both. I think that you have been rejecting your own weakness, refusing to accept it, seeing yourself as stronger than you really are. By accepting your weakness, you will experience empathy for yourself, and that empathy will make you stronger.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  anita.
    #297167

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear GL,

    yes, my feelings of shame are very present at the moment.And the things you wrote make a lot of sense to me.

    In the past months, I felt a lot of shame because of a failed attempt at a relationship and then the incident with the knife made it worse. First, I was feeling unhappy with myself and hiding myself because of that relationship, then there was the suspicion. And I was behaving more and more nervous, of course it must have seemed weird to my flatmates. And then they probably didn’t know how to react and things got stranger and stranger and now I just feel very unhappy here. Indeed I have to move out, I don’t want to be here when anything else gets lost or something happens.

    All those events made my feelings of shame and guilt and fear resurface. But I can see now, that they come from my childhood.

    You are right, I have to deal with my feelings of shame and guilt. I think I already acknowledge that I have these feelings. Also, I can see that they are not helping me. And I think I also understand, that if I would accept myself, others would accept me too. But I am still very far from accepting myself the way I am. Which leads me to keep on behaving weirdly and not respecting myself.

    It is time to face those flaws… I don’t want it to fester and become worse. But I think it will be a lot of work. Hopefully my therapist can help me with it.

    And I will also focus on doing things that make me feel good, so hopefully then my confidence will grow again!

    Thank you a lot for your advice.

     

    Dear anita,

    I think I now understand better what you meant. Hopefully I will be able to accept myself one day and feel empathy for myself. Right now, it is very hard. There is just this feeling that I am wrong and flawed and sick. I look at my flaws and mistakes and I am not able to forgive myself. But as I said above, hopefully my therapist can help me with this.

    Thank you for your help anita! Please take care of yourself and I hope you are doing well.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  Lily.
    #297183

    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Lily
    You may find the following book helpful: ‘Shame and Grace: Healing the Shame We Don’t Deserve’ by Lewis B. Smedes

    “If you persistently feel you don’t measure up, you are feeling shame—that vague, undefined heaviness that presses on our spirit, dampens our gratitude for the goodness of life, and diminishes our joy. The good news is that shame can be healed.”

    “The difference between guilt and shame is very clear–in theory. We feel guilty for what we do. We feel shame for what we are. A person feels guilt because he did something wrong. A person feels shame because he is something wrong. We may feel guilty because we lied to our mother. We may feel shame because we are not the person our mother wanted us to be.”

    “We feel properly embarrassed when we are caught doing something that makes us look inept, knuckleheaded, or inappropriate. Maybe the difference is this: we feel embarrassed because we look bad, and we feel shame because we think we are bad. When we are embarrassed, we feel socially foolish. When we are shamed, we feel morally unworthy.” – Lewis B. Smedes

    Most Shame we feel is undeserved! The book may help guide you through letting it go.

    #297229

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are welcome and I hope you and your therapist work well together, that through this work you will be set free from “this feeling that I am wrong and flawed and sick”. I hope so very much.

    anita

    #297375

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear Peter,

    this book suggestion sound really good. I am considering buying it, even though the christian background puts me a little bit off… But maybe this could even be a reason to make it more helpful for me. Otherwise, it seems to be a book that is tailored to my problem.

    Yes, I feel a lot of shame. Because I am far behind in life. And because I am not doing well in social situations. But the feeling was always there, long before I failed in my career… So maybe it was undeserved.

    It is definitely undeserved in the dormitory situation. Because I didn’t steal anything and I never did anything bad to my flatmates (except being socially awkward). And my private life and failed relationship is also none of their business and most likely they don’t even know about it.

    But it is hard to overcome these feelings.

    Dear anita,

    thank you, I have a good feeling with my therapist. She seems to really care and I have understood some things thanks to her already. But it is going very slowly. But most likely it takes time. Thank you for your well wishes.

    Besides that, I have to really work on finding a new place to live. Living here just makes me so sick. People look at me weirdly and some also behave in strange ways. I think many of them really seem to believe that I am a thief. But I have to remind myself that it is not the truth, even if it looks bad.

    It just drags me down a lot. But so far I have procrastinated on my search for a new place. Maybe I can  use this thread as a journal to motivate myself and post my progress.

    #297377

    Lily
    Participant

    My therapist also said that it doesn’t matter what people think. Maybe in my childhood it did, but not anymore. I will try to focus on my studies and work and doing things that calm me down like Yoga, for example…

    #297383

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    If it works for you to “use this thread as a journal to motivate” yourself and post your progress, please do so.

    “My therapist also said it doesn’t matter what people think…”- thing is, you don’t know what they think, unless they tell you.

    What happens is we think and imagine other people are thinking what we are thinking. when a person at the dormitory looks at you weird, he or she may not be thinking: Lily-is-a-thief. She may simply be constipated and thinking: oh, how I wish I could go to the bathroom, I am so uncomfortable!

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 1 week ago by  anita.
    #297389

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    you are right. Sometimes I get a little obsessive. Most likely they don’t think that much about me. Everything else would be weird. Especially over some knife? I guess it reminds me too much of my past… But now I have made myself the outcast by my own doing.

    Best to occupy my time with more useful things. And let others be. They do things because of themselves, not because of me. I am not that important.

    What I can do is to try to improve my life step by step.

    #297391

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    “it reminds me too much of my past”- the past is what keeps talking to you, things you did hear in the past most of which you forgot, accusations made against you. For example, you shared before that someone told your mother that you are a good girl and she said something like: you don’t know who she really is!- well these voices are your thoughts when you imagine people thinking ill of you.

    anita

    #297393

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    it sounds reasonable! And I have heard a lot of judgement from others. In school, from relatives, at home… It seems like I am an easy target for it. Maybe because I haven’t accepted myself fully yet. Or because I don’t talk so much and keep to myself a lot. I only open up to very few people and don’t trust easily. So that might make others also insecure and unsure how to react.

    For now I think it is the best to occupy my mind and do lots of things instead of thinking too much.

    I will go offline now. Have a good day!

    #297397

    anita
    Participant

    You too, Lily. I am going offline myself!

    anita

Viewing 15 posts - 16 through 30 (of 158 total)

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