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How do I stop caring what others think?

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This topic contains 171 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 day, 17 hours ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 172 total)
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  • #308285

    Grenada
    Participant
    #308347

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    so far, I haven’t moved in fully, yesterday I just got the keys and took a few things there. I will be moving in step by step, using public transport (I don’t have much furniture yet, only books, plants, art supplies, clothes etc.).

    Yesterday when I went there, I was in a good mood. It’s a good sign I think. One of my roommates was there and she seems likable and friendly. They seem like they are down too earth and like they don’t have lots of big expectations of me. Of course, I want to be polite and friendly, help to keep the house clean and all of that…

    And I no longer want to hide myself, like I did at the dormitory. I always get the feeling like I did something wrong here. But I don’t think so, I didn’t do anything to them. And is there really something to hide? When I feel more comfortable about myself, I will also feel more comfortable around others. Of course I will make mistakes, but I don’t want to be so hard on myself anymore.

    I am not a “grey mouse” like someone said. I do have a lot of interest and ideas, but I will have to make better use of them and my time. Now that the moving is almost settled, I have more time to work on my drawings again. There are so many projects I have already in mind… Sometimes I get a little overwhelmed by my ideas and I am still too perfectionistic.

    Thank you for always reading and responding, it is so kind of you. Maybe sometimes I need to share my thoughts with somebody, maybe also because I feel lonely at the moment. But next week I will maybe go hiking to the moorlands with my best friend. So hopefully, things will improve slowly, at least I want to work on it.

    #308357

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are welcome.

    “I am not a ‘grey mouse’ like someone said. I do have a lot of interest and ideas”- it was “you poor mouse” that a woman said to you (July 29 post), “Oh, Mrs. X, you poor mouse, how are you  getting by'”, she said. You didn’t like being referred to as a mouse. “Clearly, I don’t want to appear like a pitiful little person! I want to leave this behind me, become stronger”.

    Moving to this  new place is an opportunity for you to act strong. Not perfectly strong, you know that can’t be done. I can’t do it myself. But you can act significantly stronger than you did in the dormitory and elsewhere. Be assertive. I am sure you will be polite and respectful, but do not rush to take responsibility for what you are not responsible for.

    For example, it will happen that a roommate will look unhappy, don’t assume you did something wrong and have caused her to be unhappy. And if you already assumed that, pause before you say something based on such assumption.

    When and if a conflict occurs,  involving you- or not- don’t assume you are guilty or that they think you are guilty. Again, don’t take responsibility for what you are not responsible for. When you notice that you already did take responsibility, that you already feel wrong or guilty, pause. Don’t say anything. Instead post here, tell me about it and we’ll take it from there.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  anita.
    #308419

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear Grenada,

    sorry, I didn’t see your post before. Thank you for the video suggestion.

     

    Dear anita,

    well the woman said “poor mouse”, but someone also said “grey mouse” some time before… Maybe I was reminded of that by the “poor mouse” comment. But I don’t think those were useful comments and I don’t want to be seen like that.

    I do think that moving will be healthy for me and an opportunity to start over. But I am still upset with myself for not handling things better.

    And at first, I really wanted to let go of her ignoring me and just accept it. After all, she doesn’t even know me and had no possible reason to be angry at me. But I think, because I already was feeling terrible about myself back then and because every time I was feeling better something happened, I overreacted completely and hid myself. It was just too much… The only thing I can do now is forgive myself, which doesn’t come so easy for me.

    Somehow, I can’t remember a time in my life when I felt more anxiety like in the last year. I think what happened is, that all of my feelings of shame and guilt that I had built up over the last years resurfaced. Before that, I was kind of numb and apathetic. Sometimes I even laughed at the bad things that happened to me. My therapist reminded me that this was not funny and she told me that she couldn’t “feel me”. Maybe because I couldn’t feel myself. Maybe the good thing that came out of all of this is, that I found a connection to myself again. And because of that I am also more motivated to make changes in my life.

    At the new place, I want to try to not taking everything personally. But I think it will be easier, because by living with only two people, I will automatically know them better. the problems mainly occurred with people that don’t know me very much. Otherwise, it’s easier to talk about things. But if it happens, better to pause and think before I act.

    I liked reading this one chapter in “The Four Agreements”. There it said that whatever people do, they do it because of themselves. It’s nothing personal, because it has everything to do with them, their life, their experiences, their fears. I need to remind myself of that as often as I can!

     

     

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  Lily.
    #308445

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    It is that excessive, unjustified guilt and shame that makes you appear to others like a mouse. A mouse who is afraid she has just said or did something wrong or is about to say or do something wrong and be exposed as Miss. Wrong.

    Anytime someone looks unhappy, you automatically think it is something you said or did that caused it. If a dissatisfaction is expressed, you automatically think the person is thinking you did something wrong.

    This automatic interpretation and thinking will continue so prepare for it, as I suggested in my earlier post: when you see a person unhappy, pay attention to what happens next (your distress thinking you caused that person’s unhappiness), then pause (do not say or do anything in this state), distract/ calm down, post here about the situation if you want, then rethink and take it from there.

    Anytime there is a difficulty at work, a question was asked and you don’t know the answer, notice your distress, take  few deep breaths, rethink: it is not that there is something wrong with you for not knowing the answer, no one knows all the answers. Then learn the answer and make a mental note of it for the next time.

    Prepare for other scenarios, in your new home, at work and elsewhere.

    anita

    #308721

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thanks. I try to be reasonable, but sometimes my emotions become intense. In the last days I felt very emotional and there is no reason for it. Nothing terrible happened, but still I have these negative feelings and thoughts. I feel like I am my own worst enemy, always accusing myself, even when I know perfectly well, that there is no truth in it.

    Yesterday I thought I saw K. in the train (maybe it was someone else) and felt like crying for most of the day. Not sure why I am still thinking so much about him, I should get over it. At least I still was productive in the evening and painted and moved some things to my new room.

    But I need to learn how to deal better with my emotions. Or maybe accept that this (being distressed) will always be a part of my life. That life is just not perfect.

    Lately I worry also a lot about work, that I’m not doing a good job and making too many mistakes. But, I guess I am still learning. This is also not my dream job, so I guess I should not worry so much. But I still want to do a decent job. I am trying to learn the answers and do better next time, but my insecurities get in the way and I become overwhelmed. Then I think: Am I useful for anything? But I know that I am exaggerating and being dramatic. I wish I could take life more lightly.

    #308737

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    I am glad to read you were productive and moved things into your new room.

    We keep experiencing our childhood. Our childhood home becomes this place we live in all along, our mind, that space in between our ears. “Nothing terrible happened” for you recently, but unfortunately it is the terrible experience of your childhood that keeps getting activated.

    “I feel like I am my own worst enemy”- a hostile childhood home leads to a hostile mind.

    It is about reminding ourselves, again and again, that our present circumstances are not the same as our childhood circumstances, and that we as adults are more resourceful and powerful than we were as children.

    “Not sure why I am thinking so much about (K)”- I am guessing because you are a woman and you get lonely, wanting a love relationship with a man. Am I correct?

    anita

    #308847

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    yes maybe I am thinking about him because I get lonely. And I am spending most of my time alone now. And yes, I really would like to find somebody I can love, be there for them, hug them, spend time together… What I hoped to find with K, but didn’t work out. But I think I am not ready yet, I am too scared and have yet to learn to accept myself. It could only work with someone who is patient with me, but I don’t believe in it, really. Maybe when I healed more.

    Maybe it is also because of I’m moving and all those feelings of the last year come up. It’s about one year ago that I first met him. And I liked him so much, I even tried to overcome my fears (but ended up crossing my own boundaries). Thinking about it again, I feel sad and disappointed. I didn’t like how it ended. But I have to let go. The only thing I can do is wish the best for him and for myself. I hope he is doing o.K.

    I think I have to do things to calm myself down. And once I have moved and have more routine at my job, I hope that my life gets also calmer.

    Today in therapy, we talked about my childhood experience. My therapist said, that it was the combination of my parents having high expectations, but not really telling us what they want, is what led us (my siblings and I) to become so insecure.

    I also suggested to draw a comic about my experience with the man at the dormitory (just for myself). Maybe it can also help me heal.

     

     

    #308863

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Getting used to living in your new place will help as well as routine at your job and in your every day otherwise. Keep seeing your therapist, as long as it helps and drawing a comic is also helpful.

    As the social animals that we are, we need people to interact with and to love and be loved by. No way to get around that, or to live a lifetime without.

    What “high expectations” did your parents have for you- did they tell you what those were?

    anita

    #309377

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    during the last days I was feeling a little better again. Yesterday I also met my friend and we went for a hike. And on Wednesday we want to go to the sports class.

    I realize that social interactions are important and I really am missing some things. When I spend more time with my friends, it does make me feel better. And I also miss some things you can only experience in a relationship, but at the same time, I’m also very afraid of being in a relationship. At the moment I don’t think I am ready for a relationship. It could only work with a person who has a lot of patience and if I could get to know them slowly.

    Well, my therapist said that thing about the high expectations. When I think about it, I feel that maybe they expected us to be perfect children? My parents always said half jokingly “oh those terrible children”.

    My mother would complain that we didn’t help in the household enough, and that she growing up in a farm always had to help out. My sister also said that she felt like she was guilty or responsible for the chaotic household.

    And I think it is good to give children chores, to make them do housework. It is also a learning opportunity for them to stay clean and organized. But in my opinion, it would be the parents responsibility to keep the house clean. They would be the ones to organize who does what, to teach children how to clean and when. But with the complaining, it would only make us feel guilty and less happy to help out.

    In my opinion, it is normal for children to not be enthusiastic about doing housework. It is also normal that children sometimes get into a fight with their siblings. Then, in my opinion, it would be the parents task to teach the children how to resolve the conflict. Instead of acting like they are bad children?

    When I had emotional outbursts, they didn’t teach me how to deal with it. Instead, my father once said that I am blackmailing him by crying. I just got the impression that I am difficult and a burden. And my sister told me, that she also always feels like a burden to others.

    Also when it comes to high expectations, maybe they also had high expectations for my performance at school. They didn’t complain when I had bad marks. But after elementary school, there was the decision to which school system you were supposed to go. There were three possibilities. 1.) “Hauptschule”: 9 years of school (you will have worse chances finding a job or training) 2.) “Mittelschule”:  10 years of school, you can apply to most jobs that need practical training / apprenticeship with this 3.) “Gymnasium”: 12 years of school and you have the opportunity to study and a better chance to get accepted for apprenticeships.

    Because of my bad marks (mark 3 by 1 being the best and 6 being the worst) in mathematics I wasn’t able to go to the “Gymnasium”. My father made me do a test, so I could still go there. But the test was so hard and I didn’t pass. Only because of my good marks in English I was later able to change to the “Gymnasium”. Nobody else I know took such a test and it doesn’t seem to be very common to do that.

    I was also given private lessons in mathematics from an early age on. It was meant well by my father, I am sure. In my teenagers years, I completely gave up on school. For example, when I started physics or chemistry classes, I gave up on them immediately, because they were related to maths. Partly, it was also because I wanted to be “cool” around my peers (not be a “geek” or be too “cool” to care about marks – yes, I was very confused and insecure). I felt that I am stupid and I didn’t have hope for the future. I used to joke with my friend that I will end up as a stripper. In the end I got an average mark when I graduated. But I already felt like a failure, even though my score was average and I had career opportunities.

    I don’t know, maybe it sounds like I am spoiled. I know that others had it worse. But something must have been wrong. My siblings also have problems. My brother has high functioning autism. My sister just decided to go to a clinic for three months for her mental health.

     

     

    #309383

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    “maybe it sounds like I am spoiled. I know that others had it worse”-

    No, Lily, you are not spoiled. The most important and fundamental resource a person needs in life is the feeling that one is a good little person. You were not given this most fundamental resource.

    “my parents always said half jokingly ‘oh those terrible children'”- you didn’t take it as a joke. You took it as the objective truth. Children don’t have this kind of humor.

    “it would be the parents task to teach the children… instead of acting like they are bad“- see? It is right here in this sentence: your parents acted like you, Lily, were a bad little person.

    When a child is being taught that she is bad, what is the use of the food given, the clothes, toys, math classes, what kind of school you attend, vacations and whatnot, what is the use of any of these things when you were told you were bad, terrible…

    No use, Lily. Food and shelter kept you alive but the quality of your life- that still depends on your need to feel and believe that you are a good person.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by  anita.
    #309387

    anita
    Participant

    * didn’t reflect under Topics

    #310573

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you for your reply and for your help during the last year and also before that.

    During the last year, my feeling of being a bad person was very strong. And I feel like I have never felt so anxious before! But maybe it is just because I am more in touch with my own feelings now, instead of being numb.

    For example, now I feel angry about the man in the dormitory, instead feeling sorry for him and being confused. I feel that I see a little bit clearer. Maybe I am a little less confused.

    But my emotions are still very extreme at times. Hopefully I can heal more and more.

    Thank you for the time you took to always respond and help me!

    #310579

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are very welcome. It delights me to read that you see clearer, that you are less confused and not as numb. This must be the reason that you now feel angry at that guy in the dormitory- an appropriate emotion to his part in your life!

    Anytime, Lily. How is the new living situation?

    anita

    #311351

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    so far, the new living situation is o.K. But I don’t live here for long (to be honest, I procrastinated with moving out). One of the new roommates is on holidays, the other one is very friendly and polite.

    We talked a little bit, when we met in the kitchen. I was cooking (finally again and I love cooking! I want to try out a new recipe tomorrow!) and she asked about my studies and explained some things about the neighbourhood (where the next supermarkets are and such things).

    I don’t want to create new problems this time around. But talking to each other will help, I think.

    Often I still feel depressed and get self-harming thoughts and when distressed, sometimes I still harm myself. I don’t want them to know and notice!

    But now that the moving process is almost done, I can focus more on how to improve my life. Recently I started a bullet journal and I also want to do weekly reviews to stay on track. Hopefully this will help and that I will feel a little bit better.

    I also have to start seeing friends again or meet new friends. During the last months I spent too much time alone. Last week my best friend invited me to a cooking evening, but I was too worried to meet new people. Maybe next time.

    Lately I have been thinking also what I would have liked to do with K., basically about what I would want in a relationship. Somehow I felt confused, when I was with him, but in reality I know pretty well what I want. If everything went wrong with him, at least I see very clear now what is important to me in a relationship.

    Honesty is very important and also communication (I still have to work on that myself). Best to talk about what each other wants and needs instead of expecting the other to know!And I also want to be there for each other, help and support each other.

    What I would have liked to to with K.: go hiking together, just hug him very long, cook something for him or together. Take him to a walk by the river and surprise him with some food I prepared. Try out new things together, talk to each other and get to know each other.

    Sadly I was too afraid to be myself because I felt I was not good enough. But anyways, it would have never worked with us and he is kind of selfish so…. at least I learned something!

    The bottom line is: I am very lonely. Next time I should definitely take my friends invitation.

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