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Self abuse/Self love issue

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This topic contains 8 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 6 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #290229

    James
    Participant

    Hello everybody ^^

    I am trying to find a way to stop criticizing myself as I’ve been doing for pretty much my whole life (I’m 22 now) and develop high self esteem, self-love and confidence in a process. I am wondering whether it is possible to achieve that without help of others…

    I find it nearly impossible to trust anyone. Do you think I can achieve what I mentioned above, without exposing myself to possibility of getting rejected or hurt by others?

    Much love!

    #290249

    anita
    Participant

    Dear James:

    “I am trying to find a way to stop criticizing myself as I’ve been doing for pretty much my whole life… I find it nearly impossible to trust anyone”-

    -who was it that betrayed your trust and is it the same person or persons who criticized you a whole lot?

    anita

    #290349

    James
    Participant

    “-who was it that betrayed your trust and is it the same person or persons who criticized you a whole lot?”

    It was my mother who betrayed my trust. She only did that once (since I never let her do it again – I was 5/6 by the time) and it was seemingly trivial, but apparently enough for me to emotionally distance myself from other people and never trust them again.

    As for the criticism, it is myself who does that… I think I am doing it in response to betrayed trust. The implication of my mother rejecting me when I needed her support was developing a conviction  that I am a bad person, not worthy of even my mother’s love and support, and being bad person is sth I as a child (and kind of still) was very concerned about.

    I am supposed to be an M.D when I finish my studies, huge majority of people consider me smart,good person with big potential, there is a lot of approval nowadays, but I don’t seem to care at all, because since childhood I’ve always considered myself worthless. I acknowledge it is all in my head now, but I dont know if and how I can deal with that… ;(

    Thank you very much for your response! <3

    Forgive me if there are many errors, I am not a native speaker 🙂

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by  James.
    #290371

    anita
    Participant

    Dear James:

    You are welcome. You shared that you are 22. When you were 5 or 6, your mother betrayed your trust, just “that once” and “it was seemingly trivial. You figured, as a child, that the reason your mother betrayed you, didn’t support you when you needed her, was because you were “a bad person, not worthy of even my mother’s love and support”. As the bad person you believe or suspect you are, you criticize yourself a whole lot.

    Will you tell me about that betrayal?

    And in what ways, at 5 or 6 and onward, you “never let her do  it again”?

    anita

    #291275

    norit
    Participant

    Hello James,

    I’m similar to you in that I don’t have much self-esteem, and fear rejection. Something I found helpful was.. firstly opening myself up to the possibility that I am worth as much as anyone else. No little than anyone else, and no more. I always felt like I was worth less than others, and then realised I am equal. That was a big step forward, and it applies to you too! You are just as equal as anyone else on the planet. 🙂

    After that, reading positive affirmations, coming on websites like this, reading a lot of self-help things. Recognising when I put myself down and then actively questioning it and trying to rephrase it has been a huge help. It’s taking a long time – a few years ago, nearly all of my automatic thoughts in my head put myself down. My first reaction to things would be “I can’t do this,” “I am not good enough for this,” “I am ugly,” etc. Now, I still get those thoughts, but instead they’re more like.. “I can’t do this. Wait. Maybe I can. That’s just my brain putting me down.” If that makes sense.

    Recognising what the criticising things are and challenging whether they’re true or not. Sometimes it still feels like the criticisms are true, but repetition is slowly rewiring those thoughts to be more positive. I am slowly feeling more confident and love myself more than I did a few years ago that’s for sure!

    I’ve done this mostly without exposing myself to others, as it’s more internal work and re-teaching my brain to think in new ways. I have improved a lot, but I don’t think I can fix the fear of rejection without exposing myself to others more. But there’s still improvements that can be made without other people’s input, if that makes sense.

    I don’t know if any of this will apply to you or not. Sorry for rambling!

    #291279

    Peter
    Participant

    Hi James

    Do you think I can achieve what I mentioned above, without exposing myself to possibility of getting rejected or hurt by others?

    Based on my understanding of Love I would say no.

    “Every time we make the decision to love someone, (The same is true when we make the decision to love ourselves.) we open ourselves to great suffering, because those we most love cause us not only great joy but also great pain…. Still, if we want to avoid suffering we will never experience the joy of loving. And love is stronger than fear, life stronger than death, hope stronger than despair. We have to trust that the risk of loving is always worth taking.” – Henri Nouwen

    For the majority of people, pain is the most dreaded enemy, and so when they experience pain, they try their best to fight against it or run away from it, as if it’s an evil monster that’s after them. The reality, however, is that pain is there for our good, if we pay close attention to it and understand why it’s making its presence in our field of consciousness. If we’d really want to overcome pain, we first need to understand what it is and why it’s there. Then, we need to address its root causes, and not merely avoid it or treat it on a symptoms-level.

    #291481

    James
    Participant

    Thank you, norit ^~^ That’s helpful, I identify with most of what you’ve written 🙂

    Thanks Peter, that is certainly something to think about… Especially understanding of what pain is, its origins, evolutionary purpose.  Whether love is stronger than fear, based on my biography it’s not easy to judge I suppose 😉 but I think I understand what’s been said.

    #291483

    James
    Participant

    Yes, Anita I will tell you my story, thanks for paying attention to my case ^^

    So as a child I’ve ‘always’ (since I can remember) been quite anxious. My main problem was a desire to please my parents and have their love and support, I thought that being good person guarantees that, I suppose that I noticed my parents valuing this concept. However, I started experiencing some disturbing thoughts when I was about 4 close to 5 y.o. maybe. These were for example : not being sure whether I love God ( my parents are religious and it seemed to it’s absolutely obligatory to love this being in order to get validation and acceptance from my parents), then after a while wondering whether I will go to hell (reasonably strong anxiety at that point of my life, I remember that even now), not being sure whether I love my own parents.

    It looks like lack of certainty was always very big issue for me. It still is. I wanted to be sure that I am good, but just like in case of love towards God or my parents, I felt like I never could be 100% sure. And those thoughts, and every other thought that based on my observation of reality were not helping me achieving safety and acceptance and love of my parents, were triggers of anxiety and fear.

    In order to get rid of those emotions, I was talking about them with my mother, essentialy confessing them to her, and hoping that she will assure me it’s all right, I am normal/good and I shouldn’t worry.

    That’s what’s been happening for quite a long time but then one day, I think I was about 6, I told her about another one of thoughts that were anxiety triggering and this one happened to make her react impatiently and essentialy rejecting me (in my mind at least).

    Thought was I admit somehow disturbing indeed for a 6 year old, nothing too bad though I think.

    “Jesus Christ reminds of sex” that’s how I’d translate it. Whether it’s 100% accurate translation or not, thought was connecting 2 tabu issues – sex and religion, profanating sanity which I think made my mother angry. And sex was never a topic in my home, my parents never really mentioned it, as if they were ashamed or scared to talk about it.

    Important thing is to understand, that the very reason I experienced those weird thoughts, was to test my mother’s love and support- when she was giving me what I expected, anxiety was reduced and that’s what I wanted. I constantly had to come up with weirder thoughts to test her further. I needed to be SURE (again certainty issues) that I am safe and she is with me.

    Anyways, when I presented what was in my mind, her face turned somehow angry, and instead of comforting me, she said ‘go away’. She wasn’t screaming she just rejected me, was angry and dissapointed I think. Then she went out (she was on her way already when I engaged, I did before she left, because I didn’t want to wait with anxiety and fear until she comes back).

    And so that was the first and the last when I got rejected.

    After that I was very very anxious, being sure that I must be a bad person, a monster. Even my mother couldn’t accept me.

    If those thoughts, are mine (and they were obviously) my mother, the only person that I trusted unconditionally, and God himself (whom I offended with that thought) will not love me , because I am evil and bad. I was criyng a lot.

    Then she went back and I weren’t talking about it anymore, didn’t want to get rejected again. For some time I was sharing with her my anxiety thoughts (that I called ‘bad thougths’), until one day she told me that I shouldn’t worry about any of these. I don’t know why but it worked for me and for few years I was, or at least it seemed to be the case functioning normally.

    Later I don’t know how long it took me (with memory of rejection in mind), I decided that I am never gonna look for support again. That I am evil and i deserve being alone and miserable, and I shouldn’t bother others with my problems. I was very ashamed and feeling guilty since then. About that time I also was viewing my little self that got rejected as very weak and pathetic. I stopped touching anybody, including my mother , I was uncomfortable with them touching me even accidentaly, beacuse I was indentifying touch with being close with somebody, and being closed was threating beacause it was a possibility of getting hurt or rejected.

    Also despite being very miserable, I decided that I can’t cry, crying is for weak people and the most important thing for me was not to be weak anymore. I had a very hard time crying. These days I can say that I haven’t been crying for 10 years at least.

    Considering that I’ve (since events that I presented) been very miserable and anxious and rough for myself, I think that lack of crying and any self compassinon (just constant criticism) resulted in somehow twisted, extremely low self esteem and ridiculously high level of constant anxiety ( perhaps that’s why for years now I am experiencing psychiatric trauma- connected phenomena called “derealization”).

    That’s pretty much my story, I apologize if it doesn’t make complete sense, I couldnt mention about everything cause I’d be writing till 2022 but I covered essential things.

    Congratulations if you managed to get throught this, and thanks for your time and attention!

    Have a wonderful day <3 !

    #291497

    anita
    Participant

    Dear James:

    “My main problem was a desire to please my parents and have their love and support”- every young mammal and every child has this desire, it is inborn. Without the support of the mother deer, the fawn, unfed and unprotected, will die.

    It was a problem for you because… you did not receive the love and support that you needed from your parents.

    Just as a fawn gets very fearful finding itself alone, with his mother nowhere in sight, so does the child, feeling very fearful with his mother nowhere around. If a mother leaves her child unpredictably and repeatedly, for whatever reason, that is enough to scare a child.

    Fear happening again and again, unresolved, becomes ongoing, aka anxiety.

    A child gets scared when his parent gets angry, all animals fear the anger of others (an angry animal intends to harm the object of its anger, or to threaten harm), but a child’s mother anger at her own child, that is most scary for the child, because a child cannot run away from his mother, or father. Ii is very scary for a child to be stuck/trapped with an angry parent.

    “I started experiencing some disturbing thoughts when I was about 4 close to 5.. not being sure I love God”- before those thoughts, before 4 or 5,  there was already anxiety-  anxiety was the cause, the disturbing thoughts- the effect. If you felt safe with your parents, if you didn’t doubt their love for you, you wouldn’t have become repeatedly fearful and then scanning your brain for reasons why it is that they don’t love you.

    “It was my mother who betrayed my trust. She only did that once.. I was 5/6…. that was the first and the last when I got rejected”- according to your timeline and my understanding, her betrayal of you happened before and after that one time:

    -the betrayal happened before 4 or 5

    -for a year, about 5-6, you talked to your mother “in order to get rid of those emotions”, the anxiety, that is,  looking for assurance of you being “normal/good and I shouldn’t worry… I needed to be SURE.. that I am safe and she is with me”. Every time you talked to her, you felt relieved for a short time.

    -after that year, at about 6, you talked to her yet again, aiming at getting that familiar relief, but this time she reacted angrily at you, “which I think made my mother angry… her face turned somewhat angry, and instead of comforting me, she said ‘go away'”.

    -your anxiety persisted after that, at some point it lessened, at another it increased and sometime along the way, the core belief in you that you are “evil and I deserve being alone and miserable, and I shouldn’t bother others with my problems” was cemented in your brain. Shame and guilt are involved in this core belief (“I was very ashamed and guilty since then”).

    You shared a bit more, but I will stop here and wait for your feedback.

    anita

     

     

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