Stuck

Why we can't (or won't) move on from bad jobs, bad relationships, and bad habits, and how we can all move ahead.

Who Hates Themselves? It's Not Always Who You'd Think

It's all too easy to assume we know who does and doesn't—and "should" and "shouldn't"—have low self-esteem. Read More

Most expect a pretty girl to

Most expect a pretty girl to love herself so feedback from others is often not very nice.

I struggle with this...

I have struggle all my life with low self-esteem. It was maybe harder growing up in a Christian background because I received all kinds of mixed messages here and I think many people can relate. Shame caused me to think I am bad and that colored my life. I am going to be 42 years old this year. It took me a long time to realize that I have a choice and I have a voice and I don't need to be ashamed of myself anymore. It's actually okay to like or love yourself. Although, saying I love myself still has the ring of conceit in my ears. But let me tell you, hating myself has not be working for me! You aren't a positive force to be around when you hate yourself. I could go on and on about this topic. Take a look at shame in your life...that could really hold you down.

I've struggled all my life

I've struggled all my life with low self-esteem too. I'm 58. I constantly have self-talk going on in my head that's very different to my public persona. We are masters at disguising our feelings.

Tallulah's story is a heart-breaking one. I look at her photo and see an absolutely beautiful girl.

But it's all about self-perception and in her own eyes she was not a beautiful girl - for whatever reasons she perceived(that only she knew).

I've struggled all my life

I've struggled all my life with low self-esteem too. I'm 58. I constantly have self-talk going on in my head that's very different to my public persona. We are masters at disguising our feelings.

Tallulah's story is a heart-breaking one. I look at her photo and see an absolutely beautiful girl.

But it's all about self-perception and in her own eyes she was not a beautiful girl - for whatever reasons she perceived (that only she knew.

And me too

I've struggled all my life with low self-esteem as well. I'll be 47 this year and have read countless articles in an effort to figure out how to beat it to no avail.

I have all sorts of other issues which have distracted me as well. I have been battling these issues piecemeal and having recently taken a more objective look at them all, I've finally realised they all come from lack of self-esteem.

Here is the list:
Perfectionism Paruresis Fear of rejection Addictions Fear of strong men Depression Difficulty recalling positive experiences Fear of commitment Sexual inhibitions Insomnia Social anxiety Procrastination Over-sensitivity (paranoia) Nice guy syndrome Lack of motivation

I can have some great times and be very confident but it never lasts long. A faux pas on my part (humiliation) or a hurtful comment be it from a friend or stranger can bum me out for days. I'm pretty tired of feeling shit.

When I've been (really) suicidal I've packed myself off to the psychologist and had pills and therapy which has saved my life 3 times now but the real issue remains.

I've been single for 8 years because I'm not capable of starting another meaningful relationship. I can be charming and witty and mysterious and all that stuff easily when I am happy (people tell me I'm a great guy) but I'm not in a 'good space' long enough for continuous dating of one person. Women are quite receptive to me at first but get turned off by the 1st or 2nd date. To be fair, weeks can go by before I'm up for the 2nd date because something has bummed me out in the meantime.

I've purchased two books about mood therapy and getting out of your head and into life. I aim to make a concerted effort to change my thinking to a more positive mindset this year (2014).

If your lack of self-esteem is holding you back, don't waste away the decades as I have done. Do something about it now. If you have some spare money go to a therapist and most of all follow through on the advice (or you're wasting your money). Think of it as an investment rather than a bill.

My therapist costs $160 per hour which is why I haven't been back in months but I will see him again this year as a back up to the self-help books. I gotta make this work.

UPDATE

Well things have gone from bad to worse. I was meant to move out of a relative's house and start afresh in a new city. I'd started a Diploma course but was having problems finding permanent accommodation.
By the 2nd day two guys (arseholes) had sussed out I was overly-sensitive and were cracking jokes at my expense. By the 2nd week I'd been shown up by the teacher for being late and she even called me a dick in front of everyone. (On a good day I would have let her have a piece of my mind but this was a bad week).
By the end of the 2rd day of the 2nd week I had a mild panic attack in class.
The next day I thought I was going to lose the plot and the arseholes noticed something was up and were spreading the word loudly enough for me to over-hear.
I went to the school nurse to let her know I was freaking out and she referred me to a doctor. I visited the doctor and he told me to start taking the medication I'd already been prescribed by my previous doctor (but wasn't taking because I was fool enough to want to keep my sex drive because I'd met someone).
I started taking the meds but they will take 2-3 weeks to kick in.
By the Sunday I had a huge anxiety attack at the thought of going back to class which took me over an hour in bed to recover from.
So I quit. Called the head teacher and quit. Boy was I bummed!!!
It's nearly a week later and I'm feeling better but I'm back with the relative who sold her house with plans to downsize. I don't know where I'm going to be in 7 weeks when we have to get out.
STRESS is slowly killing me!
Just typing this out is reminding me of everything and I'm feeling anxious again. Guess I've got a way to go.
Deep breaths everyone.

Hate is a strong word, but I really, really, REALLY don't like me.

Here's a crosslink to a particularly verbose comment made on an article about whether suicidal thoughts are normal. It pretty much epitomizes why I think of myself as the lowly chaff amid the golden grain:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/frontpage-forensics/201312/suicidal-...

To sum up:
- I am unemployed and unemployable because I didn't major in anything STEM-related, economics, business, or finance. A degree in sociology is a one-way ticket to the welfare office these days. (Perhaps it always has been?) Human worth in America is inextricably tied to salary and earnings potential. Therefore, if my only prospects are McDonalds or Wal-Mart, or I have no job at all, my human worth in America is zero because volunteering doesn't pay the bills or buy a new, shiny automobile. Paying for groceries with a public benefits card is a mark of stigma in this country; perhaps it's not quite the same equivalent as the Star of David sewn to an overcoat or a scarlet letter "A" upon a dress, but it nevertheless is a mark of shame in a country that wishes the "takers" would simply off themselves publicly and "decrease the surplus population." My education is a worthless lump of Jeopardy trivia. The mere fact that the content is available for free either at a public library or on Wikipedia means that my education is worth zero and therefore I am too.

- I am a staunch liberal who supports unrestricted access to abortion as well as humane methods of suicide. I also tend to clash with family members who I deem delusional because they are far-rightist religious conservatives of the Mel Gibson's dad variety, who view nonwhites as livestock and believe homosexuals should be arrested and placed on the sex offender registry. I have come to believe that their view is held by the majority of the country, or at least more people than progressives are wont to believe. (Maybe it's because I don't get out much and have no friends, period, and no social contact besides the rank idiots in my domicile.)

There are far more reasons why I loathe myself than just the ones given in that comment, but those are two of the biggest ones. I don't want to offend people who might have different politics than mine, but so sue me if I don't believe that Ellen belongs in the insane asylum and the president is not a zoo animal. This is not an intended "stereotype" either. I actually know people who think this way. But because lunatics run the world, I am in the minority and fear hatred and bullying if I so much as go outside. People had their windows broken in both 2008 and '12 simply because of what sign they had on their lawn. Have you any idea how many times I've had to clean the television screen because of raucous, racist relatives insistent upon hurling ABC pastry at the screen because I had a rerun of Fresh Prince on?

Correction, please.

Typo: I don't believe the president IS a zoo animal. (Complex sentence and fast typing caught me in a dither there.)

Self-Hatred

I'm only 19, but I've been struggling with self-hatred since I was 5 years old.

When I was younger, many people made fun of my weight, or the cheap clothes that I wore, because my dad didn't make enough money to buy healthy food and 5 pairs of jeans for me to ruin every season.

My mother abandoned my dad and I when I was 2 1/2 years old. When I turned 3, I started pulling out my eyelashes and eyebrows. In Freshman year I found out it was Trichotillomania, an OCD, caused by extreme stress.

From 4th to 7th grade, I was 165 pounds, and couldn't wear the same clothes other kids did comfortably. My nickname for the longest time, that I didn't know about until someone let it slip, was "The girl who only wears three shirts". I became a doormat to please people.

My dad has a pretty clear idea of how he would like me to act, and has a history of snapping at me for the smallest things, either because I didn't know how to do something, or was unclear on the instructions.

It was about 4th grade that I shut down communication with other people for fear of being humiliated or talked down to. I figured, as long as I don't say anything, I will never be wrong, and people will like me.

I can't accept praise because I always remember the things I've done wrong that people may not have noticed yet.

I can't accept compliments because I'm not even able to give myself compliments.

All of this has stuck with me for years, and as every day passes, I see myself more of a failure than the day before. I constantly replay past mistakes and humiliation in my head, and it never stops.

The only reason I feel the need to let this all out on here, is because I don't feel that I can tell my friends because I don't think they would really care. I feel safer telling this to strangers, because they won't judge me like my friends will. My friends know me, and think they know exactly what to say, and they always make it worse by telling me I'm stupid for thinking that way, or just blatantly not listening, and turning the conversation to be about them.

Thank you for the fabulous articles.

Re: Self-Hatred

Are you psychic? Because some of your statements in this comment are exactly the issues I raise in my book Unworthy: How to Stop Hating Yourself. Can't accept compliments, don't say anything because it might be wrong, being yelled at by parents, becoming a doormat -- yes yes yes, you and me and millions more.

You are a survivor of self-loathing. Bad things happened early in your life that wounded you, that left you feeling swamped and feeling lesser-than. Bad people said bad things to you. And you are still paying the price for their actions. Self-loathing is almost never reality-based. I would bet my left arm that yours isn't either. First off, look how intelligent you are -- the depth of perception and quality of writing in your comment are impressive.

It's not easy. But you're not alone. Millions of other people, including many who appear beautiful and brilliant and perfect, suffer in exactly this same way. Those of us who hate ourselves were "taught" to hate ourselves. Now it's a matter of unlearning this thing we learned.

Re: Self-Hatred

Sadly, I'm not psychic. It would probably make navigating the world much easier if I were, though.

And thank you for the compliment on my intelligence, even though part of me right now is saying I'm not really that smart or perceptive, I just sound like it.

Intelligence is one thing I feel I can control for myself and take some sort of pride in, but it comes with pain as well. If I can get my degree in Networking, my family will finally be proud of me; therefore, if I never become intelligent enough in the right thing, then my family will never truly love me.

I own hundreds of novels that I've been collecting since I was 10, all on display in my room, as a way to show my intelligence without having to speak to people about it. This isn't to say I haven't read them, or only keep them under the guise of intelligence - I love reading, and I love my collection - but do I really need to keep all of these books? No.

But I can't let them go, because if I do, I feel I won't be able to claim knowledge on the things I love. If I lose my books, I lose myself, and the view of myself that I want the world to see.

Seriously thinking about purchasing your book,
Sherry

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Anneli Rufus is the author of many books, including Party of One: The Loners' Manifesto and Stuck: Why We Can't (or Won't) Move On.

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