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Showing results for tags 'self-esteem'.
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So many people want to give advice. Most of it is worthless. When i was growing up, with all my emotional problems, why didn’t anyone give me good advice? They could have; now that i’m middle-aged i can see the ways. I see myself, aged 18: skinny, awkward, shy. Kid who had been bullied in school from age 10, and battered at home from age 6. Taught by my peers to be ashamed of myself and suspicious of anyone my own age. I needed to learn how to fake it. I needed to learn how to look normal, act normal. Because you have to be normal, and people have to like you. And Lord knows, people sure like to give advice: not because they want to help you; but only because they want to shoot their mouths off, and feel like experts. But it was never the advice i needed. No one told me, “this is how you have to stand and walk, so that you’ll look like an alpha male, the only man that people respect.” No one said, “this is the tone of voice to use, so that you’ll sound confident.” Where was the person who would teach me how to play baseball or basketball, how to dance and start a conversation, how to make friends? No one told me that i could ask for help on the job; that i didn’t need to be ashamed of my ignorance. There always were people who were happy to blow generalities and abstractions at me: “be positive!” “be strong!” “be CONFIDENT.” (Damn, i’ve grown to despise that word “confident.”) No one broke it down to specific lessons. Lessons that TOLD me what i was doing wrong. Shit, no one even taught me how to SMILE; it wasn’t until i was 42 that i realized, “hey wait a minute, my face doesn’t make a smile!” And it wasn’t until i was 50 that i realized, “wait a minute — if i tighten the muscles in my mouth this certain way, this way that feels like this in my cheekbones, then, on that face in the mirror there, i’ll see what people call “a smile.” It’ll be a fake smile, but at least it’ll be there. I went 50 years of my life without anybody even teaching me how to smile. Not even that one small thing. In the rare moments in the past, when i tried to explain this to people, you can bet that they had all the answers: “well of COURSE you have to get along with people!” “of COURSE you have to smile!” “of COURSE nobody taught you; nobody teaches anybody!” So that’s it. The winners were born with their skills. Or, more likely, they really were taught; by parents, older brothers, sisters. That gave them the basics. And from there, they had the gold-plated privilege of falling ass-backward into success. Influential friends; good jobs; dates and sex; parties full of cool people. And everybody acts like it’s so easy to get all that: “all you have to do, is BE YOURSELF!” What horseshit; i was myself, and people didn’t respect it. Now i look back on a life of failure; years of mistakes and self-defeat that i did because nobody ever told me the right way to do it. And because of all that self-defeating behavior, of course, i have even more to be ashamed of. I’m sick of people trying to give advice to me. Because i now know what i advice i needed, and i know that they could have told me. They could give me that advice even now, but they never do. I’m fighting a dozen character defects, all at the same time, always fighting alone. So i keep stumbling along, screwing up, defeating myself. Thanks for reading this post.
Last night i had a car accident, so now i have a huge car repair bill and increased insurance premiums. And i'm being laid off from work; my position has been eliminated. I hate myself for my terrible driving. My suicide attempt, in fact, occurred after my first accident when i was 18. I've tried for decades to be a better driver, but i still have accidents. When i'm employed, i don't have time for a driving course and now, when i'm laid off, i'll have the time but money will be too tight to pay for it. I want so much to be a better person. But here i am, a lifelong failure. Feeling very low today.
Well group, this is where i tell you why i joined this forum. I apologize in advance for being verbose. I was a battered child; the Sperm-Donor (some men don't deserve the title "father") slapped me for even small mistakes, and sometimes punched me. He threw me down the stairs once too, i remember. He brainwashed me into thinking i could never defend myself or stand up for myself. Because, well, a child can't defend himself against a 6-foot 200-pound adult. Softened me up real good, that guy did; turned me into the perfect punching bag for the school bullies. The bullies discovered me when i was about 10 or so. When we started to play team sports in gym class and i didn't know how to play them, then the bullies realized i was different. That's always how bullies smell blood in the water: find the one who's different and has no friends. So they started. They tripped me as i walked in the hall. They walked up behind me and pounded me in the back of my head. They knocked the schoolbooks out of my hands. They took money from me. The verbal abuse was just as relentless: "spazz," "dork," "dorf," and the entire dictionary of homophobic insults. When your gay neighbors complain about school bullying, you should believe them. I was the target of homophobic insults, and i'm not even gay. I wish i could say that the girls bullied me less than the boys. Not so. The girls knew (as the boys did) that they could get at me by stabbing at my masculinity. They knew i was shy and insecure. One of their tactics was to air-kiss me or say "you look cute today" and then, if i was innocent enough to accept the compliment, they'd join with their girlfriends in laughing at me for being so gullible. In fact, girls used me to bully other girls: if they wanted to really insult a girl, they'd tell her "[my name] likes you!" That was the worst insult they could throw at a girl: the idea that i might be attracted to her. So much shame. From not knowing how to defend myself against bullies, and from not knowing how to attract girls. And my high school had several other ways to make me ashamed of myself. Gym class had one classic (that many of you may remember): if we boys were about to play a team sport, two of the higher-ranking boys would choose who they wanted on their team. So at nearly every gym class, each of us had a person-by-person measure of exactly who outranked us, and whom we outranked. I wasn't the last one chosen, because nobody actually ever chose me at all: they were just told that i was on their team because i was the last one left. I didn't outrank anyone; i was the bottom of the pile. National Honor Society was another big moment of shame: i had the best grades in my class, but because all off my activities were non-school activities like Boy Scouts and church, they wouldn't let me be on Honor Society. They completely invalidated the only thing i was good at -- schoolwork. Shame continued through college. I was so ashamed of myself, i could hardly talk to women my age. So i didn't have many dates. Didn't have my first date until i was 19, didn't experience my first kiss until i was 23, and was a virgin until well after i graduated from graduate school. Having so few sexual partners -- that's been a huge source of additional shame for me. I'm ashamed of my career failures, too: i was a trial lawyer for 12 years, but could never succeed in a law firm and couldn't make enough money on my own to support myself (i once washed trucks at UPS for awhile, just to bring in some the cash i wasn't making as a lawyer). I eventually had to leave law and become a computer technician, which is what i do now. I'm ashamed that i make so little money. Here i have a law degree, and in my last job i made only 30K a year (less than that, if you look at take-home pay). Now here i am, 57 years old, with a lifetime of failure behind me. I empathize with the people in this forum who write that they hate themselves. I hate myself, too; i wish i'd been a completely-different type of man. I'm grateful for my wife of 24 years, she's the one sunny spot in my life. But even in our marriage there's a lot to make me ashamed of myself: she makes more money than i do, her career is more stable and successful than mine, and we weren't able to have children. So i failed there, too. I'm sure very few people have read my entire story here. How could they? It's so long and so depressing. But i thank anyone who read any part of this without laughing at me or judging me. I needed to get all of this off of my chest, and i hope somehow i'll find comfort here. Thanks
Hi, I'm new. I'm 22 years old and dealt with severe depression from age 11 till about 19. I still deal with anxiety and I tend to resort to depression or anger when faced with life challenges. I am also diagnosed ADHD. I'm really trying hard to be an independent and confident individual but I have so much self doubt and I think way too much. In the past I only thought negative thoughts, but I now do have positive thoughts, but they don't out weigh the negative. I think I emotionally hurt people and I think I over step social boundaries with people. I need help truly believing my positive thoughts and dismissing the negative. My positive opinions of my self are only ever temporary and I act and behave more based on my negative thoughts. Am I doing this right?