I would like some help in dealing with my insecurities. How can I ask it from my loved ones without coming across as selfish or annoying?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (21 answers total) 32 users marked this as a favorite
I have pretty low self-esteem and a high tendency to over-think things. In particular, I frequently become convinced that everyone around me dislikes me, even when rationally this doesn't even make sense.
In an ideal world, I would like people to constantly reassure me that they don't hate me. That's really all I would need: every once in a while when we're talking, just to let me know that I'm still doing all right, that I haven't completely lost their respect somehow with something I've said or done.
However, I don't know how to ask for this without annoying other people and conversely driving them further away with my ridiculous insecurity. I know that it makes people uncomfortable having to listen to my self-deprecating comments, because how are you really going to respond to that? Moreover, I don't want to be needy, or selfish. I mean, when it comes down to it, everyone would like to be told nice things all the time; asking for it just seems greedy. Plus I can't exactly go around asking people, "So, do you think I'm a colossal waste of space yet?" because there's no way they can possibly answer that honestly.
Example: I was talking to my boyfriend last night and said some things I shouldn't have. After we hung up, I had a miserable night, and then woke up physically pained and nauseous, unable to stop going over and over all the stupid stuff I'd said in my head. I started picturing break-up scenarios - not that I thought he would dump me out of the blue, but I was worried that he might be looking to but feel too guilty to do it right away. To save us both the trouble, I wanted to figure out how I could make it easier for him to leave me. But to my astonishment, when we finally talked in the evening, rather than being distant or uncomfortable, he instead asked me to meet his parents for the first time.
In this scenario, it would have been really nice to somehow have him let me know that he didn't hate me or think less of me for what I'd said. I badly wanted to contact him this afternoon, just to hear his voice and try to convince myself of just that, but I couldn't bring myself to do it. After I'd met his parents, we talked a little more, and again I wanted to ask, "Are we okay? Have I exhausted your patience? Is this when you first begin to feel that first inkling of disgust for me?" But there's no way he'd be able to say, "Why yes, in fact, I feel utmost disgust and loathing for you, you hideous creature." The only purpose the question would serve would be to fish for reassurances, which seems unacceptably self-indulgent to me.
Is there anything else I could have done instead to get the reassurances I needed, rather than spending all day in misery? In fact, I'm still unsure that we're completely okay, even though we had a lovely conversation. Maybe he does like me a little less than he did 24 hours ago, and the thought absolutely crushes me.
For what it's worth, I'm a female in my early twenties who has this problem in all her relationships (friends, parents, strangers). There are people I've been best friends with for half my life, and I still regularly have moments when I wonder if they hate me for this or that thing I've done. Is there any way to find out if they actually are annoyed with something I've done (and then correct it), rather than just getting the expected response back? Is there any way to stop worrying so much what others may or may not think of me, to the point where it actually does start to get them annoyed?
Finally, I believe that some MeFites might suggest I seek therapy, which is probably a good idea, but wouldn't really make sense at the moment, since I'll be moving in a few months. I might look into it once I've settled into my new location, but I'd really appreciate some advice about how to handle myself in the meantime.
I can be reached at: email@example.com.