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To think I'll never succeed at anything.

(19 Posts)
PFB2 Wed 13-Mar-19 21:05:13

For some reason, I never accomplish anything. I get 95% of the way there and it's not that I fall at the final hurdle, more that I give up just before getting to the last hurdle.

It's just dawned on me recently that I always, always do this and it's made me wonder why I give up just before I complete stuff. I'm wondering if I maybe just don't have enough faith in myself/self belief to see things through to completion.

I've just signed up to study something new and I looking at my track record, I'm guessing this will most likely follow the pattern. It's so demoralising.

PFB2 Wed 13-Mar-19 21:05:41

I just feel like such a failure.

PFB2 Thu 14-Mar-19 01:05:43


OccasionalKite Thu 14-Mar-19 01:21:29

Too little information. What are your circumstances?

blubblubblub Thu 14-Mar-19 01:30:48

If you're heading into this new course with the mindset that you'll probably fail again, then yes, you probably will. 'You' need to believe in yourself and your abilities. No point Mumsnetters telling you that you can do it, if you don't believe it yourself.

ElizabethMainwaring Thu 14-Mar-19 01:31:59

It's called self sabotage. What have you signed up to study PFB2?

PFB2 Thu 14-Mar-19 12:01:04

It's just a distance learning 6 month course I'm doing. I know I need to have a positive outlook on it and I promise, I am trying to. That's the whole reason I signed up. I want to finally start achieving things but deep down I feel scared that I'm going to end up quitting or failing.

woodcutbirds Thu 14-Mar-19 12:09:47

Elizabeth is right about self sabotage.

It's worth looking up some good self-help resources on Fear of Failure and also on Fear of Success. And do a bit of reflection too. Did you have a school or home background where either failure or success were picked on and sneered at?

Also, do you come from a background where you weren't taught how to study, manage your time/workload/stress levels etc? Without help, especially if you tend towards ADD?ADHD/ASD, depression or dyspraxia, it can just be insurmountable to work out how to keep going until the end. Do any of these apply?

PFB2 Thu 14-Mar-19 12:22:41

Growing up I was intellectually quite advanced. I was always top of my class/top of my year group.

I remember one particular incident. Me & 2 others from my year group were sitting a reading exam (I would have been 8 at the time). I used to put a lot of pressure on myself to do well. The 2 other children finished the exam but I hadn't quite finished yet. The teacher said not to worry, she would set a chair up for me outside the classroom the next day and I could finish it. Anyway, the following day, I sat outside to finish the paper and coincidentally, as I was sitting on the school corridor, my mum started walking towards me. She had a meeting at the school (she is a teacher). I went home that night and got so much stick from her because I should have been able to complete the test at the same speed the other kids did. Stuff like that happened often.

When I went to secondary school, I'd always try to do well to please my mum. It felt like she loved me for a moment when I had scored well at something. As I got older I realised that the feeling of love I got from her in those moments only lasted a second and then it was back to her being abusive. Even when I tried my best and did well, if someone did better she would put me down for it. At about age 15 I just completely gave up. Stopped working hard, studying. I couldn't handle the pressure anymore and the abuse that came afterwards. I just completely stopped caring. I passed a few A Levels but absolutely nothing like what I was capable of.

I never really thought that this could be linked to how I am today as it was so long ago. It's not just studying I fail at now. I procrastinate a lot because I feel overwhelmed by big tasks. Could this all be connected?

PFB2 Thu 14-Mar-19 12:24:39

I do feel down about the fact that I had so much potential and I threw it all away. I should have a great career but I have nothing.

GregoryPeckingDuck Thu 14-Mar-19 12:26:14

You may just not be pacing yourself. Most people I know (including me) have this problem. You hit hard and fast then you get tired and just give up.

Babdoc Thu 14-Mar-19 12:28:15

The roots of most adult problems are in our childhood, OP. I think you’d benefit from talking all this through with a therapist- not in order to spend hours navel gazing at past unhappiness, but to understand how it has affected you, and to put a plan in place for how to move beyond it.
Cognitive therapy would probably be the most useful for you. It would help you to identify the negative thoughts, and learn to challenge and replace them with a positive approach.

WildFlower2019 Thu 14-Mar-19 12:30:25

Read Steven Pressfields books!

Do the Work
The War of Art

Watch some Marie Forleo videos on YouTube about self sabotage etc.


Mishappening Thu 14-Mar-19 12:30:28

Perhaps redefine "succeed." WE all have a different idea of what success means for us. I am guessing that your definition of succeed has come from your Mum. How about having a definition of your own that is based on things other passing courses or tests.

You need to be asking yourself what happiness means to you and go for that. It may mean leading a bit of a laid back life and not climbing any ladders. That is as a valid a choice as wanting to be a high flyer.

WildFlower2019 Thu 14-Mar-19 12:32:54

OP we sound so much alike!

Also google Wait But Why's article about why we procrastinate!

Also, the chimp paradox by Steve Peters.

I am also a chronic procrastinator and never see things through... all of those resources I've mentioned go into why and how to get around it x x x

woodcutbirds Thu 14-Mar-19 13:19:26

I have to say all those explanatory books on procrastination didn;t help me at all. I've read both the Stephen pressfields, and Wait but Why and subscribed to Hillary Rettig's blog and I think I've read Chimp Paradox too.

My procrastination problem was EPIC. I won the prize. i know lightweights who think putting a job off for only three weeks or only three months is procrastination. Try ten years.The book that changed that (still bad but in normal range) was Willpower by Kelly McGonigal. (Also known as The Willpower Instinct and Maximum Willpower - as far as I can tell, the text inside the books is identical.)

Even more helpful, stopping and working out what else was wrong. I actually had some major physical and mental health problems I was burying. As soon as I dealt with them first and gave them the attention they needed, the procrastination problem lessened. It was as if some part of my brain was trying to say: don't start that until you've handled this. Only saying it really badly, obv, as it took me ten years to work it out.

PFB2 Thu 14-Mar-19 14:08:15

Thanks all. I'll have a look at these books and pick one to get started on.

woodcutbirds Thu 14-Mar-19 16:29:57

I never really thought that this could be linked to how I am today as it was so long ago.
I'd guess it's very definitely linked. If you have been taught that nothing but perfection will please the most important and powerful person in your life, then your subconscious will reckon it's better off not trying than trying and failing. You could get a lot form reading all the books mentioned, and also taking a look at Hillary Rettig's website/blog.

I really like McGonigal's approach because it's practical and broken down into tiny stages. She gives you exefcises to do over 10 weeks, to build up your willpower and challenge your inner procrastinator.

I had the opposite. My father is an embittered narcissist who hated and bullied anyone he perceived to be more successful than him. But he also loved to boast about his children's success as an adjunct to his own greatness. So in public he would (and still does) crow if I achieved anything worthy of boasting about, but behind closed doors I'd get sneered at and told that people like me were revolting. So I was caught between failing if I succeeded and failing if I failed. Either way, I'd be the butt end of his hatred. So I gave up. It took me until I was fifty to realise this. Now I've started to detach myself from him and his opinion, I find the procrastination isn't as bad. Funnily enough though, it's been terrible this week, and he's been on the phone to me constantly...

It's connected. I'm sure it is.

Lostandconfused240 Fri 15-Mar-19 12:06:29

Are you afraid of success?
Do you feel more comfortable with the idea of failure?
How is your self-esteem?
Do you feel you deserve to be happy?
Do you self-sabotage?

Think on these questions and answers truthfully.

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