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How can I train myself not to care about people's opinions of me?

(20 Posts)
MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 19:38:01

I have anxiety and depression, I am currently taking meds which are helping but I'd say I was only about 30% on the road to recovery. I have been suicidal up until only a few weeks ago and I still feel vulnerable that I could regress at anytime, feeling fragile would be the best way to describe it.

As my mood has lifted a little I have treated myself to a much wanted and planned tattoo (small and on my inner wrist/ lower arm) and got an undercut so that when I put my hair into a ponytail it can be seen, otherwise you really wouldn't guess it had been done.

My DH and DS' have been really supportive and the boys both think I look cool and that the tattoo/hair cut suit me and I've been happy and feeling more like my old pre-depressed self. I'm 45 next month and was starting to look/feel a bit mumsy but now I feel a bit more confident about myself, that was until I showed my parents.

Both Parents have had a go at me, what have I done? Why? Don't do that anymore/again, that kind of thing and I'm devastated. I've tried not to cry but it's so hard, I've made so much progress with my mood and I feel slapped down again. DH says ignore them, he loves my slightly (for me) new edgy image but all I can think about is their negativity.

Anyone any tips or any pointers to try and train myself not to care? I don't have fantastic self esteem and this is eating away at me now.

Thank you for reading and keeping with me, if you made it to the end.

Assam Sat 20-Aug-16 19:42:38

I would say repeated slaps all my life have made me not care. Only started not caring about 5 years ago though . Im 39 now and I think I'm too old for this shit.

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 19:48:00

Assam, I really think if it had been anyone else, work colleagues for example, I wouldn't have cared about their opinion but because it's my parents their comments have really hurt which I'm struggling to deal with.

Sorry to hear you have had continual slap downs too.

I've been trying to visualise myself flicking Vs at them and saying fuck you but it's so hard.

JacquettaWoodville Sat 20-Aug-16 19:49:17

Hopefully this doesn't sound flip, but you are with your DH and DS, what, 95% of your free time and your parents only 5%? Therefore give DH and DS's positive opinion 19 times more weight. If you catch yourself thinking about what your parents said, think "oh, now I have to spend 19 mins thinking nice things about my image as I just spent 1 minute remembering that silly mean stuff."

I know this is hard, but it might help you catch the negative thoughts before they go on too long.

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 20:01:12

Thanks Jacquetta I will try that, sounds like a plan. I'm determined to get better, have been meditating, exercising, making sure I eat healthily, making me-time which I haven't done for years. I know its one step forward and three steps back but its always the step backs that floor me every time.

erinaceus Sat 20-Aug-16 20:05:56

I think it is okay to care what other people think of you. Spend time with people who think highly of you. You care what your parents think of you; why would you not?

It does not sound to me as if your response to your parents was an overreaction. If you had tattooed your DS, then maybe they would have a point. But your body is yours to decorate as you wish. Did you feel able to explain to your parents why it was that you got the tattoo and what it means to you? Do you feel able to do this?

Why try not to cry? Unless you are, like, driving somewhere or something? Why not cry?

Assam Sat 20-Aug-16 20:09:01

Ah right, it's my parents who do it mostly! If your parents are usually ok try to remember they love you, it's not coming from a nasty place, rather just old fashioned? Unused to the 'new' you?
Otherwise I would say try to remember those that matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter flowers

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 20:20:42

I tried to explain what the tattoo meant, some of it is linked to rebirth and fresh starts (its a lotus flower and a semicolon combined). My parents didn't understand that, even though I thought they have been really supportive this time round. My DM was genuinely shocked when I explained to her that my depression had meant I have suicidal feelings, she then said she just thought I had been sad, and maybe I should tell myself to buck up a bit. My first bout of depression was nearly 10 years ago and this bout has been ongoing since March. I was so surprised and hurt that she thinks I could control it if I chose to, she is aware its a chemical imbalance, I've explained iit to her multiple times. Sorry if I'm harping on BTW. I'm trying not to cry as I find if I get tearful it can knock me back by days and I'm hoping to return to work next week.

erinaceus Sat 20-Aug-16 20:33:38

Yes. Suicidal feelings can come as a shock to parents, especially if they do not know about their very existence.

How do you feel about returning to work? (Will your work mind that you have a tattoo? That could be inconvenient...on crying in the workplace, I have a saying, I am a professional, I cry in the disabled toilet. Crying at work can be annoying, though, if I am trying to, you know, do my job and things.)

I have been meaning to get a tattoo all of my life. I tell myself I will do it when I am over the age of fifty, to avoid people quizzing me over what will happen when my body ages. I figured that by the time I am post-menopausal I will be believed when I say that this issue has been taken into consideration. My youngest sister has loads of tattoos and keeps getting new ones. Quite what she thinks will happen when her body ages, I have no idea. Are you able to post a picture or a sketch of the design? You may prefer not to, as they can be identifying. <derails thread with tattoo-related questions>

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 20:53:26

I think the worst thing about DMs reaction was that I wondered exactly what she thought my visits to the docs, psychiatrist, counseling services contact pychotherapist etc etc was all about? Ah well...

Work should be OK I think, one of the managers has full sleeve tattoos and wears short sleeves so I can't see my little effort being offensive, we aren't customer facing so it should be fine, however I'm actually going back to work to be dismissed. I've already had a written warning for poor attendance before this last bout so I'm not expecting to be there long once I return which is a shame as I quite like my job and even the managers agree I'm good at it.

I will try and add a pic for you, I'm not generally ashamed of being ill so I'm not too concerned about being outed.

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 20:55:37

Erinaceus get your tattoo! Its liberating! YOLO as my boys say.

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 21:02:09

My first tattoo, I will be going back to have it coloured soon. It wasn't painful and I'm planning to have more. <derails own thread as well>

erinaceus Sat 20-Aug-16 21:06:22

I am sorry that you are going back in order to be dismissed. That is crap. If your managers agree that you are good at it, does the dismissal need to go ahead?

Do you have a plan for what you will do next?

The other problem with my getting a tattoo is that I look back over the various designs I have thought of or sketched over the years and think blush about some of them.

erinaceus Sat 20-Aug-16 21:09:44

In my family the MH problems go back generations, which is a story of its own, but, yes, your mum might easily be shocked if she had no idea what you were going through. Poor you though. Maybe her reaction to the tattoo and everything is all mixed up with her shock? Tattoos are quite a generational thing as well. There is a sort of class-related thing to do with tattoos, or at least there was, and I think that these ideas are very difficult to break. I am not sure my parents chastise my sister openly but I am not sure that they exactly embrace what she is doing.

Stoneagemum Sat 20-Aug-16 21:23:19

This maybe if no use to you as my depression is mild at present and I did not do this whilst in active treatment but it helps now and I notice I dip in mood when I've not done it for a few days
When I wake up (usually between 1st alarm and snooze alarm) I recite a positive self manta to myself in my head several times. It works better when I start it with "I am" not just thinking the words. For example mine is " I am strong, smart & slim" this addresses my personal anxieties, yours could be totally different but the words you use need to be positive and combat the negative thoughts about yourself that depression causes.
It's feels weird to begin with, but you are starting your day with positive thoughts about yourself that no one can challenge as you are saying it to yourself.

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 21:24:47

You are correct about the generational / class response from my parents, although my family are working class, my dad doesn't "believe" in them. Next time I see him if he brings it up again I will ask him why he didn't respond that way when my twin bro proudly showed off his tattoo many years ago.

You are right to be cautious about your tattoo design choice, even I had a qualm after I'd had it done and thought omg it really is permanent. My hair and tattoo are definitely me trying to reclaim my body in someway though, which is a very different response to my depression this time. I may live to regret the tattoo but I don't think I will as its a reminder to myself that I've got through it once and I will do it again (and again and again if I have to). I don't want to let it beat me.

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 21:25:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MiaFarrowsWheelbarrow Sat 20-Aug-16 21:43:00

Stoneagemum, you are fab! You have helped me remember an old mantra I used years ago when I first had self esteem based anxiety AND I've managed to dig it out again:

"I have energy and self-confidence. The people I meet are friendly and supportive. I have a fresh outlook on life and feel inspired by possibilities. I have a sense of power. Life is firmly in my control. I have a clear dream and my attitude is great. I have energy to spare. I spend time with people who are cheerful and lively. I am feeling confident today and I feel really positive about the future. I have plenty of enthusiasm for my life. My dream is within reach. I am confident that I can achieve the goals I set. Today is going to be a great day".

Its a bit of a mouthful but even just reading that back made me feel more positive. It was given to me by my life coach who at the time was helping me drag myself out of the lethargy of CBA. Hope it helps someone else too.

Stoneagemum Sat 20-Aug-16 21:53:48

Mia glad I was of some use, if you are able try to say it to yourself on waking each day, If not on waking as soon as you can, it sounds cliched (sp?) but positive self talk helps, it is something I got from cbt style therapy, I thought it was nonsense at first but gave it a good go and find it helps as long as I keep at it.

erinaceus Sat 20-Aug-16 22:58:26

I missed the bit about your hair. What is an undercut? My hair is an important part of my identity, and, yes, less permanent than a tattoo.

If I have any sort of mantra, it is "hair grows".

It is interesting that your dad reacted differently to your brother getting tattoo and you getting one. You might find that you have hit a nerve in him that he did not really know was there? I think for now I will continue to think about tattoo designs. That is enough for me, for now.

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