Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

"why do you allow other people to affect you SO much?"

(23 Posts)
harveybristol Sun 23-Aug-15 15:02:47

This is what DH said to me and he's right. I do. I always have. I'm far too sensitive for my own good and seem to pick up on negativity (or like DH says perceived negativity) far too easily. It could be a tone of voice, a feeling or being ignored by someone more than usual and it affects my mood and the rest of my day.
My upbringing was turbulent and I was constantly on pins because of Dad's mood swings and I've put it down to that. I've had some therapy which has helped me acknowledge my feelings as valid instead of feeling bad about them, but what I can't do is be resilient. How can I be more resilient and less sensitive. I eventually pull myself away from everyond around me- family, friends colleagues once I pick up on the slightest bit of negativity or bad feeling. It's like I climb back into my box on auto-pilot. This is really affecting my relationships with everyone. What can I do about it?

Vixxfacee Sun 23-Aug-15 15:47:46

Watching with interest. I could have written your post!

whatsinthename Sun 23-Aug-15 15:54:30

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

MommysNotTalkingToday Sun 23-Aug-15 16:11:42

I'm like that too, OP. I lived with an abusive man for several years and during that time learned to be afraid, and very careful not to provoke him when he was angry, upset, tired, bored, dis-satisfied etc (eg. most of the bloody time). It sounds like your sensitivity to other peoples negative feelings may have been learned as a defence mechanism too.

Is your DH aware of your upbringing and the effect it has had on you?

Elllimam Sun 23-Aug-15 16:26:20

I could have written this too, watching with interest.

KetchupIsNearlyAVegetable Sun 23-Aug-15 16:53:34

If you are a people pleaser maybe it would help to make it less about you?

Imagine how friends and family feel if they are scared to show the slightest negativity because of how harvey might react.

Isn't everyone else allowed to have the odd grump now and then without you running away from them?

pocketsaviour Sun 23-Aug-15 18:57:17

Would you consider working with a therapist to combat this further? It sounds like your previous counselling helped resolve some of your internal turmoil, but you are still displaying behaviour learned in childhood to deal with the emotional abuse you suffered, but those behaviours are no longer relevant and are now hurting your relationships.

A CBT-based approach might be of use here.

Skiptonlass Sun 23-Aug-15 20:29:24

The way you feel isn't uncommon at all - I bet a lot of people will read this and relate.

Cbt could indeed work well for you here - it's not the panacea for all ills the NHS likes to push, but for this kind of thing it is pretty good.

Watching with interest to see what others use to cope, but I relate. My dh is so, so grounded and just doesn't get upset about things like I do smile

SpongeBobJudgeyPants Sun 23-Aug-15 20:36:09

I grew up in a household where my dad was a bit of a bully. My XH had many similarities, and I felt a lot like you. As I have got older, things have got better, but I am still more sensitive than I would like. Therapy helped, as well as age.

brokenhearted55a Sun 23-Aug-15 23:32:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

imwithspud Sun 23-Aug-15 23:47:46

I can really relate to this. It has hindered a fair few friendships in the past as a result in the sense that I assume that someone is irritated with me in some way so I back off and give them space and wait for them to contact me which comes across like I'm the one with the problem when I'm just trying to prevent a problem from occurring in the first place. I have lost friends over time and I also struggle to make new friends as a result as I never make the first move and I guess it comes across like I'm stuck up or not interested when it's usually the complete opposite and I'm just worried people won't like me.

I have been trying to work on it though by acknowledging the fact that the above paragraph is all very 'me' centred and that actually, the world doesn't revolve around me and what I'm doing. And instead of thinking 'I must have done something to upset x' I need to be like 'x must have a lot on at the moment'.

Imbroglio Mon 24-Aug-15 02:03:24

I wonder if you are taking your husbands observation as a a criticism?

I'm 'over-sensitive' too and I think its because my parents used to dismiss my anxieties, so that if, for example, I was upset about a fall-out with a friend at school, instead of a cuddle or reassurance I would be told I was overreacting and over-involved with the friend, so I'd end up feeling upset about the friend and upset that my parents didn't seem to think it mattered and worried that there was something wrong with me. I was often told I was neurotic by my mother.

Probably not much comfort to you but as I've got older I find that things that used to upset me are simply less important - a lot more experience and 'bigger things' to worry about I guess.

You say that the therapy you had validated your feelings so maybe you could ask your husband to do the same? Maybe ask him to help you by acknowledging how you are feeling, and also helping you to focus more on the positive things which have happened during the day.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Mon 24-Aug-15 14:02:06

Harvey , you did not say if your father was an alcoholic. Your post reminded me of Adult Children of Alcholics (ACOA). Google: acoa laundry list. (Sorry, I can not link on this device.) It may not apply to you (or others reading) but it may ring a few bells.

I was like this too. (My mother was an alcoholic.) She passed on when I was 18, back in 1980. When I was around 35, I forgave myself for being me. Sounds ridiculous, but I can only do so much with what I have to work with...sounds a bit self defeating, but it changed my perspective. It removed so many manufactured expectations and frustration related to those expectations. A burden lifted.

And...when you reach a certain age, for me around 45, you just don't give a shit what other people think anymore (within context and reason). It is like another moment of clarity that you are living your own life. I think for me, it went hand in hand with understanding that being alone is ok: there are worse things. It reminds me of the bumper sticker: the more people I meet, the better I like my cat.

harveybristol Mon 24-Aug-15 15:05:15

You are correct, my Dad was alcohol dependent. That's a really good observation! I'll definitely look into that.
There seems to be a lot of us sensitive types out there, maybe some of us naturally pick up on subtleties that others don't whether it be because of our environment or just the way we're wired? It's exhausting though and I wish at times, I could sit in my own skin happily without analysing what's going on behind everyone elses.

harveybristol Mon 24-Aug-15 15:09:14

I fit the laundry list. Makes me sad.

AutumnMadness Wed 26-Aug-15 10:10:02

harvey, I have a partner who is just like you. I definitely don't think it's an ability to pick up on subtleties that others don't see. It much more likely to be an anxiety and possibly depression-related disorder (depressed people often feel that the world revolves around them). My partner will report to me on a daily basis the minute observations about other people but will rarely notice things that matter in my behaviour, like the fact that I am utterly fed up with his negativity. That's a very selective ability to pick up on subtleties.

I know that it is hard for you to live like this, constantly on edge, spending precious time and energy obsessing about what other people think about you. To give credit to my partner, he is trying very hard to get over his state of being - counselling, medication, etc. Perhaps you could try to get some professional help too.

From experience, I know that it is also hard on your partner. Constantly playing a role of an emotional crutch is really pants. It drives me insane when my partner greets me with stories about how horrible somebody was to him every evening after work. I do my best to be understanding as I know it's an illness, and not his fault but it does not make it any less exhausting.

MrsSadness Wed 26-Aug-15 12:49:55

OP I am like you.

Have you ever tried Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)?

Smilingforth Wed 26-Aug-15 14:52:26

I've just looked at the EFT and it looks like something you should consider.

MrsSadness Thu 27-Aug-15 08:29:44

I use it a lot and for all sorts of things. It's free to learn (thousands of tap along videos on Youtube) and takes minutes to learn.
Once you know how to do it you can use it any time.
It really helps me.

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Thu 27-Aug-15 09:11:23

I used to worry a lot about what people said, if I'd upset them, what they thought of me. It was a nightmare being in my head!

DMum (who solves the majority of my problems!) suggested keeping a notebook with brief details of said worry about said person, date it, then schedule it for "worrying time" precisely 2 weeks later.

Whenever you think about that particular "slight" say to yourself "I'm going to worry about that when my phone tells me to!"

It's a bit odd but it does make you laugh how silly your concerns are. By the time you get to your worrying time you're like " I can't believe I thought so-and -so didn't like me because she didn't mention me in FB post" blush

Theydontknowweknowtheyknow Thu 27-Aug-15 09:16:07

It's also interesting what people have said about their dads. Mine is lovely I have to say but when I was a kid he was always the one whose approval was harder to get.

Mum's was a given.

Wando Thu 27-Aug-15 12:48:01

I'm lucky both my mum and dad were great but it reminds me how lucky I am

Whatifitoldyou Thu 27-Aug-15 13:18:14

I've had a similar problem. I'm trying to resolve it.

I think it happens when people hold a negative belief about themselves. Sometimes you don't know you have this belief but all interactions are viewed through the lens of this belief. We then scan the environment and seek to reinforce the belief.

I read a good example of this a while ago. Jane has invited some friends round for lunch. It's a lovely day so she decides to have lunch in the garden. Friend A is thrilled and enjoys the relaxed lunch , commenting on the lovely weather and food. Friend B has a different experience. She feels lunch in the garden was a ploy to keep her out of the house. She feels Jane is angry with her and worries she's upset her. She decides she wasn't really welcome and decides she won't be visiting again.

Both people had exactly the same experience but their beliefs about themselves (not Jane) determined how they felt about the experience.

I've found this very helpful.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now