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Scared of being rejected so I push people away...(12 Posts)
Hi, new member seeking advice as I don't feel this is something I can discuss with anyone I know.
I'm 41 and a single mum to a 9 year old. I've been completely single since he was 8 months old. I left his father after I found out he'd stolen my savings to spend on his numerous nights out, and because he'd cheated. I don't think I ever properly loved him, so I wasn't devastated that it ended or even that he'd cheated but I was destroyed when I found out he'd stolen from me.
I've never had a proper, loving relationship. All my partners bar one have cheated, and one used to hit me and steal from me. I've been lied to, disregarded, rejected, demoralised and hurt more times than I care to remember. I'm not a bad person, I'm can be caring, funny, generous to a fault and very forgiving. I can also be quite acerbic and grumpy at times, but no more than most people. Im not perfect by any means, but I definitely don't think I'm so terrible that I deserve the treatment I've had from men. This has led to a fear of finding a new relationship. I don't believe I will ever find a nice, kind man who will love me and not abuse me either mentally or physically.
I was also bullied at school, which has definitely formed my personality into what it is today. The girls who turned on me were led by a girl who made a habit of manipulating the group to turn against various members. I wasn't the first to receive their treatment, and I wasn't the last, but it's had a lasting impact as I'm now scared to make friends as I assume that I won't be liked. Even the school playground I feel my childhood fears creep in, and I say good morning to some people but I don't feel that I'm part of their "gang". I am finding that I keep to myself more and more, and I can count my friends on one hand. I rely heavily on my family as I know I can trust them 100% but they've got their own lives to lead and don't always want me tagging along.
In a nutshell, I want to know if anyone else has ever felt like this and how they got themselves out of this rut of self doubt and fear of relationships, both platonic and intimate?
Hi Natalieann, I too have never had the solid loving relationship either. Nor do I have many friends. My ex also was abusive physically and mentally. I don't have much advice unfortunately and I didn't want your post to go unanswered ,I hope someone more helpful will be along in a bit. Hugs x
Thank you Kimberley, it actually helps to know I'm not the only one who feels like this. I worry that I'll never overcome this feeling of a lack of self-worth, and that it will always jeopardise my chances of being happy. Really appreciate you took the time to respond xx
I'm coming out of a similar stage in my life. I found a good but challenging counsellor really useful. She helped me change my self-image by making me realise that some of my views were unfounded (e.g. feeling not good enough to be a friend) and also by making me set objectives and then follow through (e.g. go and join a sports club instead of sitting at home thinking about it, now actually talk to some people at the sports club).
You seem to have a good level of self-awareness and desire to change which is positive but it sounds like you need some push to make you do it. Maybe try some self-help books first (cheaper than counselling).
Don't think it was anything to do with you - I've had relationships end badly - and it has taken time for me to realise it was mainly them that were the arses. I have been cheated on, dumped, etc, etc and in someways am glad I didn't end up with those guys - they weren't that great if they can treat someone so shockingly bad.
What you have to do is learn from the past, not everyone in life is going to be like that. Be open to new men, be cautious but don't put up a wall. Oh yeah and maybe some luck will help.
I am cautious now, but also don't tolerate any crap from anyone and would rather be on my own than with someone that treated me badly.
I'm sure you are a lovely person - you just need to make a bit of effort - for exanple you don't need to be best friends with all your child's friends parents - just pick one and other friendships will develop naturally from there.
Thanks, this is all really good advice. I think I do need to come out of my shell, as my lack of confidence probably comes across as aloofness. I'd love proper therapy to work through my issues, but maybe a self-help book is a good place to start
Can you afford therapy Natalie? Or, what I mean is, can you find the funds by pushing aside other things?
Women's orgs offer low cost therapy and there are a lot of orgs that offer the same, you just have to dig. I wouldn't recommend what the NHS has to offer, except CBT which is a good bedrock set of skills to learn. You can find a therapist through the BACP site, select a list of local therapists you like the look of, most have a sliding fee scale, just ask.
I relate to your op and it's something I have to keep my eye on - or it becomes self-fulfilling! I'd say about the crap romantic relationships that red flags were probably showing early on only you didn't recognise them, probably due to crap primary relationships/modelling? Have you done the Freedom Programme? Please do.
As for friendships, they take quite sophisticated skills imo - or sophisticated for those of us who got blown out of the water by bullying at a crucial age. A lot of it is confidence, really, self-confidence (that illusive thing!) Ie most bullying has zero to do with us, our self worth, everything to do with the bully and their inadequacies.
I'm currently bunching up the courage to invite people round. I've had some horrible experiences - so bad they're almost laughable - so wish me luck.
Thanks Springydaffs and good luck!! It's a very brave step you're taking, as I would do anything to avoid having lots of people to my house. Let me know how it goes.
I've always believed I'm priced out of proper therapy so I'll definitely look into the options you suggested. There's definitely deep rooted issues that are influencing the decisions I've made, but what they may be I don't really know. I did have nhs therapy about twenty years ago when I was being treated for depression and I found no benefit from it whatsoever.
Please do try to get some therapy.
The school playground can bring back memories, and lots of people seem to revert to being "kids" when they stand there to collect their own (as evidenced by some of the silliness often talked about on MN).
And something you could do is try to develop some "low risk" friendships/acquaintances. So people you meet at an evening class, people you just chat to when helping sort stuff for a PTA sale, shop assistants. People who it really doesn't matter much if they really like you or not. But if they do, at least it's someone you can exchange a friendly smile with.
I am marking a place because this could also be written about me. It is so hard to trust even the closest people when you have been let down often
I had a constant fear of rejection after my dad left as a kid. All my life I have pushed people away because I thought they would eventually leave anyway. I had CBT and quite frankly it changed everything. My relationship with DP wouldn't have survived if I didn't do it.
Definately look into therapy. I did believe it would work but it's changed everything
Maybe have a look at Love Me Don't Leave Me ?
It's aimed at relationships, but it also really useful for helping unpack and unpick unhelpful coping mechanisms in general that you picked up in early life.
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