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What can I do?

(33 Posts)
TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 12:06:54

I'm going to try and keep this as brief as I can, because there's just so much of it.

I've been here for a while now under one name mainly and I've talked quite extensively about the emotionally abusive childhood/adolescence/adulthood/relationship with my mother. My dad was also emotionally abused by her and his frustration/anger about this manifested in physical abuse against me.

Typically dysfunctional family; I was the scapegoat, my younger sibling was the Golden Child with all of the shit that goes with that too.

My mother spent my entire life criticising me. From an early age I knew I was a disappointment and an embarrassment. I couldn't tell you a single thing my mother/parents liked about me, but I could fill several sides of A4 with everything they didn't like. Everything from every aspect of my appearance, intelligence, personality, character traits, just everything about me. It would seem that I didn't have a single redeeming feature.

I've been NC with her for about 4 years. My dad died 6 months later.

I have posted about this on the feelings it has left me with many times. People reply, but I still can't change how I feel. I can't afford therapy, I can barely afford to meet my essential monthly outgoings so there is no room to forgo a night out or whatever to cover it.

I have had a series of physically, emotionally and financially abusive relationships as an adult. When I told my mother about the first one, she told me I was lucky anyone was willing to take me on and I should be careful not to provoke him in future because he might dump me next time (instead of hitting me). I was 18 at the time and so it continued.

One thing I really struggle with, is that I have never been loved. I'm now completely on my own. I have two children 10 and nearly 18. I work full time, but I work on short term contracts because I can't handle the feelings of inadequacy that go with having a permanent job.

When my marriage ended 4 years ago, I didn't have a single real life friend. I knew a few people, but I didn't know any of them well enough to even tell them my marriage had ended. In absolute desperation, I reached out to people IRL and built up a small 'friendship group'. I put that in ' ' because I've never really felt that they are true friends. I struggle to trust and let people in. There are a couple of people who have seen beyond the 'self' I show others and have worked out some of the issues I have. They have told me that I do keep people at arms length and that, unfortunately, it works. I was very saddened to hear this because I've tried very hard with these people.

This friendship group is made up of about 10 - 15 people. It's not a close, in each other's pocket, group, but there were a couple of people I was closer to than others and we were mostly long term single (between 8 and 12 years). Unfortunately, the single people in the group have, over the past 12 months, found partners. And I have found that once again, I don't have anyone.

I feel utterly bereft. I have cried almost constantly for the last month. And not because I'm miserable or wallowing. I'm fine when I'm with them, or my children, or at work, but as soon as I'm alone, my eyes literally start leaking and I can't stop it. The sadness at the feeling of loneliness and being alone is overwhelming me.

I don't have the resources or the opportunity or the time to start again with new friendship groups. These people are linked to my hobby. I love my hobby. I have another hobby which is important to my physical health and mental wellbeing but isn't really useful for meeting others, and I don't have the time or the money to start another. And, at my age (41), it's not easy to start again anyway.

I just feel utterly, utterly heartbroken. I've concentrated on trying to get to know people, build trust and friendships over the past few years and now feel that, as they socialise more in couples and just with their partners, that I am cast aside. Most of them have no idea how I feel, so it's not that they are avoiding whining, miserable me.

I've always been told that no one would like me/want me/love me whatever and I've tried so hard over the past few years to reprogramme my thinking. I look for evidence that people do value me in their actions. I'm kind but not a pushover; I'm considerate and positive, I challenge, I make people laugh, I remember things about themselves that they tell me, I'm not 'wrapped up in myself' and it makes no difference.

I know I keep a lot of 'me' to myself. My upbringing left a terrible legacy of anxiety and feelings of inadequacy. I don't expect to be liked so I know that as soon as someone is unavailable or has made plans with someone else, I take it very personally. I never say anything, because on one level I think I'm being over sensitive, but I can't stop the voice that is telling me it's proof that everything my mother said is true.

I'm single and can't see that changing. I don't meet men generally, and rarely ones I'm attracted to, but it doesn't make any difference, because no one is attracted to me either! I don't ever get asked out. Men don't even make an effort to come and speak to me. I tried online dating, it was rather unsuccessful. My experience was that men are looking for someone younger and prettier than me so... I have no desire to try it again.

I take care of myself, I could probably stand to lose a stone, but I'm a size 12-14, I think I've got a 'nice' figure, I'm nothing special to look at but I'm not hideous. I smile. My hair is nice.

Whenever I read about the things I need to do to attract people, I do all the things. I'm positive and I don't moan; I publicly see the bright side; I stop to appreciate the world around me; I'm very much a 'see the doughnut and not the hole' person.

Yet, I'm still not likeable and I'm still not loveable.

The sadness is huge. I just wonder sometimes if she might have been right and people don't like me/find me attractive/love me because they can see all the things she said and maybe she was right after all.

I just don't know what to do.

I have posted on here before, it's just that every few months it becomes a huge issue for me again and I just don't seem to be able to get past it at all. There's part of me that just needs someone to tell me that, actually, some people are just intrinsically unlikable/unlovable and then I can work on just trying to accept that I'm one of them. At the moment, all i have is people telling me it's not true but that contradicts my lived experience and I'm just getting stuck.

I'm just so sad.

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 12:07:41

Ah shit that wasn't brief at all!

Scarlettablue Sun 26-Jun-16 12:28:13

You are in very difficult and painful place right now and my heart goes out to you.

I can tell from your post that, without a shadow of a doubt you are not an unloveable person. On the contrary, you sound sensitive, thoughtful, interesting and considerate.

I know from what happened to me and from everything I've learnt in life just how deeply we internalise our early experiences. If that experience is of not being loved - and you had it in spades - it is extremely difficult to feel loveable or even likeable, despite everything our logic tells us.

What helped me enormously - saved my life in fact - was therapy. I'm not talking about CBT (which is fine for less entrenched difficulties) but long-term, exploratory therapy. It's painful and there's no quick fix but it is likely to help. I would particularly recommend group therapy (which can be cheaper) because it will give you the opportunity to understand how others see you. If you are not lucky enough to live in an area where you can get it on the NHS, I would check out the Group Analysis website. I wish you the best of luck.

Hotwaterbottle1 Sun 26-Jun-16 12:41:08

I didn't want to read & not post. I have no experience at all with what you have been through but I can honestly say I truly believe you are not unlike able or unloveable. I'm sure your children love you very much and you sound like a lovely person. It does sound like you try too hard though to be perfect. It's ok to have a sad day or down day or ask someone for advice. I bet if you opened up to one of your friends it would open up things for you. If it helps I've separated from my husband (although still living together & not told everyone yet) and although have a group of really close friends I'm already feeling a little left out. It's not meant it's just they have partners and I don't so plans they are making, which I know I could easily go along to I'm not because it will be all couples. I just need to get used to that.

Please try and open up to someone.

OliviaBenson Sun 26-Jun-16 12:51:00

It sounds like you need to love yourself first? I'm so sorry for your upbringing. I'd also recommend counselling.

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 13:15:20

Scarlett I've been referred for cbt, but I'm not particularly enthused. I know it's not enough. I was refused cbt the first time I was referred for it because I already do a lot of the strategies that they use. And I do. It's how I generally get through life as well as I do. But it's not enough. I need restoring to 'factory settings' and to be reprogrammed from scratch, but that's what I can't afford. In my most positive moments, I can see that intellectually, it's unlikely I'm completely unlikeable/unloveable, or at least, it is unlikely I was born that way, but I think I've certainly become it because I just don't know what it is or what it looks like or how to recognise it. I wouldn't recognise it now if someone did love me or know how to experience it or what that meant for them or anything. I don't know what it means, as much as anything.

I will have a look into group therapy in my area. thank you for the suggestion.

Hotwaterbottle I do try hard to be 'perfect'. And not achieving it is a big problem for me. Because every aspect of me that made me, Me was criticised and perfection was pointed out to me in other people, I have no sense of my own worth or value. I was told I wouldn't be liked or loved if I wasn't perfect. And my imperfections were pointed out to me as reasons why no one would like or love me.

I don't expect perfection in others and I recognise that in others, their imperfections are what make them unique and Them, and can be quite endearing. But in myself, imperfections are just failures because I don't have any intrinsic worth/value.

I can't count my children in people who love me because they are attached to me. It's different, they depend on me. They need me. I mean someone who looks at me, either a parent, friend or lover who sees me and thinks how lucky they are to have me in their life, who looks forward to seeing me, who is excited when they see me, who values my company, who respects my opinion, who seeks me out. Not someone who doesn't know how they're going to get home or eat or whatever without me. Someone who has chosen to love me.

The very first opportunity someone had to do that, they didn't. And they told me that no one else would either. And what reason would they have to lie?

I have opened up to one person. She has tried very hard but we have fallen out a few times over it because we both get frustrated by what the other is saying. Worst thing is, she is very skilled in this area.

Olivia How do I do that though? What does that look like? What does 'loving yourself' mean? I mean, I've been hit on by married men and I reject them all because I believe that I'm worth more than being someone's bit on the side, so I get told my self esteem must be good. I eat healthily and I exercise because I tell myself I'm worth more than that and I owe it to myself to treat myself with kindness. I'm educated to post grad because I value personal development and education and I have a professional career (albeit not a permanent job). My main hobbies are both recognised as having physical and mental health benefits. And it makes no lasting different.

But I don't feel I deserve anything more.

I had counselling for about 6 months couple of years ago, but she ultimately suggested I saw someone else as she was, essentially, just a bit out of her depth.

I just don't know how to do it.

But thank you.

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 13:20:03

One thing that crops up again and again for me, in terms of romantic relationships, which obviously isn't an issue for me at the moment, is this.

How do you compete with all the other women? How do you constantly make sure that they are interested in you and not anyone else?

I've been out with a couple of men since my marriage ended, and both of them were still looking elsewhere because I wasn't good enough. I was good enough for now, but not good enough. How do I become better than just good enough for now?

My friend keeps telling me that that's not how it works and you don't have to be better than everyone else to be loved. But I can't make it make sense.

I find that I'm constantly comparing myself to other people and finding myself lacking.

Just not being me is enough to make someone 'better' than me. So there's never any break from it.

Hotwaterbottle1 Sun 26-Jun-16 13:42:51

Aww morning, I don't know what to say or do to help you, your parents have hurt you so badly but please know it is them in the wrong. You did not deserve to be made to feel like this. Please seek professional help.

Don't compare yourself to others, everyone has their good & bad points.

MatildaTheCat Sun 26-Jun-16 14:01:25

Learning to be comfortable in one's own skin is a life's work for many people. Even the most confident and outwardly stable people do have doubts and fears about their own worth.

I notice that the truly strong and loving relationship in your life is present and wonderful yest you seem to dismiss it as useful to this issue: that with your own children. You sound like a warm, loving and emotionally available parent but aren't giving it any weight in this. You are building life long loving bonds of the strongest possible kind. That counts. It counts so much. You won't be perfect because nobody is.

Can you focus on recognising your worth as a mother, friend, colleague? Forget searching for love, it comes when you least expect it. You are doing all the right things but it almost sounds like ticking boxes: education, hobbies, self care etc. You can do less if it pleases you. Just be.

I would second and third the notion of further therapy but only if you try want to change your mindset. So far on this thread you have responded quite negatively to ideas. So what would help you? How can you work slowly towards feeling any better?

I'm currently doing a free online course in mindfulness with FutureLearn which I highly recommend.

Best wishes.

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 14:02:48

I know. I think I just feel that my bad points make me vulnerable to people realising they don't like me after all (even if they briefly thought they did).

Even when I think maybe people do like me, I always feel vulnerable to them realising they don't.

It's exhausting. But I don't know how to stop it, or if I should, or even if it's wrong to do that.

Ah, I shouldn't have posted. I feel like I'm drowning in thought of it all now. I'll go for a walk instead, I think.

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 14:22:08

Matilda You're right, I have responded negatively. And I know I shouldn't; it's not going to help.

But I feel that the crux of it is that I am just not good enough and that other people see that.

I think what would help me is being able to just accept that I'm not going to have those things. I get angry with myself that I need to be liked and have friends; that I feel I would like to have a relationship one day. I need to be able to just accept that it isn't the case, rather that feeling sad that it isn't the case. I don't want a relationship at the moment, I'm not looking for love. But I would like to be able to have one one day, but I'm not getting any younger and now all I can see is that I had all the same failings/flaws as I did as a teenager/20something, only now I'm also the 'wrong side of 40' and so I have the effects of ageing to add to the list of things wrong with me too.

I just don't know how else to do it.

I know it looks like box ticking as well, it felt like it while I was typing it! But it's because "going to college" or "taking up hobbies" or "exercising and taking pride in your physical appearance" are all things that are advised to people who start similar threads and they've been said to me before, too. i suppose I was just outlining that I do do those things. It's not that I'm sitting at home in my pjs, watching daytime telly and getting caught in a downward spiral of negativity.

I set myself challenges, I push myself outside of my comfort zone. If I wrote a 'pen portrait' of myself, I don't think I would come across as obviously unlikeable or unloveable, but my lived experience is that I am. Or at least not likeable enough.

I don't really know what my worth is as a friend. I keep confidences, I don't gossip or run people down. But it's always me who initiates contact, it's always me who suggests meeting up, it's always me who is gracious and understanding when something (genuine) crops up and they cancel. I'm not demanding, hard work or high maintenance. But it doesn't seem to make any difference.

As a colleague, I'm similar. I do my job to the best of my ability, I fulfil all the requirements, I go above and beyond when I can, I'm not afraid to say, "no" if I genuinely can't. But I only do it on short term contracts because I begin to feel overwhelmed by the fear of failure in permanent jobs; I worry that people will realise I'm not as good as they think I am. Then I can leave on a high. But it does also mean that I don't have any deep or long term colleague relationships either.

As a parent, I know I'm not perfect, I'm ok with that. I do my best on the whole. I have the same levels of parental guilt at not being able to do or provide stuff and at working.

I'm reading this back and thinking it's going to look as though I'm a weak people pleaser too, and i'm not that either. Despite not really having many friends, I feel I have too few people in my life to tolerate people who don't respect me, so I have ended a friendship where I found out the person was being rather judgemental of me when talking to other people. And she was someone who, at the time, I considered to be the closest of my friends. It really threw me to find out she didn't actually like me after all. Or at least not enough to not slag me off to other people.

Saltfish Sun 26-Jun-16 15:07:27

I'm so sorry about your

I too was abused growing services involved but my mother chose to stay with my step dad because "she "couldn't afford to leave." (i.e. Wasn't willing to give up the lifestyle she was accustomed to) I went to live with my grandparents. I've been through bad friendships, abusive relationships, and all the counseling you could throw at a person. I was depressed, suicidal, and unloved.

I had been let down by many many people in my life so I became my own best friend. I had no choice. I had to.
There are many, many people we encounter in our lifetime, not all of them will love us, but most of them don't even love themselves. Not everyone who has children should. We were the unlucky ones. But isn't it wonderful you have the ability to to be everything you need and more to yourself? Start with small things like a nice bath. Force yourself to do it. Change doesn't occur in your comfort zone. Self love is a difficult thing and so far down the priority list. I hate to say this but put only good, nourishing things in your body, it really has helped with my depression. Go for walks in the evening. Maybe even eventually go to the gym. I do weights and it gets the anger out and I feel so amazing afterwards! My confidence is growing daily! No it's not fun for the first two weeks and getting there is a chore and a half but once you get a routine, you'll never wanna not go! It is the one time of the day I set aside for
Me. To clear my thoughts and do something nice for myself.

I will not let what happened to me define me and I will not let people who don't like me rule my life. Who are they to me? No one.
What your parents have done is all about control. They sound like very unhappy people. Don't let them win because none of it is true. I can imagine they were treated like that as children? What they've handed down is nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. They've just given you what they know which is completely irrational and founded only by their own experiences.

It has taken me years to come to this conclusion but none of the way my parents treated me was my fault. The fact I'm not compatible with some of my old friends is not my fault, the fact I'm not compatible with my ex partners is not my fault. None of it was because I wasn't good enough, it's just a fact of life. Everyone experiences it, does that mean everyone else is unworthy as well? Not at all. People are different and are sometimes wrapped up in their own lives. Maybe you need to apply some of the same selfishness to your own life?

You have two children who I guarantee thinks the sun shines out of your arse. May not seem like it at times but you will be everything to them. And I can assure you you've done a wonderful job raising them. And look how strong you are, you have survived all of this! All of it. And you'll go on to survive more bad AND good days.

Another thing I've found has helped me is mumsnet. I may not post much but God there are some brilliant women on here. Read the threads that jump out at you, the advice on here is invaluable. And tbf better than every counselor I've had.

Remember what I said, love yourself and start with one kind thing a day. Even if it's small. It will become habitual. You will learn to love yourself. You have no choice.

Saltfish Sun 26-Jun-16 15:09:43

Sorry op x posted!

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 15:49:36

Saltfish Thank you for such a positive and heartfelt reply smile

I do read a lot on here and it has helped, but I still can't reprogramme my thinking.

I'm generally happier and more confident than I was 4 years ago. I always assumed that when I was happier, more confident, and had got my new life sorted, that things like my sense of self and likeability would improve.

I think I'm really struggling with the fact that, although there are improvements and other people see me as being more confident etc, it hasn't made any difference to how other people see me. Or to how I fundamentally am. Whichever it is.

Just makes me really sad, I suppose. And another weekend has been spent in the house on my own with little to no contact with the outside world that I haven't initiated/progressed.

Just feeling generally fed up with it all at the moment. But you are right, only I can make myself feel better. I'm spending the day organising wardrobes while the children are with their dad! So that's something at least...

Saltfish Sun 26-Jun-16 16:11:03

Just small steps! Put some of your favourite music on while you do it, to keep you motivated!

I was in a bad way, psych wards, suicide attempts, self harm. Then something changed in me. I'd just had enough. I was left with all this trauma but I was the one who had to fix it.

The problem with friendships and relationships is, they make you feel good temporarily but the the pain is still there. Don't look to other peoples validation to fix you, it has to be from you. It's a bumpy road but small steps is the way to go. You sound like your fed up which is the first start!

And the diet thing, I hate to harp on about it but have you ever cut sugar out? I did and it was life changing. I get all my carbs from good sources, sweet potato, brown rice..veggies. Juicing is my Friend! Anytime I Eat sugar now, and I feel so shitty. And to think I ate and felt like that for years. Food plays a big part in how we feel about ourselves too.

I feel excited for you, cuz I see myself in you. There is hope. You are worth it! And people will see the love you have for yourself. It's a simple but powerful thing! Don't you owe it to you?

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 16:44:45

Oh yes, the diet, I'm vegetarian, so plenty of veg, and I don't eat any refined sugar. I gave that up about 5 years ago. We don't have any in the house and I don't eat 'treat' type foods really. Only eat wholemeal bread and brown rice etc. I don't eat any 'low fat' foods and tend to cook from scratch, etc. Don't eat processed foods generally. I drink plenty of water. I do yoga classes twice a week and walk for 30-60 mins through countryside on the others (weather permitting, I'm not that good!)

I take my children camping, we climbed Snowdon a couple of years ago, my son and I took swing dancing lessons together for a couple of years, my daughter and I camp at festivals... but whatever we do, we generally do it alone.

I think I need to come up with a plan.

How did you learn to trust other people though? Or don't you?

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 16:47:30

Sorry to read that things were so bad for you. I think a lot of what upsets me is that I've done a lot of the things I need to do that should make a difference, they just haven't.

I'm a bit stumped on what to do next and I can't afford therapy. It really would be a case of not putting fuel in the car or not buying food that week to pay for it. And that's when I end up thinking that perhaps I'm trying to fix something that ain't broke, as such, it's just the way it is, maybe.

Saltfish Sun 26-Jun-16 20:00:55

Well you're doing some really great things for yourself. You should be proud!

As for trust, it's not easy. I think going through what we went through makes it very hard to. I just know that people love me even if I don't speak to them all the time and that people are generally wrapped up in their own lives/relationships. I have to constantly remind myself of this as we tend to look at the world through the scope of our abusers.

Unfortunately I'm out and about at the minute I'll respond to this properly when I'm home. :-)

TheMorningAfterTheNightBefore Sun 26-Jun-16 20:26:25

I'd be really interested to know how you know people love you.

I know that I assume people see me as my mother did.

sunshiney78 Sun 26-Jun-16 20:47:25

You can be referred for therapy by your GP on the NHS

sansXsouci Sun 26-Jun-16 22:33:31

OP I had a very similar upbringing to you and have struggled with similar feelings. I struggle to believe DH really likes me, I fear that I am imposing myself on people when I talk to them, I had close friends at school and university, interestingly all people from pretty dysfunctional homes, but those all fell by the wayside and for around 12 years I had hardly any friends at all and so was far to reliant on my very out going dh who has always had loads of friends, creating a big power imbalance. I became so lonely and desperate, I started to sort of 'fake it 'til I made it' which was exhausting to begin with, but I have got better at being social, although I am still a natural loner. I still have a huge lack of confidence, but I reason with myself all the time and I am much better than I was, I honestly don't know what to do about the deep seated lack of self worth other than keep talking - to yourself, online, know that for all people friendships and relationships come and go, absolutely anybody can be bitched about, dumped etc. it doesn't mean much. Keep doing stuff that you love, that gives you really pleasure, that is also what keeps me going. I wish I had a better answer, I'll keep reading this thread to see if anyone else does.

springydaffs Sun 26-Jun-16 23:36:05

I could have written your posts op.

You've had some great replies so I'll just add a few suggestions. Although I know ALL about having limited funds (seems to often be par for the course with our history...), I have managed to cobble together a lot of therapy over the years. Not all of it great, frankly; but I managed somehow to work on the things I needed to work on, the basics. You can get very low cost therapy if you dig - womens orgs, charities etc - and BACP therapists also offer a sliding fee scale, just ask. I would say that therapy is absolutely essential. So, to that end, find it somehow, anyhow. It's out there you just have to dig. I'd also say that CBT is a very good set of base level skills - they won't deal with all the trauma you are battling with because of your history, but they are good skills to hold things in place. However, you say you already use CBT skills to get through life but imo a refresher course always brings something new you hadn't seen before. So give it a go.

The other thing I'd say is that loneliness, feelings of loneliness, is a 'thing'. Ah, so hard to describe what I mean but I'll have a go: it's like we get caught in a vice - which is self-propelling. I have experienced loneliness (all my life) but I know I'm believing something off-kilter when loneliness bites in a way that is severe. It seems you're in that place at the mo. Thoughts are so important here: look closely at what you're thinking and ruthlessly examine the validity of what you're thinking (so far, so CBT..). Be relentless about stamping out thoughts that are simply not accurate, beliefs you can't possibly know to be true. You may be alone but that can be for myriad reasons, most of it not your fault eg our society is increasingly structured to alienate all but an extremely narrow band of outwardly successful, married, charmed sorts. Meanwhile, the rest of us fall by the wayside. We are in the vast majority yet the pressure to be one of the charmed set is intense. I could go on - I hope you know what I mean. A lot of what we are aspiring to is fake and a very small percentage of the population experience it anyway - a bit like 6ft models weighing 7st are in the vast minority yet everyone aspires to look like them and rejects 'normal' bodies. Read books on loneliness - they are a good and validating resource.

Things changed for me on a core level when I - brace yourself - looked into my eyes in the mirror and told myself I was loved and loveable; literally saying to myself 'I love you'. May seem wacky but when we've been conditioned to hate, loathe, reject ourselves we need tactics like the above to even the balance. Practise regularly over a long period of time (yy torture - impossible to actually do it to begin with - but persevere).

I'm currently in the 'loneliness vice' following cancer treatment. The difference is I don't believe it's the truth about me. I know it's happening, and I use long-held skills to counteract it - but, esentially, I am waiting for it to pass. You have to believe me when I say there are a lot of very fucked up people out there - expecting them to fill the howling hole in my soul is unrealistic. People can barely survive a lot of the time - despite the hype we get shoved down our necks every moment of every day: don't believe it, it's fake. Granted, some are more fucked up than others but the majority struggle on some level with the same stuff as us, just not as severe.

imo (and ime) 'strokes' (the good stuff) don't come with a fanfare and can easily be missed. To that end, look back at who and what has validated you in your life. You will find there has been a steady stream - but perhaps we miss it because we're looking for the big stuff.

LesserofTwoWeevils Mon 27-Jun-16 03:03:11

OP, watching with interest and much sympathy as I feel the same way about myself. Same situation in my early years, same outcome even now decades later. No answers though, I could do with some too. Drugs and therapy don't seem to help, and how do you rewire your own brain?

You've done brilliantly in terms of making efforts to fix things—far better than I ever have or could imagine being able to.

Wishing you the best of luck and hoping you find an answer very soon.

daisychain01 Mon 27-Jun-16 03:19:51

What I can add to the already great responses, is maybe you need to externalise a bit more.

It seems you are constantly inward looking and trying to find all the answers from within. If you do that often enough, you end up feeling unhappy because you can't always find the answers from within.

Externalising means that you look beyond self, look at the world around you more dispassionately and enjoy external things, rather than constantly feeling discontent because other people don't focus directly on you.

I hasten to add that I'm not being judgmental, your feelings are not intentionally selfish. But you are spending an awful lot of time thinking about how to get people to "like" or "love" you. I'd give that one up for a while and try a different way. Mindfulness can help with that process, take a look at some good quality websites that can help you discover its benefits.

Saltfish Mon 27-Jun-16 04:39:41

Some very brilliant advice from the women on here!

How do I know they love me? I guess I just do, have you ever heard of the term object constancy? Look it up, it's very common for abuse survivors to struggle with this...

It may help to look up attachment styles as well...try to gain as much understanding as you can about abuse survivors. It may help make sense of a lot of things. You are not alone in this.

Another thing that has helped was just allowing yourself to feel through things not think. Don't question it just feel it. It will pass like everything does. Everyone has a story. Me personally I'm very introverted, so enjoy spending a lot of time on my own. I'm not a texty person at all. But that doesn't mean I don't love my friends any less. It's the quality of the connection not quantity. I think about them lovingly from a distance...maybe that's how some of your friends are? In a world of Facebook and social media no one has to ask how other people are anymore cuz it's all there broadcast for us to see. Can I ask are you on Facebook? Ive been off it for 10 months and life is just so much happier for me. I logged in not long ago to contact a friend and felt instant anxiety. I knew then it was time to properly get rid. I refuse to surround myself with things that make me unhappy, if people have a problem with that. Fuck 'em.

Another question what things are you passionate about in life? What do you love?

And most importantly do you think if your friends did contact you first, you'd feel a lot better? Is that something that's too difficult for you to ask them for? Or do you think it wouldn't really make a difference in the grand scheme of things? External validation is useless without internal validation. It truly is.

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