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Learning to Live with Yourself: Advise Please

(6 Posts)
RedBalloon22 Wed 09-Oct-19 16:31:26

Long time lurker on here but need some kind of advise or reassurance..

I’m 39 and I live a pretty good life. Nice house, lovely partner, alright job etc etc. The problem is that the older I get the more the past seems to come up and bite me in the arse/ass/bottom/ and it’s starting have some negative consequences on my ability to form friendships and bonds.

I was bullied mercilessly at various schools, I didn’t form any friendships or bonds until I was about 19. Before this it was just a stream of being treated badly, being made to feel worthless. This all came to a head when I was hit by a car at 14, right in front of one of the people who bullied me. Smashed my head against the floor and was taken to hospital where I was unconscious for 3 days. Unfortunately, this didn’t stop the abuse, which went on for another few years until I plucked the courage at about 16 to get out of that situation and find some new “friends.” All was well for about a year and then my new friends decided to turn on me as well.

I never ever wanted to be a victim of all this so tried my best to get on with life an be positive. I’ve never spoken to anyone about all this, even typing it makes me feel like I’m being “hard done by.”

The problem I am now having is my complete inability to form bonds or close relationships with people. I can be kind to people but I never go beyond that. It doesn’t come naturally to me to instigate a friendship because my head is hard wired into thinking “why on earth would they want to meet up with me” Or “keep a distance to be safe.”

I’m in a shared office at the moment and am polite to everyone but there is this sense of distance and people glaze over me because I’m shy and reserved, I don’t naturally open up to people unless I’ve known them for a while. I try and chat and be open but it’s really hard for me to do.

When I watch things like Bake Off and see the contestants forming bonds, hugging and crying over each other it feels completely alien to me. I literally cannot understand this level of affection. I never thought I would be like this, I don’t want to have these traits but my god they’re hard to change.

I know most of you will suggest counselling which I’m thinking of getting. I was just wondering if anyone else out there has real problems forming close bonds with people and how they try and make things better for themselves? I don’t want to let my past get the better of me but this is something I’m noticing more and more as I get older.

PositiveLife Wed 09-Oct-19 19:34:01

I had counselling. A lot of work around body language - I was subconsciously giving signals that I didn't want to talk/join in. Trying small challenges to open up more.

A lot of the work is about taking chances and realising the outcome is usually positive. Also in my case, that if the outcome is negative then I can cope with it.

RedBalloon22 Wed 09-Oct-19 21:01:47

hi @positivelife, thanks for that, interesting stuff. Taking chances isn't something i'm good at, but when i do, it's usually not as bad as i think it'll be. xx

Minionmomma Thu 10-Oct-19 07:26:56

I’m really sorry you went through al of that horrendous bullying and the trauma of a car accident too. It’s no surprise that you’re struggling. I think anybody would. I agree with pp re the counselling or some kind of therapy. You’ve identified that the past is affecting negatively on your present and that’s a positive step in the right direction. Are you able to pay for private therapy? I think the talking therapies offered by the nhs, whilst useful, are often time limited. You could always start with your GP though. Good luck.

toomuchtooold Thu 10-Oct-19 09:22:27

How do you feel when you try to chat to people? Are you enjoying talking to them, or do you feel awkward while you're doing it? If you feel awkward, I think that will come over to other people, but on the other hand (take it from me) if you just try to override your feelings it can be very stressful, and I think you don't want to be in a position where if you met someone who was an actual wrong'un you might not necessarily listen to your instincts about them.

I wonder if some work on the trauma might help. EMDR is supposed to be good for trauma, I've heard people say good things about it. Or - this is a bit woolly - in one of Bessel van der Kolk's books he talks about needing to experience being in harmony with other people, so like doing something together (maybe volunteer work or something like that) or even if you're at all musical, singing in a choir?
I would also say, think about (if you're in a position to be able to look after one obv) getting a dog or a cat? Or pony riding, I know it sounds daft, but what you're looking for is the effect of being of one mind with another being, whether it's a person or an animal, it gets all the good trust hormones going.

RedBalloon22 Thu 10-Oct-19 11:21:43

ahh thanks for the responses, these are all very useful. @toomuchtooold, i can't get a pet right now but that's a wonderful idea. I can chat to people fine but i don't really do hugging or contact and tend to keep chat to a minimum, i think i need to relax a bit tbh.

I work with a person who has become quite close with the office lot, hugging, giggling, chitchat, etc and i just don't know how she does it. Takes me years to get to that point. i think a dose of therapy might be what i need.

Thanks everyone x

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