can't do anything right!

Self esteem - in this over-hyped field it's essential to distinguish fact from fiction.Self confidence - faith in your own abilities is so important in today's high-achieving world.

Postby Reflection » Wed Apr 27, 2005 8:43 pm

Hi
I have a lot of problems but I just put my finger on the biggest one. I was wondering if anyone out there has overcome anything like this, or has any ideas what I should do..
I can't take anyone telling me what to do. I always feel terrible, and obviously I have problems learning and listening to my instructors (I want to get a degree in something but I keep flopping school).
The thing is, when I was growing up, anytime my mom told me to do something, it was with threats and terribly negative so now whenever anyone tells me what to do I cringe like a puppy that's been kicked. Especially when some one is correcting me on something. I feel like I've already failed and they're just yelling at me. So anytime I'm in a class and they're telling me what to do I just want to cry, cry, cry. Life is bitter. Can I be fixed? I want so badly to get through this; I'll do anything.
Last edited by Reflection on Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby zacsmomm » Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:18 pm

hi there!

i have not been in your situation but i do feel for you that you feel like that. it is sad that things that happen in our child hood relflect in us so much as we grow older. but i must say your story has hit me hard..as to my son, whom is 4, gets this same kind of ... i dont know the right word to use...i guess it is verbal abuse. my bf yells and threatens him when he tells my son to do something..eat..to go clean...to go play...to go do anything..he is pretty mean about it. and now reading your post, i would not want my son to grow up feeling like this.

have you sought help for this with a counciller?? i dont know if that would help but they may help you learn ways to deal with it. i wish i had a better answer for you, but atleast you can rest assure that you have helped me realize what is being done to my son by his father..so thank you.

take care
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Postby logic » Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:23 am

Hi,

I am in the same boat os the original poster. Extreemly low self-esteem has crippled me and made a severe under-acheived out of me. The irony of that is I have a B.Sc. degree and run my own company. I earn over R400,000 and am about to take on a job where I will be CEO of a R60 million company.

You may look at that and say underacheiver??? I have an IQ in the gifted range, an athletic physique and a talent for sports, am 6 foot 2 inches tall, and have a great wife and child (with one on the way).

Yet I am very unhappy. I cannot focus at work and cannot face potentially enmbarassing situations. I avoid conflict like the plague and have never acheived half of what I know my God given gifts make me capable of. I live behind a facade of confidence and constantly feel like I dont belong and will be "found out". I feel inferior to almost everyone around me, like I am "chipping in with the grown ups" as my parents would say.

And the cause of this low self-esteem? Many factors but largely my overbearing father who, through his own insecurity, was and is a "bully". I watched him this weekend grab my 3 year-old nephew round the neck and clobber him a couple of times for defying him. Not for his original naughtyness (bullying his young girl cousin) but for defying his authority when my Dad lost his temper.

I could go on. The point is, do not allow your bf to break your son's spirit. Children need dicipline and control, and am one who is even in favour of spanking. I am also in favour of unconditional love to counter balance discipline. I would highly recommend a book called "Dare to Disipline" by Dr. James Dobson. If its the only thing you do READ THIS BOOK.

The damage being done should not be underestimated. Do not let your son become an adult with low self-esteem that criples his potential.

I hope you take heed, I really do. Good luck.

Regards
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Postby Nigel » Thu Apr 28, 2005 8:23 pm

Hi Reflection,

I guess it’s no surprise that you feel bad when anyone corrects you about something after the way you were treated as a child. It’s sad that so many (often well intentioned) parents try to correct their children in this way. I suppose the logic is to make the child feel bad about what they’ve done so as not to do it again. However, it often results in the child feeling bad about themselves, not about what they’ve done. In the end it chips away at their self-esteem until the child believes all those negative things that have been directed at them.

One idea is to try to separate who you are from what you do. When somebody corrects you or criticises you, it’s your actions or behaviour that they’re criticising, NOT you as a person. You’re still a good person doing your best, and it’s your actions that were at fault in some way. By the way, that’s how you should treat a child. By all means tell them when they’ve done wrong, and give them a good telling off if needs be, but make it clear that it’s their actions or behaviour that was wrong or inappropriate NOT them as a person. But on the other hand, when praising them for doing well, that’s the time to direct the comments at the person themselves.

Making mistakes and getting things wrong is OK. We only learn by making mistakes, not by getting it right first time. Getting it wrong is the beginning of the learning process, NOT the end of it – so no more dropping out, eh :wink:. Constructive criticism is OK too. It shows us what we’re doing wrong and what we need to do to improve. It speeds up the learning process.

Many of the greatest inventions and achievements were born out of failures. We spoke of your dancing and my music last time. Quite often when I’m trying to play something I get it wrong, and that mistake is more interesting that what I was attempting to play. It sends me off in a completely new direction that I’d never have taken had I gotten it right first time. Have you noticed the same with your dancing?

So next time somebody corrects you, the next time you get it wrong, take it as an opportunity to learn. And remember YOU didn’t fail, it was just your actions or behaviour.
Nigel
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Postby logic » Fri Apr 29, 2005 7:56 am

Hi,

I agree with everythig Nigel has said, and Dobson goes into detail in his book about exactly this, seperating the wrong action from the "person".

He also makes a very good argument for discipline, including physical (although very limited and for specific types of offences). The problem with the modern philosophy of explaining to a child why their behaviour is wrong and not disciplining them is they never learn consequences. The result is they may know right from wrong but their is no incentive to follow the course of the latter.

The ultimate result is that as adults, when they do wrong society does enforce consequences, like jail.

By the way, since Donson is a Christian (as am I) and minister/pastor I expected a lot of soft modern drivel on bringing up children. This guy is far from that and this is not a book about Christianity, its about how to bring up children and why. Really came as unexpected and it really is brilliant.

I also happen to have worked on an American summer camp for rich youngsters several years ago. They had the modern philosophy of not punishing kids for doing wrong, but explaining why it was wrong and encouraging (rewarding) good behaviour. That camp was proof it does not work - without consequences the kids understand what is wrong and why but why change?

Despite all that, the actions of children need to be adressed and punished and not the child themselves. The book tells you exactly how and why.

Cheer
Logic
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Postby theresa » Fri Apr 29, 2005 3:47 pm

First, I suggest paying attention to your language. You asked, "can this be fixed." This type of language suggests that you think you are broken in some way. You ain't broken, you are a human being that has an issue. Name one human who doesn't have an at least one issue! However, this is something that is disrupting your life and your relationships. Couseling is a great option. You might want to try a Yoga class or journaling as well. You probably are correct in that this reaction you have stems from your parenting. Now, you may want to take a look at what you make comments, suggests, mean about you. You are making what people say to you "mean" something like you aren't good enough or you are wrong in someway. Get that you make these meanings up - we all do it - it's human behavior. Before you react to the comments, think about the comment, ask the person to clarify what they mean. You will be suprised with how many of these comments actually come from a place of care and concern on the other persons part. Hope this was helpful. www.theroadtaken.org
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Postby Reflection » Fri Apr 29, 2005 11:02 pm

These responses are so helpful... every last word. Thanks everyone.
I'm thinking about everything said here. I could get counseling, but one way or another I'm going to have to change how I think, because that is the problem. I'm getting better every day, and it really does take time to build confidence and recognize and change the bad thought patterns that I was raised thinking. I think it's possible that I was subliminally 'taught' these thought patterns: my mother was abused and though she became a Christian and held back as much as the abuse as she could, I think a little of it leaked through. She has never healed from it all and when I get my own thinking in the right order I want to help her get over it as well.

I'm glad my own problem was able to help the mother who replied. It sure does affect growing children and every aspect of their life. It's going to take me time, courage, and work to get back to normal. I know, I'm not broken... but I don't really know it yet..
Oh and the dancing.. with dance, and music, one has to practice to make perfect. I was always a quitter.. I've quit college twice.. it's because I always expected to be able to do everything perfectly the first time. That thing you said, Nigel; that getting something wrong is the beginning of the learning process... I have to think about that one! It's a new perspective for me.

It's also a new perspective, and one full of hope, that I'm not broken. Right now I'm pretty sure I'm damaged, so I have to take that as a lie. It'll take time. I'm going through the self-confidence course but there isn't on self esteem.
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Postby Nigel » Sat Apr 30, 2005 9:39 pm

Hi Reflection,

So you agree that getting it wrong isn’t quite such a big deal after all then?

quote:
With dance, and music, one has to practice to make perfect.

That’s what we tend to think, but it isn’t strictly true. We need to practice to be our best, and that best is just as good as we can be today. I bet you do this with your dance – I know I do it with my music (and with so many other things too) – that is to compare ourselves with somebody much better than we are, probably a real expert. Then we get disheartened because we don’t measure up, and we give up. There’s only one person who we should compare ourselves to, and that’s our self. Compare your performance today with your performance yesterday. The only time we need compare ourselves to somebody better is in order to learn from them, NOT to be intimidated by them.

The truth of the matter is that you can dance better than some people but not so well as some others. And that goes for anyone in any endeavour. If you put it all into perspective, I bet there are more people in the world who can’t dance as well as you can (me included!) than those who are better, so how’s about comparing yourself to them instead?

I’ll let you into a little secret Reflection. I might sound as if I’ve got all this sorted but that’s only because I’ve been searching for the answers for a couple of years now. It’s one thing discovering all this stuff, but it’s very much harder to change the thinking habits of a lifetime, and I’m still struggling to make a lot of it work too.

Just remember – nobody’s prefect... :?
Nigel
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Postby Shaun_Musings » Wed Jun 08, 2005 7:43 pm

Reflection, I understand what you're talking about, and I commend you for reading Dr. Dobson's book. Perhaps other books might be useful? Charles Stanley has a few books out that deal with finding purpose and meaning in life. Perhaps the best one is called 'Discovering Your Destiny,' (I think that's the title). I think you feel like you're missing something in life, feel disappointed in yourself. Check out Stanley's book... it might teach you something about yourself!

Shaun
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Postby Ali Baby » Thu Jun 09, 2005 11:39 am

So wny do you let your boyfriend talk to your son like that? If he wont stop emotionally abusing your child I suggest it is better to get rid of the boyfriend!

zacsmomm wrote:hi there!

i have not been in your situation but i do feel for you that you feel like that. it is sad that things that happen in our child hood relflect in us so much as we grow older. but i must say your story has hit me hard..as to my son, whom is 4, gets this same kind of ... i dont know the right word to use...i guess it is verbal abuse. my bf yells and threatens him when he tells my son to do something..eat..to go clean...to go play...to go do anything..he is pretty mean about it. and now reading your post, i would not want my son to grow up feeling like this.

have you sought help for this with a counciller?? i dont know if that would help but they may help you learn ways to deal with it. i wish i had a better answer for you, but atleast you can rest assure that you have helped me realize what is being done to my son by his father..so thank you.

take care
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Postby angelblue » Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:53 pm

Woah geez, reading the orginal post is like somebody crawled inside my life. I grew in a similiar environment, where I was raised by my single mum, who was very controlling over me.

It took me a very long time to realise, that it was'nt me. I was'nt the problem. There is nothing wrong with me, and I dont deserve to be treated this way.

I found a good pschologist. Make sure you find one that you feel comfortable with. But the Doc will help you to sort all this mis-treatment out in your mind and help you get to a more happier you. It will take some time, and you may even find separating yourself from anyone who is negative towards you helpful. But hold in there and remember, ITS NOT YOU!
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Postby Learningtobeadult » Thu Nov 09, 2006 2:43 am

My husband and I typically have a very loving relationship, but sometimes he feels like he can't do anything right in my eyes and we have major disagreements. This seems to stem from me being a bit "type A" (doing chores, paying bills on time, etc) and him being laid back and ADHD.

I think he grew up feeling the like the person in the initial post. How can I ask him to help around the house without making him feel like I am saying he has done wrong by not doing it before I ask?

I think I wait to ask until I'm frustrated that something hasn't been done, so when I do ask I have a tone in my voice like he should have already done it. I do this because I do not want to sound like I am bossing him around but eventually I feel like I have to because nothing gets done until I ask.

I hope this makes sense to some of you and maybe you can offer some advice. Thank you all for your time.
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