Anxiety that I'll be exposed

Postby admmck81 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 2:24 pm

Ok, so I have a rather irrational anxiety I have been trying to eliminate for years. That is that I'll be exposed as being a fraud, like I'm not who I say I am, that I'm trying to pull a fast one on people. I don't really understand this at all. It may stem back to when I really struggled with my own identity. I was always the boyfriend or the husband. My friendships were shared with my significant other. When relationships ended, so did friendships. I have to admit, even today I struggle to really know who I am. I don't even know what to say when I tell people about myself. I always feel like I have to make up a story, like anything I say can't possibly be true. Even when it really is true. This may be at least in part due to very low self esteem. There was a point that if I had to list words I'd use to describe myself, the negatives far outnumbered the positives. That may still be true to this day. The list fluctuates, but I've noticed that when I get stressed and start to veer towards depression again, you can guess which direction that list is fluctuating. There are times I'm fully confident in myself and my abilities, and others where, once again, I feel like I've tricked people into believing certain things about myself. Again, this is completely irrational, and the moment I realized that was a moment of tremendous personal growth. But here I am, years after having that epiphany, and I still feel the same way from time to time. I've always had anxiety about being seen for how I see myself, like people see the insecure little boy I still believe myself to be, even as an occasionally self-confident adult. It feels like they are prying into my very soul and seeing everything I hate about myself, and it makes me want to crawl into a hole and hide. As you can imagine, it is very difficult to believe any positive things I tell people about myself when I think this way. I've seen therapists about this, and I have definitely made headway in countering it. I used to sink into despair when these thoughts entered my head. And as sure as the sun would rise tomorrow, those negative thoughts always showed up when I had the time to think. Even when I wasn't trying to think those things, the thoughts would always show up. I'm here because it's starting to happen again. I haven't started sinking into despair, but the negative thoughts are surfacing again. I don't know what to do. This anxiety has kept me from living the life I want to for so long. It has kept me from applying for good jobs. It has kept me from approaching attractive women. It has made me terrified to ever be responsible for the life and well-being of another. I don't know what to do. Therapy has only done so much, and I need more direction because my internal compass tends to lead me in circles.
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#1

Postby Candid » Wed Apr 10, 2019 6:07 pm

admmck81, next time you're writing adjectives to describe yourself, don't include any negative ones. Think of more positive ones!

When anyone writes about having low self-esteem, and of not knowing who they are, I always want to know what kind of deal they got in their family of origin. So, how was it for you?

There are times I'm fully confident in myself and my abilities, and others where, once again, I feel like I've tricked people into believing certain things about myself.


This is called imposter syndrome. I just did a quick search and there are tests you can take plus a TED talk, as well as scholarly articles.
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#2

Postby admmck81 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 9:00 pm

Candid wrote:This is called imposter syndrome. I just did a quick search and there are tests you can take plus a TED talk, as well as scholarly articles.

So that's an actual thing? Like...It's common enough to be a diagnosed syndrome? Wow. Oh, and I try to only use positive language about myself, but that tends to be when I feel like the impostor :? 5 years ago I couldn't say a positive thing about myself to save my own life. Luckily, it didn't come to that! I still struggle because for every one positive word, I can think of at least 5 negatives that I feel better suit me.
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#3

Postby Candid » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:15 pm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome

You didn't mention your family. How do you get on with them?
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#4

Postby admmck81 » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:52 pm

I've never really felt like one of them. Without my mom, I'd probably have ran away. I always felt isolated and lost in a busy house of 6 kids. So it was not difficult to move away from them, because I didn't have any attachment.
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#5

Postby Candid » Wed Apr 10, 2019 10:56 pm

You're clearly a sensitive soul!
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#6

Postby admmck81 » Fri Apr 12, 2019 3:05 pm

I've always been sensitive, which made being largely ignored in a full house even worse. I used to get hurt feelings far easier than I should, which fortunately is no longer an issue. The funny thing is, now I have an 8 year old son (well, step-son) who cries about everything and I think to myself...Wow, I thought I was an overly sensitive child, but this boy blows me out of the water! I didn't cry over things that didn't cause me physical or emotional pain, but he sure does. I still take things personal far too quickly, but I largely internalize it to the point most people won't even know. It causes headaches in close relationships, though. I also had a self-diagnosed depression in 2 or 3 different stages in my life. One in high school at a point that most of the people I considered friends had abandoned me, one after losing a job that would have secured me for life and then a failed marriage, and another at a time I honestly just didn't see an end to a string of what seemed like bad luck, but was really just the consequences of many poor decisions. I've been far better for the past 5 years than I was at pretty much any other stage in my life, but I still have a lot of emotional baggage I'm yet to shed. The biggest break through I have had in my life was finally acknowledging most of these emotional and psychological issues I've experienced were based on irrational thinking, and I haven't really had a depression since that realization took root.
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#7

Postby Candid » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:00 pm

Hurt feelings, taking things personally, recurrent depression, relational difficulty, poor decision-making and excessive emotional baggage are all symptomatic of Complex PTSD, and being ignored (neglected?) in your family of origin could easily have set you up for that. C-PTSD is also a major attack on a growing child's sense of self.

You may want to have a look at Pete Walker's website http://pete-walker.com/index.htm, from which I quote:

The genesis of complex PTSD is most often associated with extended periods of ongoing physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood. My observations however convince me that ongoing extremes of verbal and/or emotional abuse also cause it. Moreover as an upcoming article on my website will explicate, long-term childhood emotional neglect alone can also create complex PTSD and a propensity to emotional flashbacks.

It's good to see you've been able to think your way out of depression, but beware what Our Pete calls the inner critic!

The PTSD-derived inner critic weds shame and self-hate about imperfection to fear of abandonment, and mercilessly drives the psyche with the entwined serpents of perfectionism and endangerment.

EMDR (and not hypnosis) is the treatment of choice for PTSD and CPTSD.
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#8

Postby Candid » Fri Apr 12, 2019 10:25 pm

I just found something on Pete's site that seems particularly applicable to you.

http://pete-walker.com/pdf/emotionalFla ... gement.pdf
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#9

Postby BarryPap » Thu Jul 11, 2019 1:01 pm

Hi Im new, Ive been trying to get the hang of hypnosis.
But it keeps eluding me.
Tried the handshake and confusion techniques, with consent, yet I fail each time.

Can I please get some tips?

Kind Regards

badox
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