I’ve written in the past about the stories I’ve told myself, and also now recently gaslighting.
I wanted to write a little bit more about the actual stories I’ve told myself that I’ve been working to un-do.
I’m bad: Which truly umbrellas all of the things below. Not only does it umbrella them, but it also gives leverage for my brain to believe all of these other negative things. You are bad, so people do not want to hang out with you because they don’t like you, because you are not whatever enough. For example if you want to hang out with a friend, and they say that they cannot. It’s not because they don’t want to, but probably because they are busy, or may have their own anxieties that have nothing to do with you. What I’m about to say is totally real, and I sometimes fall into this thinking still, but more often than not, I do not give it fuel but… I seriously thought, and have thought that people have not wanted to hang out with me because I was ugaly, gross, and fat. I’ve spent too much time in my own anxiety, over analyzing what I say, how I should have said it differently, and investing in things to “be better” (makeup, dieting, etc) for other people. None of this makes a difference to other people, you want to want it for yourself, or do these things if you want to to be a healthier version of yourself.
I have believed I’m not good enough: I think this is the most present thread that runs through my brain unconsciously and consciously. More unconsciously than consciously now. You know that phrase old behaviors die hard? Yah, when I’m feeling like at my worst, it’s generally because nothing really brings me joy and I think what is the point.
A few examples:
Recently I’ve been making an effort into applying for jobs. I’ve been really trying to work through some of the I’m not good enough for more advanced jobs because of whatever non-existent reason other than my own anxiety. Up until recently I’ve done a lot of avoidance of applying for new jobs because I have this ingrained belief that I’m not good enough. The fears (and stories I tell myself) that run through my brain are: I’m a terrible writer (for cover letters), there are always better candidates, I’m not good at selling myself.
For the last few summers I have been going to a friends house to help her with her garden. She is someone I’m building trust with, and I feel so blessed to have met her. She is a new friend who is accepting, and kind. Last summer I texted her and said, I feel like I’ve been super lazy because I haven’t been doing much with the garden. She texted me back and said… You are not lazy and other positive things that helped me self validate back things that were positive. I had these ideas, that she thought I wasn’t doing enough with the garden, and that had turned into something bigger than it needed to be. It turned into anxiety, more avoidance, and paranoia. What helped was addressing the issue at hand, which was my feeling of being not good enough. I can’t remember what I said, but maybe something like I feel like I’m not doing enough, like I’m lazy, (and not the huge emotional drama that goes with it), and because she is great, she responded how she did. With compassion, understanding and consistency.
I have believed people do not like me because of: I just wrote about this about being bad. But seriously, it has been ingrained in my brain before, especially in finding partners. I am too fat, I’m too ugly. I have felt like because I was too fat and ugly, that I wasn’t deserving of someone who treated me better. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. I do not believe that now, just so yah all know. But it’s true, it’s sad, and awful that I let myself feel that way. I want to emphasize that I would victimize myself so much when I was in my 20’s about people not liking me, that this was my biggest paranoia and also a gaslit thing I did to myself. I would actively make up stories about things people were gossiping about me, just to validate my own paranoia roll. I mean seriously! It doesn’t fucking matter what people think about you.
I have believed I’m ugly: I have fueled this belief with so many things; being fat, acne, picking, comparing and contrasting myself to others. These are my own personal validations I’ve had in the past. Also, it was validated based on what people have said to me (to my face or behind my back) in the past. This is something that is an issue that we have across our world about what beauty is defined by and what people say is more beautiful than someone else. I’ve been learning not to compare myself to others in terms of my own beauty, and it is fucking hard. It’s also something I consistently work at.
I have believed I’m fat (truth and): Not funny, but literal truth. I am fat. I’m not 280lbs anymore or close to it, but I’m fat and have fat. AND it shouldn’t limit me from life. It has built up this stigmatization that because I’m fat, means that I can’t do things. I shouldn’t wear certain clothes, I shouldn’t go certain places and I’m lazy. It often means that I am less than and I’ve believed that for most of my life. It means so many things it is not. Truth is… I’m fat, and I kind of just laugh about it now.
Funny side story: Last spring I had lugged all of my painting stuff to a park nearby from my apt. I was carrying a backpack full of things and some canvases. It was obvious I was struggling, and had to put things down to rearrange my stuff. A man kept watching me (not in a creepy way), he just noticed I was struggling. He yelled across the street if I needed help, I assured him I didn’t. I was only a block from home. He asked if I was pregnant (not sure why that was important, other than assumptions he was making and also to show his further concern about my predicament). I just responded with this laugher in my voice, no, just fat. I wasn’t offended or upset, mostly just thought it was funny. He was of course embarrassed, but his assumptions at this time didnt affect me or my life.
As you can see above, a lot of these are intertwined, and have similar messages. I do have a lot of body dysmorphia, and I’ve come a long way in my thinking. It’s not as severe as it use to be, and It’s not really a surprise that these thoughts don’t change overnight, but with practice, it gets better and they get quieter while your new ones take the lead.