Fishing for compliments?

“I’m a terrible girlfriend!”…that’s a sentence my partner hears quite often. Is it true? He is the only person who can decide that but I hear you all say: “You only want to hear how great you are in order to push your ego!” I wish that was the case. Fact is, I actually do believe that I am a horrible person to live with. I also believe that I was not good at school although my grades were excellent. Furthermore I believe that I’m a terrible friend for various reasons and that being related to me in any way must be a very bad experience. Obviously I also believe that I’m not good at my job although I’ve always been successful at work.

Please don’t tell me all the facts that show that I’m not entriely a bad person – I understand them and they don’t change how I see myself.
Please don’t tell me that there are things about me that make me lovable – I’m not going to believe you.
Please don’t tell me to write a list with positive things about me – I’ve done so and I think every single nice thing about me is just a fraud.

Fraud: That’s the whole point. With all my ego-states and ways of behaving and my using people as mirrors I always feel that my friends only like what I let them see. That my partner loves a facade. That my parents are obliged to like me and that my boss will eventually figure out how terrible I am at my job. No matter how many things you show me that prove me wrong, I’m still convinced that my facade is the best thing about me and that people might abandon me if they take a look behind it.

Even though I’m not sure what the “real me” might be like I am certain that it can’t be good. In therapy I started to show some people all the things I hate about myself and guess what – they’re still here, supporting me even more than ever before and everything’s just fine. I hope that if I have that experience on a regular basis I will start to believe that people won’t just run away from me if I show them all the not so pretty things. I honestly want to believe that they’re in my life because they genuinely like me. I don’t want to have to ask people if they’re sure they love me because I know just how clingy it sounds (one more thing to add to my “What-I-hate-about-myself-list”). It’s not a nice experience for me that I can believe every last awful thing people say about me without even thinking but feeling like even the smallest compliment might break me because it makes me feel like I lied to someone who can’t see the ugly truth. I don’t like the pressure nice remarks put on me – they only add to my need to keep the facade up.

I know that some of you will find this hard to read and that I in your place would feel the need to write something like “But you are a good person, you deserve to be loved and you shouldn’t hate yourself.”
Please understand that I can see that your kind words might be right but they still won’t make me feel any more confident.


2 thoughts on “Fishing for compliments?

  1. Just remembered this quote from Neil Gaiman
    ” The first problem of any kind of even limited success is the unshakable conviction that you are getting away with something, and that any moment now they will discover you. It’s Imposter Syndrome, something my wife Amanda christened the Fraud Police.

    In my case, I was convinced that there would be a knock on the door, and a man with a clipboard (I don’t know why he carried a clipboard, in my head, but he did) would be there, to tell me it was all over, and they had caught up with me, and now I would have to go and get a real job, one that didn’t consist of making things up and writing them down, and reading books I wanted to read. And then I would go away quietly and get the kind of job where you don’t have to make things up any more.”

    Liked by 1 person

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