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Guest Post: You Don’t Know Me

This is an anonymous guest post. Please be as supportive as you are with my own posts.

Do you have a hard time accepting compliments? I do. In fact, it makes me really uncomfortable. When people compliment me it makes me feel inadequate. Because if they really knew me they’d know I didn’t deserve those compliments.

In the last three days, three close friends have said wonderful things about me. Really wonderful things. Things I know they believe.

They’ve made me feel like running away from them so I won’t disappoint them. But I say thanks. I joke that it’s about time someone noticed how awesome I am. And with the oldest friend who knows me best, I took the joke too far and kicked up his spidey senses, resulting in questions, resulting in awkward silences and changing of subjects.

And I talked about other serious things with him: things that I doubt about myself, ways in which I’m disappointed with my life. All a finely measured sacrifice so I wouldn’t have to answer the real question.

I hate myself for misleading him, for pretending to share when really I was deflecting.

I hate myself.

I don’t know why it’s so hard to tell someone. I can write it perfectly easily: I hate myself. I hate myself. I’m ugly and bitter and not a nice person at all. I’m fat and lack the self-control to lose weight. I’m impatient and blame others for my problems. I’m a drain on the lives of those around me. I’m a crappy mother and a stupidly self-sacrificing wife who only sacrifices so she can be “better.” And I’m lazy.

In the last week three people have said I’m awesome. What does awesome mean? What does it say about me? That I’ve managed to hide how bad I am enough to delude them.

Last week one person said what he really thought. He says it every weekend, just about. When forced to spend time with me and the kids amidst the utter badness of me, he loses it. He tells me exactly what a failure I am. And I try to defend myself but mostly I just beg him to go away. To come back when he’s feeling better. Because I’d rather live in the temporary dream of happiness than admit how deep our descent is.

The funny thing is, he’s the one with the mental illness and I’m the one who supports him; who loves him in sickness and in health; who forgives his transgressions.

The funnier thing is that I think he’s literally driving me crazy.



    1. Mandi112

      As I read this, I felt my heart swell and my arms twitch, wanting to reach out to whoever wrote this.

      I want to tell her to stop beating herself up, that deep-down we all feel like frauds when someone pays us a compliment. I want to sit her down and tell her it’s OK to give herself a break, especially when carrying the burden of a family and a partner with issues. I want to make her endless cups of tea, let her talk her heart out, then try to lighten her load just a little with inconsequential chat and silliness, perhaps make her laugh (a wry smile would do).

      I want to be her friend. You know why? Because in reading her words, I recognised myself.

      So, even though I don’t know you and you don’t know me, I hope I can offer a few words of support. Cut yourself some slack, and give the nice things people say to or about you at least equal billing with the negative stuff. Everyone has something great about them – and I suspect you probably have a whole bundle of awesomeness about you, you just have trouble recognising it.

  1. HerMelness Speaks

    I challenge you to find one thing, something, anything that you find at least acceptable about yourself. ANYTHING. Come over and find me regardless.

    1. Anonymous

      Ummm..I have nice tits? 🙂

  2. Lada MacManus

    Tears come to my eyes as I read this. I put off reading it for several days because I knew it would be hard.

    As a child I’d actively respond to any sort of compliment to try to disprove it. Some adult in my life taught me to say “Thank you” and then keep my mouth shut in an attempt to teach me basic social skills & how to get along with people etc. So, now I don’t really take in compliments. I do the socially obligated “thank you” and go on about my life without even remembering what was said.

    Since you are actively hearing the compliments that don’t mesh with how you see yourself it sounds incredibly difficult. I know I’ve been told that if lots of varied people tell me the same or similar thing it’s probably true but that never seems to change how I view myself. Especially if one person close to me actively reinforces how I see myself.

    People with mental illness don’t get adequate help & support. It’s no wonder that their family members/carers don’t get the help and support they need.

    Like other commenters I can see myself in parts of this post and I can see myself trying to be a friend to the poster. (Tho really I’m quite inept at that so your mileage may vary there.)

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