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Confidence, lack of

Discussion in 'Personal' started by learningyoghurt, Aug 15, 2011.

  1. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    Hiya, I hope that no-one minds me asking this after I've not really contributed to anything else in aagggges, I would appreciate some objective viewpoints from people who don't know me.
    I will try to keep it under my usual million words though.
    Have suffered from a bit of a lack of confidence all my life, is irritating and debilitating (although it may just be that I'm rubbish, I'm never quite sure). It comes and goes but a few years ago I thought I'd cracked it and was generally pretty happy with myself and the way that I interacted with people and so on.
    Anyhoo, long story short for those that don't know, got pregnant by accident, got faffed about by father of my child (to my shame, as I was always aware that he was a bit of a waste of space) ended up moving in to lodge with my Grandad for a year, had the marvellous Yoghurt Lite and have just moved out again into the big wide world, which is indescribably great.
    Confidence is shot to pieces, though. Oddly enough, my self-esteem is probably a lot better than it's ever been (I can move house by myself with a nine-month-old baby in tow, I'm Superwoman) but I still feel charmless and socially inept. And honestly, given the choice I'd probably rather be charming and socially ept than tough, brave and good because those people seem to sleazle their way out of anything difficult.
    I'm now at the point where shopkeepers scare me a bit. This is not the attitude with which to move to a new area and begin a new phase of life.
    I have a few lovely other-mummy friends but otherwise friendship group has fallen to bits rather - partly, if I'm honest, because I was probably quite tiresome in my affliction. Pre-baby I would've probably have joined something or volunteered and ridden out the inevitable awkward bit at the beginning where I acted like a fool out of nervousness, but now I have time-and-money constraints and can't really do that. Mother-and-baby groups only seem to operate in term-time here but besides, I'm always worried that I initially come across as Someone You Wouldn't Want Near Your Child.
    Does anyone know the solution, preferably one that you can do at home by yourself without spending any money (possibly by talking to yourself in the mirror)? I keep thinking that there's a magic trick to feeling comfortable in your own skin and confident to approach people and make friends. If there is, please could someone reveal it to me?
     
  2. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    Hiya, I hope that no-one minds me asking this after I've not really contributed to anything else in aagggges, I would appreciate some objective viewpoints from people who don't know me.
    I will try to keep it under my usual million words though.
    Have suffered from a bit of a lack of confidence all my life, is irritating and debilitating (although it may just be that I'm rubbish, I'm never quite sure). It comes and goes but a few years ago I thought I'd cracked it and was generally pretty happy with myself and the way that I interacted with people and so on.
    Anyhoo, long story short for those that don't know, got pregnant by accident, got faffed about by father of my child (to my shame, as I was always aware that he was a bit of a waste of space) ended up moving in to lodge with my Grandad for a year, had the marvellous Yoghurt Lite and have just moved out again into the big wide world, which is indescribably great.
    Confidence is shot to pieces, though. Oddly enough, my self-esteem is probably a lot better than it's ever been (I can move house by myself with a nine-month-old baby in tow, I'm Superwoman) but I still feel charmless and socially inept. And honestly, given the choice I'd probably rather be charming and socially ept than tough, brave and good because those people seem to sleazle their way out of anything difficult.
    I'm now at the point where shopkeepers scare me a bit. This is not the attitude with which to move to a new area and begin a new phase of life.
    I have a few lovely other-mummy friends but otherwise friendship group has fallen to bits rather - partly, if I'm honest, because I was probably quite tiresome in my affliction. Pre-baby I would've probably have joined something or volunteered and ridden out the inevitable awkward bit at the beginning where I acted like a fool out of nervousness, but now I have time-and-money constraints and can't really do that. Mother-and-baby groups only seem to operate in term-time here but besides, I'm always worried that I initially come across as Someone You Wouldn't Want Near Your Child.
    Does anyone know the solution, preferably one that you can do at home by yourself without spending any money (possibly by talking to yourself in the mirror)? I keep thinking that there's a magic trick to feeling comfortable in your own skin and confident to approach people and make friends. If there is, please could someone reveal it to me?
     
  3. I'd be interested to hear what others suggest but no real answers, sorry.
     
  4. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    It may be an impossible conundrum [​IMG]
    Aye well. I may get lots of cats and allow myself to grow hairy and wild.
     
  5. Now I see your post is a really recent one but I didn't think having no responses was good for your self-confidence.
    I don't think I really have any magic solution for you and I'm hoping that someone else will respond with something more useful later.
    It sounds to me like you do very well in some aspects of your life. Being a single mum, moving yourself and child to set up on your own, takes a lot of courage and needs confidance of a sort.
    You should focus on all the stuff you do, all the things you manage, things that many others would struggle with, and take confidance from that.
    Sorry, not much practical help at all - but good luck with your endeavours and keep up the good work you're doing!
     
  6. I don't really have any advice to offer you but I know where you're coming from as I'm the same and it causes a lot of issues with my boyfriend as he just can't get why a grown woman doesn't have the confidence to express my opinion or deal with strangers (he is the complete opposite to me and will talk to anyone). I think my problem stems from the fact that, with my Aspergers, I used to offend people routinely and not realise how I had offended them and eventually so many of my peers stopped talking to me or kept yelling at me that I realised the best way to not offend anybody was to not talk at all. I am a lot better than I was but still do lack confidence. I do hope that you find an answer soon.
     
  7. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Lead commenter

    I'm glad I'm not the only person with that fantasy!

    I know exactly how you feel. I'm coming out of the phase of having young children and meeting other mums and am at a loss as to how to make new friends. I have a very consuming hobby and have lovely friends in that but it's not where I live and we tend not to meet up 'out of hours'. And if two other people DO meet up I wonder why they've not asked me! I'm useless at keeping up friendships by texting and things. It just never occurs to me, and I worry that if I phone a friend they'll be busy and wish that I hadn't. I have a small group of 'mummy' friends and we have a night out together occasionally, but usually I end up not being able to go. And when I hear about the marvellous things friends' and relatives' children are doing I feel really inadequate, even though my children are great.
    This isn't meant to sound like a moan. But I do understand how you feel. It is good to have a hobby like mine and it's nice to belong. A lady I know there has just been widowed and she was saying how lonely the evenings are. I really want to invite her over but I don't want her to think I'm doing it out of pity. I would genuinely enjoy having her here for an evening but I'm scared to ask in case she didn't want to. How pathetic is that?! Talk about over-analysing!
    The only advice I'd have is to keep trying. Sometimes something unexpected comes up that can really help. If you live near me you're welcome to share my angst-ridden evenings!
     
  8. catherinaaa

    catherinaaa New commenter

    I have PM'd you learningyoghurt, hope I can help a little! x
     
  9. I think it's depressingly common to find yourself short of social confidence after years of being tied down with small children. I've always felt on the edge of social phobia anyway; but I found meeting people who weren't other Mums, the only thing I felt competent to talk about, extremely difficult for years when mine were little.
    It wore off when I went back to work and met more men. That was something else - you don't flirt when you've got four years' worth of dark shadows under your eyes, leaking breasts, hair in a scrunchy and no slap. But it's good for the confidence.
     
  10. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I think this mystical quest for confidence is only won when you accept yourself the way you are, with all your quirks and all. I wouldn't aim to 'change' and grow in confidence to fit in... I would work on finding places I fit as I am... Only through self acceptance does the confidence to walk out happy with that develop.
     
  11. NellyFUF

    NellyFUF Lead commenter

    Being at the beck and call of a baby and the main and only carer is very draining socially and emotionally. Being a mum is a change of identity and being a carer is also a change of identity. No wonder young mums feel lacking in self confidence and self esteem.
    But this too will pass.
    You are doing amazing. You are learning tons, about resilience, coping and independence.
    Don't be put out by shop keepers. Remember to smile and this often works wonders, instead of feeling nervous and projecting that nervousness, just smile.
    If you have got some mum friends then that is really really good.
    Your confidence will continue to grow and you will make amazing friends and acquaintances as you go on. Remember that most people feel the same as you and one day you will find yourself the most confident person for miles around and it will come as a shock to you!
    [​IMG]
     
  12. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    [​IMG] The nice thing about the suitcases under my eyes and my pasty sleep-deprived complexion is that it's taking my mind off the weightloss issues for the time being.
    Thank you for your nice replies, everyone, and doubly thank you for not saying "Oh, just try not to think about it". Not Thinking About It is the Holy Grail of achievement and if I could then there wouldn't be a problem.
    Although my favourite piece of advice remains my mother's "Oh, you're just not that important to anyone" - kindly meant but not helpful.
    It's heartening to know that other people have the same thing (in a strange way, not that I'm glad you suffer but you know what I mean). It's desperately frustrating and daydreamer, you're right in that other people often don't 'get it' - the worst thing about it is that I am interested in and enjoy spending time with people and I'd LOVE to be the sort of person that can walk into any room and be friends with everyone in it.
    Also strange - and I guess other people find this too - that I'm perfectly confident in front of a class of 25 manky and hostile teenagers who can sniff out any weakness at twenty paces, but not chatting to the window-cleaner.
    daisys - I'm generally fairly happy with myself and I can usually accept the fact that I'm awkward and take a bit of getting-to-know before my finer qualities shine through but at the minute I'm not in a position to build those sorts of relationship over time. Also, it's a bit of a vicious circle, the less confidence I have the more reluctant I am to push through and force myself on people in the hope that they'll end up liking me.
    That's the issue, I think, but it also helps to know that it's partly just a side-effect of motherhood! I signed up to it, I guess, also I've had it before and it's gone away so there's no reason why it eventually won't this time.
    Thanks again everyone :)
     
  13. angiebabe

    angiebabe New commenter

    Can I suggest that you take time to more interested in others than yourself. I don't intend to be mean or anything but by focusing on others you take the focus off yourself and what you see as your shortcomings.
    Take time to get to know your mummy friends and others that you meet. That way you will build relationships and friendships will grow because you will come across as the kind sweet creature you seem to be.
    Give yourself a break - you are a new mummy and that is the hardest of all tasks, so have fun with it whilst you can.
     
  14. This probably won't be much help, but I know how you feel - I often feel socially inept and want to shy away and merge into the shadows. The only way I have found to get myself out of it is to force myself to. I feel myself not wanting to do something, like talk to someone I don't know, and I make myself before I have the chance to work myself up about it. Start little and work your way up to bigger things. It works, but just takes time.
     
  15. tartetatin

    tartetatin New commenter

    Ohh, I don't know why but that sentence made me want to cry!
    Please don't think that about yourself. It's the anxiety that makes you feel this way; no-one would realistically think that of you.
    I think you sound like a perfectly lovely and quirky person and I'm sure that given time, you'd be a smashing friend xx
     
  16. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    I would refer you to my earlier post, about the Holy Grail. Social anxiety is not self-obsession in an 'Oh-Why-Can't-I-Get-Anyone-To-Appreciate-How-Fantastic-I-Am-And-Be-Really-Popular sort of a way.
    In my case, it's fretting that I've accidentally said something that will make the other person go home and feel upset. Or nervous. Or bad about themselves.
    I am interested in other people and that's why it's so frustrating, when I'm on form I can get the life-story of the next person in the queue at the supermarket but when I'm not I can't - and I've done a fair bit of work with Active Listening and the like so it's not like it's a simple case of learning the moves.
    I'm aware that I might sound a bit snarky and I'm sorry about that because I know that you're not being mean, but you clearly don't understand what it's like. That's nice for you and please spend some time appreciating how lucky you are, but please don't paint it as a simple case of MeMeMe. It's not.
     
  17. learningyoghurt

    learningyoghurt New commenter

    Oooohhhhh dear, it was even snarkier than I thought. I really am sorry, and by the time I'd read it through the Edit button had disappeared!
    I can't explain why I had that reaction without writing a book, but it relates to my experiences over the last two years with the father of my child and others, so it hit a nerve a bit. That wasn't your fault, and I'm sorry again.
     
  18. It sounds as if you are being really hard on yourself and I really feel for you, virtual hugs!
    If it helps though, those people who seem really confident in new situations are probably just as nervous or uncomfortable as you underneath. I'm forever being told how confident I seem in certain situations but my genuine lack of confidence or unease just makes me push the 'on' button that relates to my mouth and stuff just pours out - normally ****! This then just leads to me re-running conversations in my mind aftterwards to find out where I put my big foot in it!!!
    Honestly, no one is ever as confident and soially at ease as they seem - well, no one human!
    xxxx
     
  19. kibosh

    kibosh Star commenter

    But you know what they expect and want from you. You are in charge.
    That's because the rules of engagement are less clear cut.
    You know what you want and how to get it in most areas of life but when you come into contact with the unknown quantity of people, especially new people, you feel hyper sensitive, clumsy and exposed. Is this the case?
    Was there a person who you learned to be very cautious of? I would imagine 'dad' or father figure. Someone who's love and approval you desired but never quite got. So a tricky, elusive and perhaps intimidating person who made you feel emotionally naked and insecure. You will have learned and internalised some very complex behaviour as a result of this. This person never allowed you to feel secure because they were never consistently clear about what they expected from you. The goal posts were shifted all the time.
    Just a thought.
     
  20. moonpenny

    moonpenny Occasional commenter

    You sound very sorted from your posts.
    One of the things that helped me gain more confidence was when my whole world came crashing down for approx. 10 years!
    Now I don't worry anymore about what anyone thinks or acts around me that much so that old cliché that everything happens for a reason/ what doesn't kill you makes you stronger... has some truth to it.
    I think this is probably just a passing thing,maybe to do with the fact that you have been through a very intense period of your life i.e. having a child,living with your grandad,being a single parent and things have changed vastly, also you are at home a lot.
    I know you say that you accept who you are but I agree with Daisy about the key to being comfortable with yourself is accepting who you are - which incidental seems like a very insightful and thoughtful person.
    I never actively set out to make friends but every so often I meet someone I enjoy spending time with . I didn't know anyone when I moved down here apart from my oh and I was terribly homesick which is only just wearing off now and this place is starting to feel more familiar - after 6 years! I now go out for coffee/ to the pub with a couple of close friends whose company I really enjoy, other than that I am just myself - I am equally as happy in my own company. The other thing is that children can be really good company. I have to say though that when I was living away from my partner I found it incredibly difficult being on my own,even with the kids and my family around .
    Maybe because of your present situation you are feeling under pressure to make friends with people ? It sounds as though you are doing a really good job with your son and he sounds lovely.
     

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