Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me
I am a strong person, physically. At six-foot-three inches tall and 250 pounds, most people wouldn't waste their breath arguing that assertion. And, whether because of, or in spite of, my bipolar and anxiety diagnoses, I consider myself to be strong mentally, as well. I am intelligent, accomplished, likeable, and successful.
Despite the mountains of evidence of this, my brain works diligently to convince me that every interaction I have with another person is a misstep. If I text someone and they don’t reply back, it is obvious they are mad at me. If someone doesn't answer the phone when I call, say hello when they pass by, or reply to my email, then my mind goes into what can only be described as an emotional roller coaster. It isn't a fun, state-of-the-art roller coaster, either. It’s an old wooden one, poorly maintained, and it’s painful when it turns corners. The ride up the first hill is jerky, slow, and the anticipation sends shock waves I can feel all over my body. It is emotionally, physically, and even mentally straining. It is fear, panic, anticipation, and dread all rolled into one giant full body panic attack.
Anxiety Convinces Me That Everyone Hates Me
At that moment, I feel as though everyone I know is mad at me. They all disrespect me, think I am stupid, and do not want me in their lives any longer. Quite simply, my anxiety says everyone hates me.
Now, on top of all the other emotions, guilt forms. I feel guilty that I put someone in such a difficult position. I imposed by reaching out to them. Asking them a question, for a favor, or simply saying hello was uncalled for. I should not have done it and, since I’m a good person, I want to apologize. I want to reach back out to them and ask if they are mad, if they are okay, what I did wrong, and let them know I want to make amends. I want to set things right.
I Just Want the Anxiety to Stop
More often than not, what does get me in trouble and where I do make a mistake is by war dialing, constantly texting or e-mailing, or asking them one too many questions about why something is a certain way. Even apologizing for a legitimate mistake can be over the line, if handled the wrong way.
Ninety-seven times out of a hundred, the reason I didn't hear back was because the person was busy, in a meeting, mulling it over, or because people have things to do other than answer me. In the rare occasions where I did make a mistake, offend, or bother someone, the issue is generally cleared up quickly with an explanation and an apology. The people in my life know that I am a good person and don’t intentionally hurt others and they doubly know I wouldn't intentionally hurt them.
Ignoring the Anxiety that Says that Everyone Hates Me
It is hard to sit back, relax, and not engage the anxiety. It baits me to do something I will later regret. I work with my therapist to find techniques to calm down and I explain to my friends and family that when I ask if they are mad me, it is because I genuinely care and I want to make sure they are okay. I am also honest in admitting that checking in with them alleviates my suffering. Often, it is more about me than about them, and they understand that.
There are as many ways to alleviate anxiety as there are people. It is trial and error, but there are techniques that work for many people. Mindfulness, meditation, advanced preparation, sleep hygiene, therapy, and medication can all be used to control this disorder. But the biggest factor in this will always be me.
Howard, G. (2014, May 6). Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, January 24 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/05/anxiety-says-everyone-hates-me
Author: Gabe Howard
I'm glad that you like the HealthyPlace Anxiety-Schmanxiety website. Gabe wrote this particular article, but he is unable to respond to comments as he is no longer writing for HealthyPlace. Articles will keep coming, though, so please visit often. Each week there will be two new articles, and we hope to hear from you again.
You're definitely not the only one. Far from it! Kudos to you for finding an activity that helps you cope in a positive way. Focus on football and other positive things that you begin to notice. Changing what you pay attention to can help change your feelings, too.
I have had anxiety for most of my life since as long as I can remember. Mostly anxiety about other people and what they think of me. My mind automatically thinks that people dislike me or even hate me. I know in my better moments that I am a good person and that there is really nothing to dislike, but it does not stop my mind from wandering to those thoughts. I would love to be by myself most of the time and not have to see people but it is not possible. I am married with a daughter and I have a good life but anxiety is ruining it.
I emigrated 11 years ago and the change in friends, family, culture, etc. really affected me badly. I did not take care of myself the way I should have done and it made my anxiety worse. Anxiety and stress go hand-in-hand and I feel like I have had my fair share. Why are some people born with anxiety disorders and some people seem to live their life with none whatsoever?
You asked a question that researchers are still trying to answer. The causes of anxiety disorders are complex and include both nature (biology/genetics) and nurture (environmental factors and stressors that play a part in activating certain genes). You are so right that stress and anxiety are connected. Change is a big factor, too, and lead to something known as adjustment disorder. No matter what the cause, it's possible to develop coping skills to manage anxiety (but anxiety doesn't make it easy to do that!). Have you considered working with a therapist to develop techniques for breaking free from anxiety's grasp? There are people who can help, and you deserve it. :)
While severe anxiety can absolutely contribute to the thoughts you shared, there are other things that can contribute as well. It's okay not to be convinced of the source; in fact, the most important thing is getting help for your thoughts and feelings first, and underlying causes can be addressed as you progress. When you are feeling hopeless, there are places to turn. One that is available 24/7 via telephone and/or online chats is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. There are resources on the site as well as people to chat with for help. The website is http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/. Reaching out here, at the Lifeline, etc. is a very good thing. Help is available, and you can begin to feel better. Contrary to what your thoughts are telling you, you do deserve it.
In terms of FB, I don't even logon anymore. The first time I posted anything on FB, it took me an hour to write two sentences. I was so afraid of getting judged. drives me bananas. I want to be a regular person and talk to my friend on the phone without breaking into a cold sweat.
A year ago, I almost lost my best friend, over my "phone phobia". To this day I still don't think that she fully understands.
Also, I got an epiphany: It just occurred to me after reading everyone's comments, that I may have an anxiety disorder. I've been living with this for so long that I can't imagine taking medication for it at this point. I'm just really happy that what I have is a real thing and not just "in my head". I'm not the only one on the planet dealing with it. Now that I know that, for the first time in my life I feel (ironically) normal
Please know that you are not the only person out there that thinks "why can't I just be like everyone else"? We are all different and it took me most of a lifetime to embrace that. People ask "why do you do this or do that" as if something is wrong about me?
I had one smug, criticizing person ask me, once, "why would you wear a shirt
that has advertising on it or a slogan on it? Why don't you wear a Polo shirt or a
colorful short sleeve shirt with a nice collar"? I think he was trying to put me down because he could sense my uneasiness in a group of people.
For once, I did not buckle under with shame but retorted with: "Let me tell you something! If we all had long hair, Nike shoes, drove the same type of car, liked the same music, ate the same food, liked the same TV shows, had high morals, had wonderful childhoods, liked the same friends, had all the latest high-tech gadgets, and so on and so on, this would be a very boring world and we wouldn't have anybody to gossip about!
You just wear your designer clothes if you must and stand on your head if you want and howl at the moon and just leave to wear what I want and be who I am. And while you're at it, eat Rocks! He was so embarrassed he never bothered me again.
I don't know how I did this, since I suffer from anxiety, social phobia, depression, ptsd, agoraphobia, etc. The one thing that has helped to cope is finally understanding that I got this way probably by having been my father's punching bag when anything went wrong around him, while also watching him beat my Mother when she did something he didn't like. He made it impossible to grow up as "Normal" people do.
Over the years I've had wonderful Role models in my life whom I've sensed cared about my dilemma and helped me to see that there Are people out there that Care about you and made a difference in my life by giving me Hope. I also hope that my reply to you, my friend, will make a difference in your life as well. Just try to be the best that you can be and always be true to yourself. May God Bless!
Gabe is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so he is unable to respond to your comment. I know he'd be pleased to know that you appreciated his post. You are definitely not alone. This feeling/experience is quite common among those of us who live with or have lived with anxiety. I think it's good that you're unable to go back and apologize for things you think you need to apologize for. Chances are high that apologies are not in order at all. Live each moment and move to the next unapologetically, no matter how anxious you feel.
Gabe is no longer writing for HealthyPlace and is unable to respond to comments. You are certainly not alone in your thoughts. Interesting that you mention social media. Studies show that social media use can increase anxiety and depression and chip away at self-esteem. There are many reasons for this. It's definitely something that everyone should be aware of; when we notice social media taking its toll, it's a good idea to take a break from it as much as possible. Also, gathering evidence to test the reality of our thoughts is a very effective way to counteract negative beliefs that contribute to anxiety and depression. Sometimes, the evidence is just what it is -- it might be false, and it might be real. Either way, we can use it to our advantages to make the changes we want to make in our lives. We can identify what we want to do differently or what we would like to be different in our lives and then create a plan involving little steps toward our goal. You don't have to be limited by the past (or by social media in the present)!
You're definitely not alone. This is a common aspect of anxiety. One way to counteract this thinking is to beat it at its own game. Recognize it (which you already do!), then go through the process of recognizing that it's irrational. When you realize that you haven't done anything to make people hate you, you can then come to know that their actions are about them rather than you. You can't control how others act, but you can control how you react (or don't react)!
I think you are wise in considering therapy. What you describe sounds very much like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You most definitely fit the criteria, and PTSD is something that can be treated. When ignored, though, it commonly worsens. HealthyPlace has a blog about PTSD and trauma that you might want to check out: http://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/traumaptsdblog/. Also, the fear of being put in a psychiatric hospital is one that many people have, especially because of the incorrect stereotypes that are out there on TV, in the movies, in the news, etc. Therapists don't just automatically put someone in such a hospital. The goal is to work with someone out of a hospital setting. Sometimes, temporary hospitalization is necessary, but if your therapist thinks that's the case, he/she should talk to you about it and work with you. The purpose of a hospitalization is to help rather than to frighten and make things worse, and again, it's only used when absolutely necessary. It's not a first line of defense. You experienced traumas (both the fire and the losses of friends), and your mind hasn't had a chance to process them. In working with a therapist, you will have the opportunity to process and, ultimately (although it's not always a fast process) to heal.
Anyway, sorry this is so long! Your post brought me some comfort and I am a little relieved to know that I am not alone.
I'm glad you found HealthyPlace and this article in particular. Gabe is no longer writing for HealthyPlace so is unable to respond to comments. You most definitely aren't alone in your feelings or experiences. Know that there are many things you can do to reduce anxiety and increase positive social experiences. There are many articles on Anxiety-Schmanxiey, as well as reader comments, that address this and so many other things. Welcome!
Welcome to Healthy Place! You are definitely not alone (do you know that over 40 million people in the US alone live with some type of anxiety disorder, and every human being on the planet experiences varying degrees of anxiety throughout their life?). So you're in good company! I hope you find the Anxiety-Schmanxiety community to be a helpful resource as you overcome anxiety.
Living with anxiety is a hard thing. It takes a lot out of a person and is a daily struggle. But, we must fight back. We must soldier on and lead the lives we deserve. Thank you for commenting and reading. You are not alone -- there are many of us right there with you. Hugs, Gabe