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Old 04-06-2013, 08:31 PM   #1 (permalink)
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hypersensitive overly self-critical


I would like to work on this area of thinking the slightest rejection, someone disagreeing with me, or that I said the wrong thing, reflects on my character and self-esteem.

Many times through the day I think of the littlest interaction where I might have said the wrong thing and I ruminate on it. I actually physically groan sometimes.

I think I am way too sensitive, grandiose, and critical. Kind of been banging my head on the wall. Any help?

What was a wonderful day at an Alanon workshop I am now picking apart: I shouldn't have said that, I said too much, that person shouldn't act that way...on and on..jeez...Thanks
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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For me this felt like i was always on a hammsterwheel.

Then I would make myself even more crazy about the fact that I was on the hammsterwheel again.

Recovery helped. Bringing it up as a topic at a meeting, talking to my therapist about it etc.

For me it was complex and more then one thing that helped (and lead to it). Some of the ingrediants though were codependcy, perfectionism, shame, fear of IMPACT (big one).

Oh yeah one of the ways I know I am worked up about soemthing now....how much I am back on the hammsterwheel about one topic (luckily it is only one). Though not perfect it is progress and now it is an indicator of something I need to bring to my therapist or support for work.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:41 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, are you working the STEPS in Al-Anon? That might give you some relief.

I used to do what you are doing, a LOT. It's gotten much, much better as I've realized what I say and do is really not that big a deal to people. They don't think about me NEARLY as much as I thought they did.

I've gotten much more accepting of both myself and other people. Live and let live.
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Old 04-06-2013, 08:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Well, are you working the STEPS in Al-Anon? That might give you some relief.

I've gotten much more accepting of both myself and other people. Live and let live.

Yes, thanks. I am very active working the Al-anon steps. I am starting a 4th step with the Al-anon booklet. Good timing because this has not been easy bearing for many decades.
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Old 04-06-2013, 11:00 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm incredibly fond of the slogan "What other people think about me is none of my business."

I ran across this blog early in my recovery, and I occasionally return to it for inspiration.

Sometimes, when we observe the alcoholic and their sometimes "larger than life" ego's, we can understand why the destruction of the ego is considered a good thing. But we Al-anoners, who have sometimes been the subject of abuse, or who have low self esteem...we don't believe that we have an ego problem. Instead of too much ego, we believe we have too little.

But our belief that we're "less than" or unloveable, or underappreciated...those are all products of our ego. I'm not going to claim that I've won this battle, but I know that I've gotten better. Usually, when other people get angry, or snide, or express some other destructive emotion...it's not about me. My ego wants to make everything "about me."
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:58 AM   #6 (permalink)
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"Usually, when other people get angry, or snide, or express some other destructive emotion...it's not about me. My ego wants to make everything "about me.""

^^^^^TOTALLY!! I still struggle with my ego so much in this regard. The healthy people in my life are constantly reminding me "It's NOT always about YOU." But anytime someone around me has some kind of problem, I make it my problem by assuming it's about me and trying to fix it. Added to that is the fact that unhealthy people quickly pick up on my willingness to absorb other people's crap, and then proceed to actively use me as an emotional dumping ground. So it's really no wonder I have social anxiety and a tendency to avoid people. They exhaust me.

I really need to work the steps of Al Anon but my hyper-sensitivity and self criticism are even getting in the way there. My meeting is really large, and after it's over, everyone stands around chatting in cocktail party formation. This triggers my social anxiety BIG TIME. I know I need to hang around and get a sponsor, but I never do. I flee. Thank God for SR.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks looks like a good blog...I've bookmarked it. Certainly I left out the low-self esteem along with a huge ego. Not only isn't the majority about me, but most people will forget about it while I continue to rehash it.
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:12 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I used to do this constantly, too. It was debilitating mentally going over conversations and chastising myself for all of my 'mistakes' because I somehow felt I had to be perfect.

Then I realized I was applying a huge double standard against myself. I thought about how I would react if someone had said the same thing to ME, and for the most part, I would not have reacted at all. It would not have been the huge mountain of a problem I was making it out to be.

Looking at it this way, has helped me a great deal!!!!
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Old 04-07-2013, 06:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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[QUOTE=

I really need to work the steps of Al Anon but my hyper-sensitivity and self criticism are even getting in the way there. My meeting is really large, and after it's over, everyone stands around chatting in cocktail party formation. This triggers my social anxiety BIG TIME. I know I need to hang around and get a sponsor, but I never do. I flee. Thank God for SR.[/QUOTE]

Thanks, I think the critical areas for me to look at are self-esteem, hyper-sensitivity, self-criticism. I pretty much know where "they" came from, but besides personal boundaries I haven't dealt with them, and move on through the middle steps.
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Old 04-07-2013, 07:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Then I realized I was applying a huge double standard against myself. I thought about how I would react if someone had said the same thing to ME, and for the most part, I would not have reacted at all. It would not have been the huge mountain of a problem I was making it out to be.

Looking at it this way, has helped me a great deal!!!!
^^^That's fantastic!^^^

I have openly admitted to myself (and others) that I hold myself to a higher standard personally, professionally, and emotionally than I would hold any other human being to. It IS a double standard. I know this. But I never thought to look at it this way, turning the tables when I'm over-analyzing and ask myself if how I would feel if someone else had done or said what I was agonizing over. Thank you so much for sharing!
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Old 04-07-2013, 08:17 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Dear wiscsober, it is my belief that these kinds of feelings have their beginnings in our families of origin--or childhood experience. Of course, living with alcoholism doesn't help the situation, either!

In addition to alanon (yea), the help of a good therapist might be invaluable, right now. Especially, since you seem willing and motivated to look closely as yourself!!

very sincerely, dandylion

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Old 04-07-2013, 09:55 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by DreamsofSerenity View Post
I really need to work the steps of Al Anon but my hyper-sensitivity and self criticism are even getting in the way there. My meeting is really large, and after it's over, everyone stands around chatting in cocktail party formation. This triggers my social anxiety BIG TIME. I know I need to hang around and get a sponsor, but I never do. I flee. Thank God for SR.
I was so blessed that in my first Al-anon group, a lady gave me a hug every time I showed up! Just a hug, but it kept me coming back. It made me feel like one person in that group cared about me.
I'm in another group now, I'm involved in service, I became a GR this year, I'm so excited about working my program! But I still see that lady every now and then and get a hug, and it still makes me feel great.
I was thinking about that recently, and it reminds me to really try and reach out to the people in my group (and I'm soooo not always comfortable with that!)
We can learn to feel better about ourselves, the program really does work! But we can do really simple things to help other people know that we care about them, and who knows when that really simple thing will be exactly what they need!?
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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I am my own worst critic!

OMG I did this into recovery from my addiction, ie "I'm not good enough", "they don't like what I said", "why didn't he/she/it say that this way?", etc and on and on and on.

I started to understand when others would tell me to take the BIG truck chain I was using to beat myself up with, and put it in the back of my closet, when I started and then completed my 4th step and went onto my 5th step.

Then when I got to Alanon at 3 years sober, that 'wonderful' NOT self criticism seemed to return, when in reality it was still my lack of self worth and self esteem. I was hauling out that 'big truck chain' again and beating myself up. Well, ...........................as I started working the 12 steps again, from the perspective of Alanon, again when I reached and did the 4th and then the 5th step I had some new revelations for me.

I still do my 'self analysis' daily at the end of the day as part of my 10th step, but it is different now, I am looking for ways in which I may have, not intentionally, or intentionally hurt someone during my day's activities. Big difference.

So, yep you will change, you will regain your self worth and self esteem, you will not beat yourself up all the time, etc as you work the 12 steps and then learn how to LIVE the 12 steps. It does get better and better!!!!

Love and hugs,
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Old 04-07-2013, 10:57 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing your perspective, Laurie, I gained a lot of confidence from that in knowing that it can and will get better as I work the steps.

I struggle with this topic, as well, and I have to try to step back from the ruminating over how I said something or how someone responded. A lot of it comes from living with my AH (and previously my father). My AH once told me that I talk too loudly in public and that everyone always looks at me. I looked around once and saw no one looking at me at all and I had to remind myself that he was the one who had a problem with me and not everyone else. He also has said that I don't tell stories well and that I jump around too much in my versions of storytelling and don't get to the point. Well, I then remind myself that no one else has had this issue with me. I finally called a good 'normie' friend and asked her if this was an issue with me or if she saw that in me. Nope. She didn't. I was then able to build my self confidence about how I speak to others along with being able to hold myself accountable in what I was saying, etc and how I was approaching the other person. I truly believe that counseling and Al Anon have helped me see these patterns. I may only be on step 4 right now, but I do feel that I will learn more about myself as I work through the steps.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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The thing that helped me more than anything else with this was surrounding myself with good 'mirrors' - positive, confident people who reflected back the qualities in me that I hoped to reinforce.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing your Al Anon experience, MattMathews. To be fair to the people in my group, I'm not sure how much of a chance I've given them to reach out. Plus, I live in a big city where the culture is generally very reserved.

It's my own issue and I really need to work on it somehow. It's been interesting to hear that other people replay conversations in their heads. I thought I was the only one who drives herself crazy by doing this!
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Old 04-07-2013, 01:28 PM   #17 (permalink)
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After a good deal of work in Alanon I realized 1) the world doesn't revolve around me and b) other people don't think about what I said. They don't think about me either. Like me, people think about themselves, not anyone else. Sharing about this would help, also talking to your sponsor. It's codependency and yes, you can get it under control with some work. Yes, addicts are thin-skinned and judgmental, it's part of being codependent. It's a good sign that you're aware of what you're doing and want to change. You will, I promise!
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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You know what OP, I can think of something dumb I did 30 or 40 YEARS ago and still get embarrassed.

I think everybody does this to some extent.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:08 PM   #19 (permalink)
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In addition to alanon (yea), the help of a good therapist might be invaluable, right now. Especially, since you seem willing and motivated to look closely as yourself!!

very sincerely, dandylion

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I probably could take my mother's inventory, and apply it to me!!! But I can't blame anybody, especially thinking and acting this way for so many years, especially in recovery.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:14 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing your perspective, Laurie, I gained a lot of confidence from that in knowing that it can and will get better as I work the steps.

I struggle with this topic, as well, and I have to try to step back from the ruminating over how I said something or how someone responded. I truly believe that counseling and Al Anon have helped me see these patterns. I may only be on step 4 right now, but I do feel that I will learn more about myself as I work through the steps.
Thank you this is very helpful. I do keep the focus on my self. As we say, "Let It Begin With Me." But I understand also how my ex-AW in a way forced me to doubt myself and self-worth. To accept things that were just not acceptable.

I have based my life on people's approval. That's a tough pill to swallow.
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