I want to change myself... but how?
I am really unhappy with my personality. I just feel that overall, I could be a better person. I have been struggling with this since I was in elementary school. ******This may be long but I hope people will read this and help me out.
Family: My parents preference for my brother as well as my brother's physical and emotional abuse is really the core of my personality problems. Because of these experiences I have the following bad qualities:
1. I am greedy - my parents always gave my brother everything but rarely gave me anything for free - I had to earn everything. I have a habit of always wanting two of something because I feel like I will always lose something... therefore I need a backup. This has caused me to obsess over things... Like if I go on a trip I need to greedily experience EVERYTHING. If I miss out on one museum or whatever, I become very upset and feel like whoever made me miss that event did it on purpose to hurt me and prevent me from having fun. I feel like I've developed a persecution complex.
2. I believe that bad people are rewarded and good people are punished - because my brother is a failure, my parents has to support him. He is 28 and has an minimum wage job and couldn't finish university so he gets rewarded by getting an allowance, living at home for free, he has always been able to stay out all night and not do household chores.
Because I am reliable, I had to do many chores. I was not allowed to stay out late, I NEVER received an allowance in my life and had a part time job since I was 16 and never went 6 months without a job.
Experiencing this has just made me an apathetic person and I have become a 'neutral' person who doesn't go out of my way to help others unless I get something out of it. I can't yet bring myself to become a bad person though, thankfully.
3. I can't accept love from others or show love to others - my brother was physically and emotionally abusive and my parents were scared to punish him and pretended not to know. Whenever I achieved something, they hid it from my brother so he wouldn't be jealous and get angry and they rarely praised me.
Whenever I achieved something, I feel like I need to hide it from others.... because if they don't praise me, I would feel rejected. If they do praise me, I would feel like they would one day use my skill to their advantage (see #2... the reason I did all the chores was because I was good at it and my brother did nothing because he was not good at it).
I never felt love from anyone in my family and find it hard to praise others for the simplest things. When I see a friend in a nice outfit or something, I struggle to compliment them and it comes out awkward like I don't really think their outfit is nice. When a coworker does well on a project or something and tells me about it, I awkwardly nod and say it's interesting as if I don't care even if I do think it's cool. I feel like if I praise someone, they will not appreciate my love enough or something which would make me feel rejected in return.
Friends: My friendships were okay until one day in grade 4. I was doing homework with my best friend over speakerphone and my brother became angry at the noise I was making and came in and screamed and beat me. My friend heard everything and hung up in fear (my brother knew the speakerphone was on and didn't care). My friend admitted she heard everything the next day but our friendship continued as if nothing happened.
But after that I felt disconnected with all my friends. I felt like I couldn't trust my friends to protect me or help me.
I tend to take friendships too seriously and when I see others not taking our friendship as strongly, I alienate myself from them.
In grade 6, a boy transferred in and changed everything. He asked a girl out and started the first relationship in the school and suddenly everyone was interested in the opposite sex - I wasn't yet. It turns out a lot of boys liked me and that angered the popular grade 7 girls. They stationed a grade 6/7 freeze out directed at me and I became a loner with no friends.
They graduated to high school and in grade 7, I considered 2~3 people my friends and I could talk to the other students again.
But the experience changed me forever.
I could trust no one to be my true friend.
In high school, I couldn't trust anyone. Whenever someone showed interest in being my friend I became suspicious. Why would they want to be friends with me? What's their angle?
Whenever someone showed romantic interest in me, I, for no good reason, deemed them as creepy and perverted and cruelly rejected them.
Only in grade 12 I finally liked someone enough to want to date them but he had family problems too and we never ended up dating. Maybe I was attracted to him because I could sense we were so similar. We smiled and were the funny kids with many people laughing alongside us in the outside but had turmoil and pain on the inside.
I had friends and many people liked me for my sarcastic humor but I always kept them at arms length. I would go home for lunch and avoid most out of school outings except for birthday gatherings.
I gathered these bad personality traits in high school:
4. I became EXTREMELY judgmental and point out any little flaw of someone and focused on their flaws until it came to a point where I hated them. I became a bitch, basically.
5. I came to think that I am better than everyone for superficial reasons. If someone has a tattoo, if they drink alcohol too much, if they smoke, if they have bad fashion sense, etc. = I am too good for them.
I realize now that I don't REALLY think I'm better than them, I am just using those reasons to think I'm too good to be friends with them. I am preventing myself from having friends.
*I went from extroverted to introverted in university. I joined many clubs in an attempt to make new friends but the happy, funny, likable shell I built started breaking apart. I noticed that if a group was in a circle I somehow end up on the inside. Even if it's a small circle of 3 people! My disconnect with others became manifesting physically. At least before I was physically in the circle even though my mind was elsewhere.
I started acting out. When I was upset, I couldn't hold it in anymore and I one time stormed out of a restaurant where my friends and I were. My friends tried to indirectly talk to me about my behavior but I just pushed them away.
Boyfriend: I met my first and only boyfriend when I was studying overseas. I don't know what love at first sight is exactly, but there was definitely a connection for both of us when he first walked into our classroom.
I had some 'rules' for myself for a relationship. No one of a different culture or language (because I struggled with my parents who came from China to Canada and they didn't speak English and my Chinese isn't perfect), no one religious, no long distance relationship, etc. But all these imaginary rules were broken. We fell in love. We spent 1.5 years in different countries, 13 hours apart, he went into the army for 2 years and I finally moved to his country. Our 5 year anniversary is in 2 weeks. It was really a love story.
He is extremely extroverted and whenever i meet his friends they would tell him later that they were shocked by how quiet I am. He can literally hold a conversation all night (he has had 12 hour heart to hearts with his buddies before) but I could happily stay silent for a whole week. I brushed it off as a language difference at first, but in truth, I have become accustomed to silence.
I no longer keep regular contact with anyone. I have a friend I've known for 15+ years that I occasionally message on facebook. I have two cousins that I like but keep my distance because they don't know about my brother's abuse. I only have one friend in the country I'm living in now.
I was actually all fine with this until my birthday this year (I'm 25). My coworkers (who I'm not even that close to) completely forgot and what's worse is that it's mandatory at my work to celebrate each others' birthdays. I just broke down in my office and cried. How did it come to this? So many people tried to approach me throughout my life and pushed them away. I don't even care about my birthday that much.
My boyfriend and I had a talk last night. He revealed that it was difficult for him to share his life with me. He could speak to a stranger for hours and it'll feel natural but with me, he just can't even tell me about his day and he doesn't know why. He says my reactions don't seem like I'm interested even though I am interested. I feel like I've lost the ability to express my emotions.
We will move to another country next year because of his job. I want to take this opportunity to change myself and start over.
I don't want to push people away anymore.
To be honest, I don't think I'm at the point where I am able to reach out to new people yet... I think I have a long way to go... but I want to at least try to accept others into my life. People seem to gravitate towards me, although this is happening less and less because my (fake) happy outer shell has more or less broken into pieces by now. So I think people will still try to approach me for friendship.
I'm worried because I felt like I am 'too old' to make real friends now since most people I know are only friends with high school and university friends and don't really make new real friends.
I'm so scared to get hurt, betrayed, and disappointed by others. To be honest, I think I can live my life happily with only the man I am going to marry. But he is worried about me and I feel like my future children will inherit my bad qualities. I want to change myself for them.
But how? How do I accept people into my life again?
I know a person who feels much like you do.
When he was an infant/child he didn't get attention and love from parents. So he cannot give it to others.
Add alcohol to that and now he lives a I-didn't-get-mine, so-no-one-will-get-anything-from-me kind of life.
He is very much alone, now - a very sad man.
Please begin therapy to find out how you can break these "learned" responses to life, plus learn how to have empathy for others.
(*I made a mistake in my OP, it should be that I was left OUTside of the circle, not INside.)
I'm worried I will become like that. I give too much and I can't help but seek for something in return but I always get nothing.
I'm actually a very giving person and one of my love languages is gift giving. Whenever I'm out, I would see things that would be perfect for people I know and I would want to buy it for them randomly.
But I can't because it would be weird to give them random gifts, they might not appreciate the gift and in turn, not appreciate me, and they probably wouldn't reciprocate the gesture in any way which would make me feel rejected.
I've always wanted to have a closet of gifts to give to friends and family when there's a sudden even or something. I imagine a gift closet with wrapping paper, ribbons, cards, stickers, and random potential gifts.
I have actually even bought those random things but when I'm about to give it to the person, I stop myself and keep it for myself... Because I feel like I will appreciate the gift more than them. That's where the greedy part of my personality comes in. If they can't appreciate something enough then they don't deserve it... I can appreciate it so I should just keep it. And it's weird because I usually don't have use for those random things and don't want it for myself.
And it has happened where the other person takes the gift and just thanked me... and I feel that they should show their appreciation more.
I think I have a lot of good qualities but they are being buried and repressed because of my past experiences. So I COULD be a giving person but it's being buried by my greed.
One time, a man dropped his credit card on the train and I picked it up and gave it to him and he just snatched it and walked away. It made me feel angry like I wasted a good deed on a bad person which made me not want to do things like that anymore.
Another time, a girl stood up from her seat on the subway and her credit card fell out. I decided not to tell her and I felt guilty for the rest of the ride. I worried about the girl who probably has to cancel the card and get a new one and all the trouble she will go through because I didn't tell her and I felt guilty.
I want to find a way to stop feeling like this. A simple thank you should be enough for me. Just doing a good deed without anything in return should be enough. But I never received love or appreciation when I was young so I feel like I need to 'collect' it now in excess.
Sounds like you all are trolling, like the people on chat are -.-
I don't see how any of these posts on this thread could possibly be trolling.
I'd really like some help in my problem. I don't think I'm at the point where I need to see a therapist, which is why I sought help on this forum.
I checked out the chatroom and now I'm starting to regret joining this forum... can someone tell me upfront if this forum actually helps anyone? I don't want false hope by checking for replies. Should i just deactivate my account?
Yes, it is a great forum. But what really helps me is a new app on the iPhone called Flyy.
I am able to voice myself on it and I get amazing feedback in less than 10 seconds.
It empowers me too because i can use my voice but disguise it so no one knows its me. It is really amazing.