Post # 1
Just coming here for some advice and/or tips on something I’ve noticed I’ve struggled with for most, if not my entire life: I have trouble letting go of criticism or mistakes.
Seriously, I let even the littlest things get to me, and before I know it I’m internalizing them and letting them give me anxiety for hours, sometimes days.
Like today, I accidentally sent a meeting agenda to someone outside our office. Yes, it was my mistake (email autofill is both a blessing and a curse), however, it’s a meeting agenda, not a top secret classified document divulging all of our biggest secrets. Realistically, it doesn’t matter if this person sees our “Lunch Club” schedule (they probably don’t know and don’t care what it is). I know all of this. Still, when my boss buzzed me to let me know about my mistake, it was like I was the biggest dumbass in the world (or at least that’s how I perceived it) even though it was an honest mistake. There’s nothing I can do about it now.
But I usually find myself feeling this way about little mistakes or hiccups that will sometimes happen because I’m human and I screw up, especially at work. Even though other staff members mess up from time to time too, I feel like I’m the one that usually gets called out for it, either in front of other staff or in group emails (I know in reality this probably isn’t true).
I know I’m a pretty sensitive person and I’ve dealt with anxiety disorder pretty much my entire life. Part of me thinks it’s my anxiety in combination with my upbrining, living with a mother who is borderline. I’ve always been a people pleaser and have always reacted strongly to being scolded or disappointing someone. I’ve gone to counseling on and off but no therapist has been able to give me good tips for letting these kinds of things go and how to kind of “roll with the punches.”
Do any of you deal with this currently? Or have you in the past?
Post # 2
it used to be for me, that anything less than perfection from myself was unacceptable. I had to react perfectly, I had to handle every situation in a perfect manner, and mistakes were just completely unacceptable.
Like you, I would beat myself up for days over a perceived mistake. If I ran into a conflict that I perceived to be my fault, I would just tell myself “you’re just a bad person. Bad people hurt other people”
I’ve been seeing my current therapist for about two years, and over the past few months, I’ve actually noticed myself being much kinder, and forgiving of my perceived mistakes.
I’m not exactly sure when things started to change, but I’ve improved a lot.
From what you said about your mother, I’m sure you spent your childhood walking on eggshells around her. Everything was always your fault 100% of the time and any misstep on your part would result in mass hysterics from your mother about what a piece of garbage you are.
My mother has never been diagnosed, but she appears to be a textbook case of Münchausen syndrome, but I’ve also seen a lot of bpd in her. You are always in the wrong, no matter what. Even if you are perfect and your mom is the one misstepping, it’s still your fault. I mean, my mother left my sister a note that hinted at suicide and when my sister confronted her, it was my sisters fault for “misunderstanding” the letter 🙄🙄🙄
i feel you so much right now, bee. Have you seen a therapist before? Are you seeing one now? I would start going again, my therapist has completely changed my life and I’m surprised at how much nicer I’m being to myself lately
Post # 3
- Wedding: May 2019 - City, State
I have struggled with the same problem for the majority of my life, and still have times where I randomly think of some mistake I made 10 years ago and internally I cringe and dwell on it for a time. Like you, I’m a people pleaser by nature. I don’t give a second thought to other people’s honest mistakes, but mine feel like the end of the world.
My biggest piece of advice is to take into account how you react when someone around you makes a mistake. Do you think they are incompetent/careless/terrible at their job? No. It was an honest mistake, no biggie, you acknowledge it then you move on with your day like nothing happened. Because it was nothing. Even when it is a big careless mistake, you know that shit happens.
That’s how people view your mistakes. They’re not a big deal. It’s a whoops let’s address this, then it’s done. It’s gone. My motto is to put it on a cloud and let it drift away. Dwelling on it only increases the chances of making another whoopsy. If this hasn’t ruined anyone else’s day, I really shouldn’t let it ruin mine.
It’s an ongoing struggle, it is. But you are your harshest critic. If you can afford to cut other people slack for mistakes, you can absolutely afford to cut yourself some too. You deserve that. Life is hard man, we’re all just trying to get by doing our best and sometimes our best happens to let something slip through the cracks. Major or minor, it will be okay.
Post # 4
ETA, honestly, I don’t think my therapist gave me tips on how to roll with the punches, it was more solving the inner turmoil that made me so hateful towards myself.
You would have to resolve the under lying cause of your anxiety in order for you to improve. I know it’s a disorder, I have gad as well, but working on myself has greatly reduced the impact that the disorder has on my life
Post # 5
The last time I went to therapy was about a year or so ago. I really liked my therapist but things naturally started winding down and I was in a solid place. However, I’ve been to a lot of different therapists over the years and none of them have really been able to give me useful advice or tips on how
to let these things go, just that I should learn to let them go (like, duh!). My most recent therapist did help give me advice and tips on how to handle my mother and boundaries (which, we addressed was more than likely the source of most of my issues), but other than that I usually find myself at a loss and settle for venting to my husband. That in itself is tough, though, because then I just beat myself up for feeling weak that I’ve let something so minor get to me that much.
Perhaps a good mantra or breathing exercise would work well in these moments.
Post # 6
what helps me is a pep talk with myself, I tell myself that I am only human and that I’m doing the best that I can
My sister also gave me some good advice that echos pp’s advice, what would you tell a friend who is in the same position? You would be much kinder to your friend than yourself, I’m sure
Post # 7
Commenting to follow. I could have written the OP.
Post # 8
I have struggled with the same. One thing that I would recommend is mindfulness meditation. A lot of meditation is about learning to observe your thought patterns without judgment and retrain your brain, so that when you have an unhelpful/unkind thought or series of thoughts, you can notice that and ask yourself to let them go rather than get absorbed in them. That way you can have the thought without identifying with it, if that makes sense. It gives you some distance so you can choose not to get sucked into a spiral of obsessive or negative thinking. It’s an ongoing practice, but one that I think is really helpful and gives you a set of tools to deal with these kinds of issues.
ETA: I like the app Headspace, but there are a ton of meditation apps out there that have guided meditations if you’re not sure where to start. Just be aware that most of the studies on the positive impacts of meditation on anxiety are studies on mindfulness meditation rather than transcendental meditation, which has a very different focus.
Post # 9
I used to be like you. I had to perfect in every way. I hated myself every time I did any mistake. this was mosty because of my upbringing. My mother was very strict and punishesd me for every little mistake. She crticized every thing about me including my sleep position. Then, when I lived alone I criticized myself a lot. I also noticed that I was very judgemental towards others too especialy when I was a teenager.
I am so much better to myself now. I limit my conversations with my mother. I first learnt to be non-judgemental towards others. Then, I decided since I gave others a break I should treat myself kinder. My fiance also pointed out to me that I was very harsh to myself. My cat also helped me with my mistakes. Once I forgot to fill up my cat’s water. He stayed without water for about 3-4 hours. I hated myself but my cat was fine and after he drank his water, he rubbed himself on me. He forgave me immediately and forgot about the whole thing. So, I also needed to let it go.
One thing that helped me with my obessession is fixing my mistakes. I always find ways to fix my mistakes to feel better about myself. I also write kind notes to myself. Whenever I make a mistake, I compare my mistakes to my accomplishments. I ask myself if I would be harsh to another person who would do the same mistake. I surround myself with people who are kind to me (for example, my cat and fiance) and distance myself from judgemental people (for example, my mother, people from social media).
I think that fact that I am not a people pleaser helped me too. I never cared what people thought of me.
Another thing that helped is not blamng my mum for my problem. It is up to me to fix this problem.
I also tutored kids who were hard on themselves and guiding them with this problem heped me deal with my issues as well. They would cry buckets of tears over a small mistake in a test. I would tell them that it was OK to feel bad for making mistakes but not kill themselves for it.
I still crticize myself but not as much as I used to. I am learning to take care of myself.