I come from a very driven family and have always felt the need to be perfect, accomplished and intelligent.I have frequently accused of over-thinking things. Up until the last year or two, this condition has not bothered me. Recently however, it has started to severly hinder my life. I cannot trust my family because I feel as if I am constantly checking and rechecking their words or actions. Any time my mother gets frustrated with me, I instantly feel like I have failed and start defending myself. This has caused much strife between my mother and I. It has also tainted my relationships with friends. Sometimes, I feel so insecure and afraid I don’t want to be around any one at all. I want to push all my friends away and have everyone leave me alone. The worst time is when I feel this way with my significant other. I simply cannot allow myself to trust him even though I want to. I feel torn, unsure and scared. I am constantly checking and rechecking his words and actions. I constantly feel like I am not good enough. I have this huge fear of being compared to his ex girlfriends and I will never allow myself to accept a compliment from him, or anyone for that matter. I feel as if I can’t get my mind to be at peace. I just want to be able to trust someone and not constantly doubt them. I want to be able to feel ok with having someone be in my life and not feel the urge to run them off.
I have not sought any medical attention since I do not want to make a big deal out of it with my family. I have tried researching what disorder or phobia might be causing these symptoms with no luck. Do you have any insights, opinions or information that could help me get over this constant uncertainty?
A. I am not certain exactly what you meant by the expression “constantly checking and re-checking” the words and actions of others. Does that mean that you are questioning them about what they’re saying? Are you attempting to ensure that what they’re saying is accurate? It would’ve been helpful to have had a more thorough explanation of what you meant by that phrase.
Your inability to trust may be your way of attempting to protect yourself from being hurt. It seems as though you are constantly in a defensive mode. Individuals who are characteristically defensive often are that way because they don’t like to be wrong. Being wrong, in their mind, might equate to being “no good.” They don’t take criticism easily and feel as though it is an affront to the core of their being.
At the heart of the problem may be a lack of confidence. If you don’t feel good about yourself, then what others say about you may be perceived as an attack. This hypersensitivity to criticism may be part of the problem.
This problem is “severely hindering your life.” For that reason, I would highly recommend counseling. You stated that you do not want to “make a big deal out” out of this problem but left untreated, you risk ruining every important relationship in your life. Without those relationships, you will be unhappy. You may only need a few counseling sessions to adjust your thinking. I hope you will consider counseling. Please take care.