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Why Do I Provoke A Negative Attitude In Others?

Question:

I’m in my 30s. I am said to be an intelligent and attractive woman. I am an only child, was very attached to my mother, who died when I was 22. I didn’t have a good relationship with my father, who was a tyrant. He also died a few years ago. I never had too many friends but now I don’t have any and am getting divorced. I feel totally betrayed by life and abandoned. I was separated in February 2002. My husband, we were together since 1991, left me for an ugly, fat woman who dates exclusively married man, she was living with someone’s else’s husband for 3 years when she began messing with my husband. Although I was intending to leave my husband few years ago, as he was lying to me and we became distant, I did not as he was at the lowest point in his life. I decided to stay. He used to be crazy about me and was always afraid that I would leave him. I was crying constantly and was very sad when he left, but I believed he would come back. All this time I am alone, no one has approached me, asked me for a date. I don’t go out and work mostly with women, and don’t have too many chances to meet someone,yet it is inconceivable that I am still alone. What am I doing wrong and what should I do to get over the hurt and meet someone with integrity and intelligence. I must add that my ex is a compulsive liar and that he is sexually twisted. I caught the sites he was visiting, and he is interested in transsexuals and gays. I am very distrusting,afraid to be hurt as people have done it to me many times. In addition to this, I’m university educated, yet I have a problem holding a job. I seem to enter in conflicts with people very frequently and evoke negative reactions from them. I am picked-on all the time. Others seem to get away with the apparent scams and dishonest behavior, but I get brushed on. Please help me. What am I doing wrong, it looks like I should get instructions to live, behave, work and love. Why am I provoking such a negative attitude in everyone? It also seems that the weird, smelly people always sit next to me in the bus and I try to conceal my disgust but they notice and begin talking to me. I was always the top student in my class but I never expected not only that I would not have a successful career by this time, but also not even have a job. I assume that I may be unaware of what I do to others, at times I believe they are jealous of me and do it because of it. I would greatly appreciate your input on my problem. I understand it is almost impossible to an someone from a few lines, but I believe you could at least give me some advice and direction to go to to live like a normal person and enjoy my life which has so far been impossible.

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Answer:

The quality of our early relationships with parental figures mostly sets the tone of our adult intimate relationships. You have suffered a series of losses: the loss of your mother as a young adult, the absence of a nurturing relationship with your father, and then the loss of that relationship entirely, and the loss of your marriage. While we all know that the chances of divorce are pretty high when we go into marriage, it always seems to take us by surprise when it happens to us. A secondary blow regarding your marriage is the blow to your self-esteem as a desirable woman – how desirable could you be (you might be saying to yourself) if my husband leaves me for a woman who is both physically unappealing and morally bankrupt. I could see how these experiences may have left you believing that you are doomed to lose close relationships. I also get the sense that you are blaming yourself for these losses – as though there was something you did that caused these relationships to die. Sometimes, when we come to believe that we are abandonable, we simply decide that we will stop playing the game; stop doing things to try to make new relationships happen, and stop treating other people with respect (because why bother – they will just hurt me/leave me anyway). I get the sense you might have gone in this sort of direction – that you might be chronically depressed as a result of all this stress, and your lack of positive interactions (or belief that positive interactions are possible and sustainable).

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p> There is hope for you; of this I’m fairly certain. What you’ll want to do will be to help you to raise up your mood, to help you examine and question your beliefs about intimate relationships, to help you understand better how you come across to others. Taking these steps will help you to better understand why you’ve become so hopeless sounding, and so stuck – and it will help you to have the motivation to take the concrete steps necessary to expand your social horizons. I’ll suggest that you visit with your doctor and describe your mood to her, your discouragement and lack of hope, etc. Ask if an antidepressant medication might be something useful and safe for you. There are a number of good and pretty safe medicines out there today that can help with depressed mood symptoms. Such medicines don’t fix your outlook – but they do help raise your emotional ‘floor’ so that you don’t get as discouraged. Next, I’d recommend you get yourself into weekly psychotherapy with a professional therapist – either a cognitive therapist or an ‘interpersonal’ therapist. You seem in need of social support, you might benefit from learning how your thoughts influence your emotional life, and you might benefit from being able to learn how you come across to others. A good therapist can provide these important learning experiences and more. It will be somewhat costly and I know you are saying that you don’t have employment right now. Do this as soon as you can find a way to afford it; it will be a major investment in the quality of the rest of your life. And if you don’t get along with the first therapist you choose, don’t just run away from the process. Either stick it out with the therapist and try and learn why you want to flee (sometimes a good therapist will uncover themes we don’t want to face and we can run away when we should be sticking around to deal with them), or find a new therapist with whom you can get along better. Finally, I think you might do well to look into finding ways to join groups so that you can meet people. You seem starved for intimate human contact, and you might be able to make a few friends if you were to do some volunteer work or join community groups. Good luck.

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Comments
  • Anonymous-1

    Please allow yourself some time to change. It won't happen overnight. Patterns are difficult to alter. cognitive therapy will help. Do you know an older relative(female) or friend whose behavior and style of relating seem sucessful or that you admire? Perhaps you could approach this person and see if they're willing to mentor you in a time frame that is comfortable for them. Also there are many on-line listings of groups to join. It's just hard to take that step. Know that there are many who struggle with problems similar to yours(like myself) it's an ongoing thing to keep trying. Hang in there. good luck.

  • I can relate

    May I recommend becoming actively involved in church? I am the exact same way and because I embraced what God offered to me, I was lifted from my despare. It does not take much effort and the only cost involved would be gas in the car to get to church. I am disappointed the doctor recommended medication. This is never good advice!

    Good luck!

  • Anonymous-2

    This is bull shite, this guy was an a$$ hole. You may not be around people because you are hurt and need to heal... Often that is difficult because people around us are completely insensitive. It is not there fault, they have there own set of inner stuff to work on, they can not do all the things you need them to do to make you happy, especially cause they do not know what that is if you have not defined it for yourself or redefined it after bad things happen. You are a well- educated person who needs to spend some time on her self. A good person who is lucky that you got out of that bad situation even if you did not get to chose the time and play or circumstance. Be happy that phase of your life is over. It was crappy.

    Now, what are some things good people do? Maybe get involved with volunteering, work a secondary job and do not worry about education level, get to know people, stay laid back, if they ask you to go out to happy hours, do not worry about your hair or makeup or size, just go and have a good time. Go to the gym, I so was ready for this step but if you do not want to spend money on the gym, find an activity partner and find a nearby park or walking area to visit during lunch and even after work. This will make a big difference in you life and it is free. Check out meetin.org it is by city and it is not hookups just friendship related (group activities). If you have the means, go to a movie or join a group. Do not cancel outings, in fact buy a couple of outfits at old navy to play in, you are good with money? Treat yourself to a dress and something new like a scarf. I have been trying to walk myself there is a big difference when I do not, just put it that way. Otherwise, you could pay someone who will get you to the point where you empower yourself to get out and do things that make you happy. Remember, men like women who can work beside them, learn something kewl like golf, the ranges are open year round. I think it is less than $10 to practice and this price can be shared with an activity partner.

    I am too determined not to stay in my current situation or to let it linger on forever playing endless games. Write down what you are looking for in friendships, professional interpersonal relationships, and a love interest. Just write down 5 things. Then write down 5 things you want to do, I mean alone and shared. Then do them. Your confidence will soar believe when I did not think I could get my buttocks up this one hill in my neighborhood but somehow I did it. Make sure you invest a dog, not too young and not too big but friendly. It will not slow you down in fact it will make you have to get out of the house.

    The problem with living is that sometimes we think so hard about what we want, we forget what we need. Those needs are on auto-pilot backlogging us. Believe me do 3 or 4 things you have been meaning to do and half of your stress will work itself out. When people see you working out, they notice you doing something good for yourself. They know that is a very good sign that you care about yourself. It is not the whole of who you are but it is an outward sign to the world that most people like seeing and knowing. I am not there yet but I am going to start making my list. Good luck!

  • Korea

    I share the story close to yours. I lost my mother, I don't talk to my father. In my social group I know there are people who just dont like me, whatever I say is wrong to them but when said by someone else it is acceptable. Some of my relatives dont like me. The father of my child broke up with me and is not supporting my child but supports the child that is not his of his current girlfriend. I love myself and I accepted that this is who I am. Slogan: Rather love me for the person that I am than to love me for the person that I am not. If somebody loves you they will also have the wisdom to accept things that they cannot change. What keeps me going is that I know that God loves me. Believe me not everyone hates you, even if there is only one person who loves you that is something. Please smile and initiate a discussion with anyone.

  • Anonymous-3

    you have started a new life. Embrace and only worry about your self. Do you. Who cares about people and what they think. At the end it never matters anyway. What you think and what you want are most important. When you are positive and act positive people are attracted to that.

  • Anonymous-4

    I understand from what you were trying to convey is every aspect in your life isn't at it's best and there isn't anything that reinforces you to get through the day positively. I highly suggest that you engage in activities you're interested in. Have something you believe in so much, something you love, this will push you to do things more positively, will lead to positive interactions with people whom you things in common with and eventually you'll have people around you who care about you and you care about them. If this doesn't work the first time, try again. By striving to have a better life, you will have a better one.

  • Anonymous

    I am so impressed with the doctor's advice. He listed several reasons why you could feel down right now. He really listened to each one of your griefs. And responded to them. All the negative things that happened to you are the current story of your life.

    You can change the story of your life. I need to do this exact same thing. It is easy to keep living your story. It is hard to break out and make a new story for yourself. But that is what everyone is suggesting. I do see a therapist and today this is exactly what we talked about. Possiblle volunteer work. We also discussed how I am learning to handle people who deliberately try to provoke a response from others. And how to hold my own ground after being a push over most of my life. That will also help me make a new story for myself. We all have our struggles.

    I do have to agree with one person that meds are kind of a disappointment. I personally found that talk therapy has helped me the most. It is real. It is about working with the problems. I tried medication and it was a total waste.

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