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Sarah
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience:  Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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I hate myself so much I just want to disappear. What do you

Customer Question

I hate myself so much I just want to disappear. What do you say to someone who was hated and abused by her parents, never loved by anyone for being herself and has absolutely no friends. I had hope when I was younger, but now I struggle every moment of every day. If no one else likes me, how can I like myself.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.

Brad The Therapist :

Thank you for your question. Before providing an answer, please tell me more about yourself. How would you describe your current accomplishments?

Customer:

Honestly I don't feel bad about my accomplishments as much as my inability to form trusting relationships, but to answer your question...currently I'm a stay at home mom/caregiver and I have two overachieving daughters who are age 20 (just finished 2nd year of college at an elite school) and 17 who is currently finishing her junior year of high school.

Customer:

The reason I'm a stay at home mom is because my youngest daughter had a rare cancer at age 2 and I quit to care for her. The doctors told me her best chance of survival and quality of life would be a full time caregiver who can really watch her until she's fully grown. This was not what I had in mind, but I have no regrets because she most likely wouldn't be doing this well without a full time caregiver.

Customer:

?

Expert:  Penny Rayas, MFT replied 3 years ago.
I am sorry about the abuse from your parents. It makes it hard to feel lovable when the people who are there to love and protect you don't. I think you need to learn how to love yourself first. Just Imagen yourself as a small child and take your own self in your arms. Please visualize that daily giving love to the abused part of you. You deserve it. Writing affirmations such as I am lovable and loved and repeating them in the mirror helps. Take yourself on dates and commit to love yourself. Make a commitment to your self in writing. It takes time to gain self esteem. Stand in frond of the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.
thank you for your response. I applaud you for committing yourself to be the mother your daughters needed. Ib my line of work, I often time see parents not step up. Why do you hate yourself?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Penny, First I need to mention that I recently read my childhood medical records and the abuse was much worse than I could remember. It does explain the unexplained scars on my body. It was all done by my mother and it looks like my father didn't know what to do with me. I was even left at a hospital for 3 weeks with no visitors and the nurses notes said they didn't know if social services should be called. It looks like I had several shorter hospital stays with no visitors. My dad always signed me out. I have(had) 4 siblings...oldest brother is 22 years older than me, sister 18 years older than me, sister(deceased 5 years ago) 14 years older than me and brother 12 years older than me. They saw me as a nuisance and I still feel that way with them. They only include me in things if they need me to do something for the event. For the last 12 years I haven't lived near any of them.

 

I've tried all the things you mentioned, but it hasn't worked. I have several gratitude journals, quotes and affirmations all over my house. My husband of 25 years used to sabotage all my efforts until about the last 6 months and now I'm just worn out. When I look in the mirror, I see a very tired unhappy person who has no one to share conversation with. All I've ever heard is that "you get back what you give out". I know I'm giving all the wrong signals so I want to find out what they are so possibly I can fix them and have friends. I really do care about people, but I know that doesn't get across except for with my children. As far as "give and you will receive", well I have overdone that one to no avail. I'm even having a graduation party at my house this weekend for two of my daughters friends. I offered the house because they are raised by single mothers who live in small apartment/house. When I offered the house almost a year ago, I thought these mothers were my friends, but as I'm finding out I'm simply a close aquaintance.

 

Brad, For me accomplishing things is not the difficult part. I've been on my own since 16, working 39 hours in high school while still graduating top of my class and active at school. I worked 3 jobs while going to college full time and I graduated with highest honors at a large university. I was one of the most sought after candidates upon graduation and I worked for many fantastic organizations, moved up quickly and made fantastic money. When my daughter was diagnosed, everyone including my husband, our families and local doctors said we need to accept the fact she would only live about a year, but I researched(no internet back then) and called all over the country and took her to the doctor who pioneered the treatment and today she's a happy and healthy teenager. While staying at home with my kids was not what I had in mind, I made the most of it and I actually love every minute with them. I became busy volunteering and I'm also known as a "go to" person to get things done well (I'm detailed, creative, and organized). See, accomplishing things is not a problem, but what I'm finding is accomplishments mean nothing without friends to share life with. Even though I talk to my daughters everyday, they are busy with their own lives and I am Mom and friend to them, but I need friends closer to my age to share things with that would be ackward or maybe even inappropriate with my daughters. Keeping busy isn't and hasn't worked for me. It just exhausts me. The more I'm around other people, I have to hear about them making lunch plans with each other or the fun event they went to over the weekend or the friends they got together with. In almost everything I have done for the past 25 years, I get left out. I used to think it was just an oversight, but recently I found out a group of mothers I'm with often for an organization at my daughters school get together often for breakfast or lunch. Everyone is included except me and they even talked about it in front of me without inviting me. Social networks don't help either. Actually I think facebook has made me feel worse about myself. When my older daughter was 16, she wanted a facebook account because she was living away from home performing with a prestigious ballet company and she wanted to stay in contact with her friends here. I agreed, but told her we both needed an account so I could keep an eye on things. Fast forward to today and now everyone(people my age) has a facebook page with lots of friends. I don't have many friends and something I'm noticing is that the friends I do have don't respond to my statuses or photos or anything. I especially hate my birthday because I get very few posts. I have considered closing the account, but I like to see the photos of my daughters. Also, my daughter in college tells me to look on her page to see things she's involved in, etc.

 

 

I don't know why I hate myself, but I do. I never want my picture taken, I'm completely uncomfortable in social situations (and we used to be very social) and I don't know who I am. I'm afraid if I really find out who I really am, I'll see what other people see and I'll realize that although I thought I was a good kind person, I'm really awful. All I know is that at my age I should know who I am and I should have developed at least a few close relationships. My husband and I are going to separate in a year and my youngest will be off to college so I will really be alone. Plus, I'll need to find a job and start a new life and I don't really want to live anymore. I know I won't be missed. I will have done everything I need to do for my daughters

Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.
thank you for being very open about your current situation. It seem as though you are in a middle of a transition where daughter will be off to college, craving social contact, and separating from your husband. As you said, you lost touch of who you are, and your identity/role as a mother is changing as well. Now that you are considering a career, what are your goals for the future? After your response, I will provide more suggestions and the reason why I have been focusing on your accomplishments.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

I have no goals. The days of me being a high powered executive are over. I'm simply too old. I've interviewed for a few positions and talked on the phone with many others and I found that I'm likely to make less money than I did when I graduated from college, no one cares what you did as a mother/caregiver/volunteer, and I honestly don't desire the same profession I had. I've considered a career change and there are things I like, but I would need to go back to school and my husband won't pay for that and I can't make enough money on my own to pay for it. My age is an issue there too since the return on investment is low.

 

I know you have a reason for staying on accomplishments, but really I have learned that accomplishments really mean nothing. Obviously, I'm going to need to make a living, but the inital happiness of "job well done" fades quickly. When my daughter was dying, all the accomplishments in the world couldn't save her, but the help of people could and did.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I should add that I think I've been accomplishing things to validate my existance. I want to feel like me just "being" is enough and enough for other people too.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.
you are correct, you are one third there. There is a theory where behaviors - thinking - feeling all overlap and if you can change one of them, the others will follow. In your case, you have a thought that you hate yourself, so you feel sad and lonely leading to not pursuing any goals. If you decide to pursue a goal (behavior), your thoughts about yourself may change, changing your feelings of sadness to happiness.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

This is the first time in my entire 47 years that I don't have a very full list of dreams and goals. My goals (behaviors) in the past have only lead to very short term happiness (usually just shortly after I achieve something) and then I'm back to lonliness and loathing myself. I've had three therapists in my life. The first one I saw for about 6 weeks when I was in my twenties and it was for a very specific family issue. She was helpful at that time. The second was a marriage councelor I saw with my husband back in the early 1990's. After many sessions, she told me to get out of the abusive relationship (he pretty much took over the abuse I received from my mother). The third one was in the early 2000's and she just kept telling me to pray about it and get involved and friendships would eventually develop. I saw her over two months and consider that a very expensive lesson in how to chose the wrong therapist.

 

I see where you are going with all this, but I think you need to consider my age and the fact that I have had a lot of life experiences. I know pursuing a goal will not lead to happiness, at least not for me. I need to change the way I approach people and how to develop lasting relationships. I've obviously missed that lesson in kindergarten or from my parents/family. My children have a lot of friends. I think they have friends for a few reasons...one, they know they are always loved unconditionally by their parents, two, they always have and support each other, three, we (my husband and I) taught them how to treat people and they had the comfort of trying and failing at relationships with always having the knowledge that it's okay because I have a family who loves me. I need to figure out what I'm doing that turns people off. I know retired people tresure the time the spend with family and friends over getting a hole in one during their golf game or getting an award for being the best consultant or volunteer. If I'm lonely now, can you imagine how I'll feel after retirement!

 

I see that you've been a therapist for 8 years so I'm guessing you are younger than me. Would it be better if a therapist who is either closer to my age or has more years of experience help me?

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Actually I have goals. My goals are to end my suffering, have friends who I can call to go to dinner or a movie with or share a funny story with or cry with when their pet dies, etc., and find happiness, health and balance in my life.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.
great! Now let's discuss how to accomplish these goals. What can you do to make friends? What types of activities can you participate in to be happy?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I have tried to make friends by getting involved in various activities and organizations, but what I end up with is people just wanting things from me and not wanting to spend time with me. I'm way past looking for activities to make me happy.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.
career wise, if you could do anything, what would that be?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Really? Are you really asking me this? What if I tell you I want to be a ballet dancer or an olympic athlete. Would you tell me to go train heavily so "all my dreams can come true"? I'm old enough and wise enough to know that a career is not going to bring me ultimate happiness. No one on their death beds says, "I wish I worked more hours at a job I loved".

 

I want to know how to gain strong personal relationships with people. I'm obviously doing something wrong.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Relist: Inaccurate answer.
Brad thinks happiness comes from a career. I know that is not true, at least not for me. My question has to do with gaining friendships and working on why I hate myself so much. If it was as simple as having a fullfilling career, then I would have been and would be looking forward to being one of the happiest people on earth. I have and could accomplish a lot, but I'm lonely and uncomfortable with myself and that's what I need help on.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.

To gain strong personal relationships with people, I urge you to think about a friendship or relationship you had in the past that you thought was fulfilling. How did you meet? What are the qualities of the other person that you enjoyed? How did you develop this relationship? Why did the relationship end? Do you feel that you judge people very quickly or dismiss them?

 

One of the reasons why I asked about careers is because this is where many adults make friendships from the people you work with. Similar to being in school as a child, work has similar social structures in place where you share differerent experiences with co-workers and have similar interests.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Most of my career I worked by myself in sales. The few friendships I had at work were not strong enough to do anything after work or on weekends. My husband wants me to go back into sales or open my own business, but both of these options are very isolating and will not produce friendships.

As for prior relationships, I don't have any. My strongest relationships were with people who only wanted me around to do something for them, like boyfriends, family members, co-workers, etc. When it came time to just hang out, I wasn't wanted or needed. I'm looking to build relationships based on just being together. I didn't have girlfriends in school. This lack of friends is not a new thing, but me wanting to end my life because of it is new.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.

There is a theory in psychology where thoughts, behaviors, and feelings are all interrelated. If you have thoughts that your relationships with acquittance are not strong enough so you don't invite them to hang out over the weekend, in turn making you feel bad or lonely. However, if you had these same thoughts and actually invited out these acquaintances to watch a movie or go shopping and they readily accept, your thoughts will change that they are strong enough to be your friend and you feel less lonely.

 

My point is that if you had a negative thought about friendships, relationships, career, etc, try changing the behaviors associated as this will change the thoughts and feelings.

 

To develop social relationships, I urge you to pursue activities that you will enjoy doing which may include working.

 

You mentioned that you do not have any relationships, but how would you describe your relationship with your husband?

 

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My problem is not finding people with similar interests. I know if I work in an office with a lot of people or volunteer or take an evening class or walk around my neighborhood, I will meet people. My problem is then what. I've invited endless number of people to dinner at my house, or a show (where I pay because I have an extra ticket) or whatever, but I don't get asked back. It's like I've been on a huge number of "first dates", but never called again. Obviously I'm doing something wrong. That's what I'm trying to figure out. What am I doing/saying wrong?! Because this has been going on so long, I am now so self conscience in any public setting that I just want to crawl in a hole. I used to be very social...lots of acquaintances, no real friends, but I'm now to the point of just giving up. I don't know what I'm showing to the public because I don't even know who I really am. I want to be that person someone calls to have a shoulder to cry on, celebrate a good day with, sit and chat over a glass of something with, etc.

My relationship with my husband has been mostly lonely. We got along while dating and before we had kids because he put up with my long hours of work and school and I liked how he had a lot of friends so I had somewhere to go on the weekend. He never wanted to listen to me and he pretty much just wanted a "pretty thing
on his arm". I was his first real girlfriend. He's chinese (i'm white and i modeled some in college) and was kind of like everyone's "little brother". After our first daughter was born, we were so wrapped up in her, home ownership,
And continuing his education and each of our careers that I didn't care if he truly loved me or listened to me. The beginning of the end was when I was pregnant with our second child and he increased his verbal abuse (now I realize it was always there). He was relentless with insults about my weight! To make matters worse, his parents lived with us for 6 weeks and insulted everything I did, said wore and ate. It was and is awful! FYI: I'm 5'6" tall and I weighed between108-112 not pregnant, between 122-138 pregnant so by doctor standards I was well within range for my height. The weight issued continued and still does today. He even comments on our daughters weights and I fight him fiercely about that! Anyway, the only thing we ever had in common was/is our daughters and we actually build 4 houses without killing each other. He never wanted/or wants to hear about my feelings and he thinks everyone should just think the exact way he does.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.
Before providing further recommendations, I am wondering what were expectation were for using this forum on your original question.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
My expectation was to get advise on how to figure out who I really am and why I'm not loved. As I said, I had hope when I was younger and I tried so many things that I thought would lead to friendship, but nothing worked. I know I let people use me and then toss me when they no longer need me leaving me in sadness. I need to stop the patterns and personality that's not working. I want help on how to figure out what's not working and approach people differently. Once I can figure out who I am and how I'm perceived, I might be able to develop friendships that go beyond acquaintances. Social situations have become a real anxiety for me so the last 5 years or so I only go to things I absolutely have to. I'm still real active with my daughter's activities and help at everything, but I don't attend pure social functions with those people. For example, a parent's organization I do a lot of work for is having their year end party next week. I go to all the meetings and help at all the events, but a pure social function like this frightens me. I will probably not go. At this point I'm so depressed that I think about suicide daily.

Does this answer your question? I've wanted to go see a therapist about this for years, but my husband doesn't believe in therapy and he won't pay for it.
Expert:  Brad The Therapist replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your response. Based on your response, I believe you identify yourself as a loving mother who will do anything to support your children. You are a devoted wife, dedicated to any tasks you set your mind to, and highly intelligent.

For recommendations, I encourage you to be gather up all the courage you have to attend the pure social function. Can you take your daughters to this event or is it strictly for parents? Will your husband go with you? I advise to do engage into activities you normally turn down such as this social function. You seem to be able to maintain a conversation and I urge you to watch the news, watch television, celebrity news, etc for a topic of conversation.

In terms of attending therapy and your husband paying for it, I urge you to contact your health insurance as most insurance have therapy as part of their plan. The original questions you have asked cannot be answered through this forum as few months of therapy is needed to resolve these issues.

If you found me helpful, please consider pressing the "accept" button. If not, I will opt out for other experts to answer your question.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
The function is only for adults. My husband embarrasses me at social functions making things worse.

The insurance company needs my husband's signature since he is the employee. I've tried doing it on my own. I realize this is a more complicated question than what you can normally answer on this forum, but I feel like I'm going to hit bottom soon and I didn't have anywhere else to turn. Please have other experts answer!

Thank you!
Expert:  Sarah replied 3 years ago.

Hi there,

 

I have read the above and would like to reply. It is absolutely vital for you to learn how to like yourself before you can allow others to do so and I am going to advise you on how to do this for yourself, although this will involve going to see a specialist therapist who can help you, as it isn't something that you will be able to tackle alone.

 

There are so many issues here to talk about. From when we are small, we interpret the environment and situations into beliefs about ourself and the world. If our environment is usually positive, this is great and sets us up quite positively for the future. However, if our experience is negative, then the beliefs and expectations of the world that we genuinely hold in our subconscious mind are also negative. Although our conscious mind tries to understand and to work things out, the power of the subconscious mind is very strong and does not allow us to develop more positively. Although we therefore long for what we didn't have as a child, we subconsciously re-produce in our older life what we had as a child, because, although it isn't positive, it is what we know and are comfortable with. It is therefore no surprise that after your abused childhood from your mother, that you chose the husband that you have. It is crucial that you find an EMDR therapist, who will help you to work through your past memories in order to release the negative emotions that are being held inside you and the beliefs and expectations about yourself and the world that you hold so strongly. This will allow you to become gentle and caring about yourself, and to see the world in a less skewed way. Then you will begin to know who you truly are, and eventually be able to share yourself with others in the friendships that you crave, and deserve. Have a look on www.emdr.com for much more information about EMDR and for a specialist in your area. Please feel free to reply. Best Wishes, Sarah

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Wow, thanks Sarah! This sounds like what I need.
Expert:  Sarah replied 3 years ago.
Do please consider pressing the accept button if you are happy with the answer. The great thing about EMDR is that you pass the memories through your mind without having to explain every detail to the therapist - although the therapist will ask you for your thoughts every now and then to ensure that you are on track. There are never any guarantees with any therapy, but this can be very powerful. It is used world wide in huge (big T) Traumas, such as tsunamis and earthquakes, as well as (small t) more personal traumas. No-one can tell others what constitutes a trauma, as it is always personal to the individual - which is why some people are traumatised by things that other people find quite acceptable. Best Wishes, Sarah
Sarah, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 143
Experience: Chart'd Psych, 12 yrs exp. English prisons, Clinical Hypnotherapist, EMDR Therapist, BPS, HPC reg'd.
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