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