What comes over very clearly in your excellent exposition of your present difficulties is that for almost all of your life you have felt that you were inadequate in many areas of your life.
Much of your parental interaction has, I think, been the start of this process, and your parents’ apparent dismissiveness of your self perception has simply reinforced the difficulty.
You now seem to be caught in a web of negative thinking, and self deceit. You continue to tell yourself how useless you are a lot of the time, so how do you get out of this.
I think the approach has to be two-fold. Firstly, you need to understand a few basic truths about your rights as an ordinary, yet unique individual.
This Bill of Rights was one of the tools used by Virginia Satir, a well-known family therapist. Containing some really basic psychological rights belonging to every person, it really helps to identify and deal with areas in which we have problems.
Read the statements. Note down any immediate thoughts or feelings that come to you and analyze them later.
1. I do not have to feel guilty just because someone else does not like what I
do, say, think or feel.
2. It is OK for me to feel angry and to express it in responsible ways.
3. I do not have to assume full responsibility for making decisions, particularly where others share responsibility for making the decisions.
4. I have the right to say "I don't understand" without feeling stupid or guilty.
5. I have the right to say NO.
6. I have the right to say No without feeling guilty.
7. I do not have to apologize or give reasons when I say NO.
8. I have the right to refuse requests which others make of me.
9. I have the right to tell others when I think they are manipulating, conning, or treating me unfairly.
10. I have the right to refuse additional responsibilities without feeling guilty.
11. I have a right to tell others when their behaviour annoys me.
12. I do not have to compromise my personal integrity.
13. I have a right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. I have a right to be wrong.
14. I do not have to be liked, admired, or respected by everyone for everything I do.
It may seem simplistic, but in fact, this Bill of Rights is essentially valid for everyone.
Now it’s ok to understand that on a logical level, but what is much more important is to start to put it into practice, and for that reason, I’m going to suggest that you would benefit from some Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.
So far, you have done an excellent job of analysis, but now you need some unbiased, non-judgemental assistance to get real clarity about what you might do to move on from here.
CBT is based on the fact that what we think in any given situation generates beliefs about, and reactions to that situation, and also causes the behaviour and feelings which flow from those beliefs and reactions.
These ‘automatic thoughts’ are so fast that generally, we are unaware that we have even had them. We call them ANTS (automatic negative thoughts) for short.
If the pattern of thinking we use, or our beliefs about our situation are even slightly distorted,
the resulting emotions and actions that flow from them can be extremely negative and unhelpful. The object of CBT is to identify these ‘automatic thoughts’ then to re-adjust our thoughts and beliefs so that they are entirely realistic and correspond to the realities of our lives, and that therefore, the resulting emotions, feelings and actions we have will be more useful and helpful.
Cognitive therapists do not usually interpret or seek for unconscious motivations but bring cognitions and beliefs into the current focus of attention and through guided discovery encourage clients to gently re-evaluate their thinking.
Therapy is not seen as something “done to” the client. CBT is not about trying to prove a client wrong and the therapist right, or getting into unhelpful debates. Through collaboration, questioning and re-evaluating their views, clients come to see for themselves that there are alternatives and that they can change.
Clients try things out in between therapy sessions, putting what has been learned into practice, learning how therapy translates into real life improvement.
Please visit this website for much more detailed information on CBT:
If you cannot afford to see a therapist, there are good free CBT based self-help resources here:
Also, there is a book called ”Feeling good - the new mood therapy” by Dr. David Burns. It has a hand book which gives you practical exercises to work through and further instructions on how to better use CBT. I really do recommend it.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Workbook for Dummies By Rhena Branch, Rob Willson is also pretty good.
I’d also like to make the following comments – whatever happened when you were a child happened because of poor parenting. You did not have the skills, understanding or the means to influence the outcome. I am sure that your parents, loving people as they are, did what they thought was right, but sadly, it was not, and now your mother simply refuses to contemplate that as a possibility – it’s her way of justifying her failings as a parent.
You come over clearly as a person who is well liked and well thought of, and yet you effectively dismiss compliments by demeaning them. If someone says you are beautiful, are you suggesting that they are too stupid to make that judgement? To people you are smart, beautiful and talented. Please do them the kindness of accepting their opinion of you!
If you would like anymore information, just ask.
Best wishes, NormanM