Why is it so hard for me to believe?
That people genuinely like me? That they’re not plotting behind my back, conniving to make me look bad? Why is it my default setting that most people secretly hate me or think I’m weird or just don’t tolerate me well, but they’re just being polite and are too well trained to be honest about their real feelings for me?
I know these people like me. My boss is a genuine person with a suuuper generous heart, so if she says she likes something, she likes it. Most people don’t outright hate anybody, unless you ran over their cat or something.
I sometimes think this is a serious neurosis. I am constantly putting out feelers of approval – not actively seeking it, but requesting feedback, asking opinions on stuff, etc. My marriage has suffered at times because I have let myself get walked all over trying to please him, which doesn’t make anybody happy, walker or walkee.
Yes, I’ve been burned before; my dad will give and take his approval on a drunken whim. I had instances in both middle school and high school where people I thought were my friends turned on me and unceremoniously dumped me (or in one case with quite a bit of ceremony). My previous boss I know was convinced nobody could do anything right, no matter how awesome they (myself) were. I’ve worked in bureaucratic jobs pretty much my entire career, where nooooobody ever yells or says anything mean to anybody else, they’re just passive aggressive about it.
But those are all fairly typical life events, right? It seems like everybody’s got a horror story from middle school, and an unapproving parent or grandparent.
So why is it so much tougher for me to shake this idea that nobody likes me?