Posted by: Jan | 2004/01/22

Immaturity in my fifties

This is not new behaviour. It's just that I thought I would have got over it by now. In all other respects I am a capable, well-rounded and functioning 50-something adult, but there must be something wrong somewhere.. Whenever I meet someone new, whether I like them or not (and vice versa) I put myself down terrribly and seem compelled to confess to some or other stupid item of behaviour. I suspect that the more I respect them the worse I paint myself. Heaven knows I don't want to attract attention, nor make myself look bad, so why on earth do I do it?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Dear Jan, sounds less like immaturity, and more like lack of self-confidence in respect of relationships. And when unsure of what to do in an opportnity for a relationship with someone new, it can be easier to repeat one's earlier, even teenage techniques, even if they have never worked well, rather than make the effort to improve one's tactics.
For whatever reason, maybe often because we were trained inadvertently as kids and adolescents by parents and/or teachers who, maybe planning to prevent us from becoming Big-headed, instead made us "Small-Headed", but teaching us exaggerated self-criticism and mistrust of our own attractiveness and abilities. This, as in Belinda's example, too, becomes a habit. Fortunately, such habits can be changed, in counselling, which is particularly well adapted to the projecvt of "understanding ME". And in the context of counselling, one can plan and monitor useful and interesting exercises in increasing one's self-esteem and sociable skills, such as accepting complements as well as giving them.
This is typical of the sort of patern of habitual behaviour one might develop gradually, which is really unhelpful, but which, fortunately, one can unlearn, with the help of a shrink.

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Our users say:
Posted by: ALSO TALENTED | 2004/01/23

This is real - a person in near fifties feel they most compete with the younger generation.
you must accept who you are - and yes - if some one praises you, say "thank You" - i tried my best - or I did my best -- and yes take the praise..
if your hair looks good - say thank you..i thought i'll go for a new style.
ther resaon you are like that is because you mean it when you sya to some one they look good..

Posted by: Belinda | 2004/01/22

I'd love to hear the Shrink's reaction to this, because with me this seems to be a "personality trait". I can't accept a compliment -- I must belittle myself or my achievements. If someone tells me I look good, I tell them not to be silly, I'm overweight or my hair looks awful. I am well-educated, talented and creative ... but I can only confess to that here where I am anonymous!! In company I would deny that I am capable of anything worthwhile. I shrink in embarrassment when I'm praised. Yet I have a strong personality and must confess also that my husband and I often have spats and I can really be strong-willed and hard-headed. So I do not understand ME ...

I often read this forum, but have had no personal problems, really, and cannot offer advice to anyone. It's the first time I've come across someone with the same problem I have!

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