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So many people dislike me

  • 25-04-2022 4:23pm
    Registered Users Posts: 11

    So, you might think the title is probably misplaced but the reality is so hard to come to terms with, sometimes I just can’t stand to think about it. I am married with 3 kids, I think I am a good parent. That’s where the positives really end though. From my early days I always had a bit of a paranoia about people and that manifested in later life as social anxiety. I used to have a lot of friends, now I have very few. Along with that though, I had some character traits that I am not proud of and it seems once you give a first impression, that’s it for life. This has had an impact on both my working life and personal life. To give you an example, 20 years ago I worked for a company that was predominantly women. I got a reputation first as been a bit of a messer but then after I got a second contract, I was moved to a different team and got a reputation as a bit of a creep among a specific group of women. It was probably deserved. I did look and ogle other women but that’s as far as it went. My boss even started this thing whereby when she would walk past me she would start waving her hands behind her backside just to let me know if I dared even look in her direction. I believe someone else at the same company was reported for staring at a woman’s breasts. Anyways, it caused me to lose a 3rd contract because of that boss. Fast forward to today and it turned out that a neighbour I had become friendly with was a brother-in-law of one the women in that team and well, that was that. Another example is that I often go to a bar near my parents house when we are celebrating something and there is a group of people who I feel uncomfortable around. Again, my fault in that I was always inconsistent in saluting people so now there is this thing whereby if I’m at the bar I notice that they will stare a bit. I would like to salute and say hello but I feel at this stage it would be hypocritical so I go into my shell and keep the head down. So you can imagine what they think. Another example is that one of the main factors in my anxiety is having a very red face, bit of rosacea, and being very self-conscious of it to the extent that I have even used light cover cream to try and tone it down. This of course backfired. When I worked at a different company, I was sitting in the canteen one day and there was a group of women sitting at the next table. First, without warning, one turned around and stared directly at me, then a minute later, they all turned and just stared at me. I just wanted to die. I don't think I went to the canteen much after that and felt very isolated at that company. As a final example, I met some other neighbours in a cinema once and was just chatting briefly but the next time I met them was at an open event for our kids’ school and I tried to chat to them again, the wife made short conversation but the husband just completely blanked me and this has happened with a few people. Like, I’d say something if I was nasty to my wife and kids but this cold shoulder from different people wears you down. Maybe it is something else I am not aware of, I don’t know. Just wondering if anyone can relate to what I am talking about and any advice on how to undo the damage I have done? 



  • Registered Users Posts: 88 ✭✭lea26

    I think you may be overthinking things slightly. People are very self involved these days so unless you are already a friend they tend to not bother with others. I've also had people suddenly stop saying hello ( family members even), I know I haven't done anything to upset anyone so it's their issue to deal with and nothing I can do about it.

    All you can do is consistently be polite to people you meet, if they chose not to respond to your hello then it just shows them up to be rude. The right people for you will respond . Don't overthink it .

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,702 ✭✭✭zoobizoo

    Your Social Anxiety needs to be tackled as it is colouring every interaction that you have with people - that's what it does and there's no escaping it.

    I doubt that it's that people dislike you (well, apart from those who witnessed your creeping but it's time to put that behind you now - it was 20 YEARS ago - if you'd been done for murder back then you'd be out of prison for it by now) and it's more that you are reading too much into other people's reactions or lack of reactions to you.

    It's your interpretation - not reality.

    You'll always have people who you'll ignore through life - you just have to learn how to deal with it. I see old school 'mates' around - I nod and move on if they weren't people I spoke to in school.

    You need to be able to counteract your overthinking and your negative thinking. CBT can help and a book : I recommend seeing a psychologist & having a read of David Burns "The Feeling Good Handbook" which gives practical advice and exercises that will build your confidence when you're in these situations.

    You will only conquer this by tackling it head on and getting yourself out there and challenging yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,035 ✭✭✭chicorytip

    Rosacea is a condition that can be treated very successfully. As a first step you should speak to your GP who should be able to refer you to a consultant dermatologist with expertise in this particular area. It can indeed be a very debilitating condition causing feelings of extreme self-consciousness in sufferers but need not be a permanent affliction.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Limericklad142

    Thanks to all who have commented and made very positive suggestions. Yes, I have been to the GP about this condition and have tried several prescription creams to no avail, one actually made it worse. I haven't been referred to a dermatologist but maybe that is the next step.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,702 ✭✭✭zoobizoo

    Is the redness physical or mental?

    As in, do you go red due to feeling embarrassed and anxious or are you always red and you feel self conscious about it?

    Having suffered Social Anxiety for many years, the thoughts of people seeing my embarrassed red face made me extremely anxious about being in social situations, be that meeting with friends in a bar, walking up the town, being on a train and sitting opposite someone.

    It permeated every day and it feeds off itself.

    It's been many years since I've felt like that and I understand how difficult it makes one's ife.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Limericklad142

    Thanks for your reply. Yes I can relate to all of that. The redness is definitely physical. It's especially worse when I am out of my comfort zone. I can usually manage fine when doing things locally like going food shopping although I do avoid shops with high lighting and lots of mirrors (clothes shops and the like). I don't do coffee shops or anything like that for the same reason. My father has a very high redness so I guess there is a genetic aspect to it. My sister also has it to a certain extent but she can wear makeup so you don't even notice it.

    I work from home and have even avoided going to some online meetings because you get tired of the double-looks you get from some people. I am also travelling to another country next month for work so also a bit anxious about that.

    How did you overcome it?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,702 ✭✭✭zoobizoo

    Basically I went travelling on my own in my mid 20s which took me out of my comfort zone and forced me into social situations that I would have avoided for years...... ie, being on my own in social situations. If I hadn't worked out how to survive/ cope, I wouldn't have talked to anyone for weeks. And it was basically saying hello to strangers and starting conversations that lead me to believe I could do it.

    On ny return after a year I then began working for myself in a position where I was forced to engage with hundreds of people every month which fed my confidence.

    I stopped beating myself up aswell over those small interactions with people I half knew.....

    And that book I recommended was a big help.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,035 ✭✭✭chicorytip

    Referral to a dermatologist is the only option. Applying face creams or anti-redness moisturisers is a waste of time and money. Photorejuvenation or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light), as it's more commonly called, is the only effective treatment for the condition. I can speak with some authority on the subject being a sufferer myself. Unfortunately, this treatment is only available privately - not in the public health system - and is expensive, approximately two thousand euro in total for the initial consultation and a full course of treatment. In severe cases up to six sessions are usually necessary. I can PM you the details of the consultant I attended if you wish. This treatment could have a transformative effect on your life for the better.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,325 ✭✭✭cuttingtimber22

    Genuinely - might be an idea to just care less.

    Concentrate on yourself and your own family. And remember that everyone has some skeletons in the closet - we have all done something that in hindsight we are not proud about (I don’t mean illegal).

  • Registered Users Posts: 569 ✭✭✭CrookedJack

    OP I think it would be worth speaking to a counsellor to try to examine your feelings about yourself. You certainly don't sound like you particularly like who you are and are very critical of yourself.

    Self-esteem issues can play greatly into social anxiety and paranoia, which can generate a terrible feedback loop of you feeling self conscious -> then acting weird -> then people treating you strangely -> you feeling more self-conscious.

    A bit of compassion for yourself will allow you to more easily shrug off any social faux-pas, which in turn will encourage others to do the same.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 23 LunaIsMyUsername

    You can get laser genesis, IPL or Limelight for the rosacea and it will clear it up & wear a SPF 30 specifically for your face all year around. It has to be specifically for your face as the ingredients in a body spf will be too greasy, heavy and possibly irritating, making your rosacea worse. You could also go to your gp and get solantra & rosex, two medical creams specifically for spf but id suggest seeing a dermatologist or go to a good skin clinic first.

    It also sounds like you need to go to a good trauma informed therapist to help you work through your social anxiety.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,121 ✭✭✭screamer

    Rosacea- head to your doctor and get that sorted, ditto your social anxiety

    20 years ago stuff- move on you’ve learned your lesson

    group of people in the pub- buy them a drink quietly and gave it sent over

    people who don’t or won’t speak with you- happens to everyone, you need to get comfortable in your own skin. In my case, I couldn’t care less I don’t need nor crave friends, and my attitude is Fock them too

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,724 ✭✭✭sporina

    I am wondering if the problem is actually psychological? Could, shame you now feel about your "ogling" in the past, possibly be the reason why you go so red now when you meet people? just throwing it out there..?

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Limericklad142

    Thanks for your comment but no, the social anxiety (and going red) has been with me at least since I was about 12. My first strong memories of it are when I used to go to mass in the local church and being quite tall, stood out. There were 2 aisles and they were almost facing each other and I used to go puce red every Sunday as soon as I stood up, never know why I kept going and kept putting myself through that week after week. I managed to keep it under wraps in my mid to late 20s but then it started to come out again. Our family would always meet up once a week at my parents house for dinner and again for no specific reason, I would start getting red, feeling self-conscious, etc. It got to the point where even my own mother noticed and said that I didn't need to come if I didn't want to. That's just one example, it happened in many other settings also.

    As I mentioned previously, I can manage a lot better now (in terms of the facial redness), especially working at home and being in my comfort zone. The thing is, I can't stay in my comfort zone forever whether it's because the kids are involved in an activity or whether I need to travel for work (which is happening in a few weeks). The other issues, i.e. the holes that I have dug for myself are things that I will just have to live with and keep trying to make all future interactions with people I meet, positive ones. Like what has already being pointed out, I can't change the past.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,724 ✭✭✭sporina

    @Limericklad142 fair enough.. in any event - there seems to be a psychological element to your problem - don't you think? have you tried counselling? working on your self esteem? could be worth a shot - like you said - you don't wanna have to stay at home for ever.. and looks like you can't anyway what with the kids and work..

  • Registered Users Posts: 337 ✭✭NiceFella

    Hi OP,

    In my opinion it's not that other people don't like you, it's more that you don't like yourself. It's very difficult to like anyone who does not like themselves.

    In social scenarios you sound like you are almost apologising for existing. Thats not good. They're your feelings, you need to understand them and feel them and not apologize for them. But most importantly master them.

    Whatever it is, it sounds like it's been harboring you for a long time. And I do think you 100% need to see a counselor to help you explore it. It won't go away in a day. You will need to really get to the root of it and talking to a good counselor will be worth all the money in the world to you.

    As for people who treat you badly before, screw em. Many people are full of themselves. I wouldn't be bothered with em. They live some of the most humorless lives imaginable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,777 ✭✭✭Patsy167

    At 20, you care what everyone is thinking about you. At 40, you don't give a damn what people are thinking about you. At 60, you realize no one is thinking about you.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,098 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    I had a work colleague very successfully treated this way for this condition.

    Nothing Known Talent Management Ltd

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,098 ✭✭✭✭recode the site

    OP, have you been assessed for autistic spectrum disorder, just that people with an element of that can have difficulty reading other people and it can cause an awful lot of self doubt. Worth considering talking to a professional psychologist about this.

    Nothing Known Talent Management Ltd

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,853 ✭✭✭Spudmonkey

    Think you are definitely over-thinking some things there. I can relate to some of the issues you're talking about. At times I've felt very uncomfortable in social situations and other times, I'm more than comfortable. When I was in the workplace, lunchtime would sometimes be painful to me. I'd feel there was pressure on me to be a certain way and I'd go in a spiral in my head. Other times it was effortless and I could have stayed there for hours. I've tried to nail down what the reason for it was in particular but could never really figure it out. I know it was for the most part a combination of my own head playing with me and the company I was keeping.

    Regarding getting the cold shoulder from people, some people just are odd at times with no real reason for why they might behave a certain way. Suffice to say its more than likely something going on in their head rather than an opinion they'd have of you. I'd assume that some people would say the same about me, chatty sometimes, quiet others. In my case its more just down to how I'm feeling at a given time and nothing to do with the other person.

    Think as lea26 said above, just be nice and friendly to people and they'll respond to it. If they don't its their problem. Also forget about any stuff you might have done in the past, that's all water under the bridge and the only person who thinks about that now is yourself!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Limericklad142

    Social anxiety is a complex disorder and I don't think trivializing it helps

  • Registered Users Posts: 32,136 ✭✭✭✭is_that_so

    I don't think anyone is but there is a changing perception of the world as we get older, where we care far less about it. Ultimately it's how the people who matter to you think, not random people.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Limericklad142

    When I first read your comment my instinct was to be offended but when I think about it more, there could be an element of that. It was an issue from a very young age. Every day going outside the door you would have to remember saluting each person you saw, then you start second guessing, the person isn't looking at you yet so you hold off or you already saluted but they didn't see you and now they are looking thinking you ignored them. The mind can be a quagmire with these things!

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,777 ✭✭✭Patsy167

    The most productive way that I have found is to accept that no one is coming to make my life right, or save me, or redeem my childhood, or rescue me from the consequences of my choices and actions. No one is coming to solve my problems. If I don't do something, nothing is going to get better.

    Post edited by Patsy167 on

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,622 ✭✭✭growleaves

    First of all, I like you.

    Second of all, it sounds to me like many of the people you've encountered are rude and ignorant.

    Like those women should not have started at you even if they you were wearing concealer over your reddened face. Its a basic social grace to let things slide but many Irish people are mean-spirited, especially bored people in offices. People resent spending their lives working so they take it out on the people they see every day. Its a spoilt attitude but also common. They may also see you as a competitor for status and promotions.

    Never mind about getting the cold shoulder from anyone. Just give a confident "Hi!" to whoever you see initially. If they don't want to engage, then you disengage from them like you were switching off a TV. Gravitate to someone who is friendly and responsive in the vicinity or if there's no one then feck it just daydream about something that makes you happy.

    As for the people at the bar, say hello to them - don't worry about inconsistency. They should not be sulking over previous interactions or inconsistencies. A person will respond to present-day friendliness in the moment unless they are on a sulk in which case its their problem. Some people's personalities mean they are always low-key dissatisfied or they hate being friendly to acquaintances and that's out of your control.

    Lastly I just want to say that women ogle men all the time, usually without getting caught. Its not good to do it obviously, or for your reputation, but I wouldn't be beating yourself up over it either.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Limericklad142

    Thanks for your kind words, really appreciate it.

    Lots of good comments and suggestions here from several people and plenty to work on for myself and how I think about things.

  • Registered Users Posts: 823 ✭✭✭Liberty_Bear

    The basis of it is that we are raised like this, I suffer from it still sometimes and I will do my best to make amends. In our heads we make this narrative that we have something wrong with us. The truth is most people dont think like that. Maybe its time to start a new friends circle. Join a group that does a hobby and make friends that way, continually engage with people. We all make mistakes like that in our youth with the opposite or same sex, we learn the rules of soceity at the time. Important thing is you have learnt x

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,045 ✭✭✭Thespoofer

    OP, everybody f!@ks up in life at some stage.

    First thing you need to do if you feel you've been the wrong doer is to forgive yourself. Might sound a bit weird but it actually does help. Forgive yourself and then decide there and then to move on to being a better person.

    Secondly, this is dealing with two ( maybe more) problems.

    I've a bit of roseacea myself and I was a bit awkward ( self conscious/paranoid/afraid what others think of me ) aswell.

    Go to the gym.

    I guarantee you ( I'm not a fitness freak by any stretch ), you can be the ugliest, most socially awkward fella around but regular gym visits ( maybe twice a week ) will do wonders for your confidence, appearance, how you feel when people speak to you and the fact you're after shaping up a bit, the roseacea Will.Not.Matter.

    Also consider keeping the alcohol consumption to reasonable levels.

    You know the type, we've all seen them, nothing to look at but dripping in sex appeal. That's what keeping yourself in shape does. And that feeling WILL override your paranoia about your roseacea.

    Forgive, get confident, move on.

    Disclaimer, I am not in any way saying I myself am dripping in sex appeal, just feel good after the gym.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11 Limericklad142

    haha, thanks yea, no issues on the second one. I'm an ex fitness instructor so no issues in keeping myself fit although I work out at home; built up my own gym over the years. It's a thing I often think about, I've a really fit body but I guess most people judge you by your face first! 😥Don't drink that much either. My downfall is my sweet tooth!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 76 ✭✭ericfartman

    Most people with anxiety and soical anxiety are perfectionists. You have to realize if it doesn't happen you this decade, it can happen next decade and will eventually happen for you.

    From your post though it sounds like borderline personality disorder getting too involved in what people think about you.