Why do we Undermine Ourselves?

Why I am done underminding myself autism parenting
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I thought I might be able to offer positive help and advice for people in similar circumstances to me. Having a pre-verbal child with autism can be confusing and scary, and maybe I felt that I might be able to make it just a little bit less confusing and scary for other parents going through the same thing.

In other words, deciding to become a parent blogger means that I have decided to put myself in the business of offering advice.And that’s a problem.

I’m sure we’ve all felt undermined at some point in our lives, that feeling that our opinions and advice aren’t worth listening to.

But what happens when you’re the one contradicting your own advice, and not because you’ve come to the conclusion that you were mistaken, but simply because you’re petrified at the thought that someone might actually listen to you?

I have come to this conclusion lately, and it’s disconcerting to notice this pattern of behaviour in my head. I think I know why it happens: part of the way my brain works means that I think things through after the fact. Over and over again. It’s a form of rumination, common behaviour in people who suffer from depression and anxiety. In other words, I’m constantly looking for things that can go wrong, even when there’s no real reason why anything should go wrong.

It’s exhausting, and it gets worse. The Internet is a strange and welcoming place. Sometimes it can be terrifying, but it’s very facelessness and facade of anonymity means that anyone has a shot at being listened to.

To someone who isn’t used to it, this is unnerving. Which is why when someone comments to say they’ll be taking my advice, my first instinct is to scream, “Are you mad? Why are you listening to ME?” Or to immediately point out the reasons why my advice was wrong in the first place. Even if I don’t think it was wrong. Even if I think it’s good advice.

It might even be over something as trivial as a book that I’ve recommended, which is just ridiculous. How often do you see a positive review of a book that you’ve hated, or vice versa? People have different tastes and different reasons for reading. It happens. So why do I let it worry me so much?

Well, it’s the bastard anxiety again, combined with the need to avoid conflict and people-please inculcated in me from childhood. I fear that someone will take my advice, it will go wrong or not quite work for them, and they will blame me.

Yeah, well screw that. The world is full of bad advice. There are books packed full of the stuff. I offer advice based on my own experiences. Some of it may work for you and some of it won’t, and the exact same thing is true just about every piece of advice out there. Take what you can use and ignore the rest. Try different things. Find what works for you.

From now on, unless I realise that my advice was wrong, badly worded or misunderstood, no more undermining myself. No more second-guessing myself. No more correcting myself.

I get enough of that from other people, thanks.

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About allpastmidnight

Hi, I'm Alison, I am a mid-thirties mum to two children, Little Man and Wee Girl. Wee Girl is pre-verbal and has autism, while Little Man is the sort of happy chatty little guy who gets into everything and sings at the top of his lungs — until the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger and he goes silent. I am cynical, sweary, and a bit disorganised, and I blog about parenting, ASD, food and just about anything else I can think of. Feel free to follow me on any of my social media. I can also be contacted by email at allpastmidnight [at] outlook [dot] com.
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15 Responses to Why do we Undermine Ourselves?

  1. I am guilty of doing too. Or wording things in such a way as to not offend those who do things differently, which just makes me sound unconfident! #bestandworst

    • Yep, and that’s a good point. By the time you’ve run through the standard disclaimer, everyone has lost interest. Sometimes I do think it’s needed (on breastfeeding posts, for example, where the debate can get sidelined if your post is interpreted as being judgy), but most of the time it’s totally unnecessary.

  2. Yes!! We all need to have more confidence in ourselves. As moms especially I think we are often too critical of ourselves. I can’t think of a better person to be giving advice than someone who has actually lived what they are talking about.

    • Thank you. It’s funny that I’ve gone so long without realising that I have this tic, but I’m trying to work generally on being more confident and less people-pleasing. It’s pretty insulting to the people who take my advice as well, this assumption that they will follow my words blindly without actually thinking about what they’re doing and whether it’s working. So no more.

  3. Great post, I tended to do this when I first started blogging but now I figure why do I care. I need to blog and write about what I want and be true to myself. Good for you on realizing you need to just go for it! You’re doing a great job. #wineandboobs

  4. I feel a bit the same way sometimes- even putting a recipe on my blog makes me worry. I’m glad you’ve decided to put these demons behind you, it sounds like you have a lot to give 🙂

    • Oh god, recipes. Yeah, they can be pretty nervewracking. And I do that very British thing where I feel very uncomfortable talking about how amazing and delicious the recipe is, but you know you can’t just go, ‘Well, here’s a recipe for xyg. It probably won’t kill you. You might even like it. Maybe. We thought it was edible, but you might think it’s horrible. Enjoy.’

      I can’t do that, can I? Can I?

  5. The Anxious Dragon says:

    I know all about that doubtful voice in your head that tries to work out every possible(negitive) scenario, and your right you have to ignore it and go with your gut instinct. #Wineandboobs

  6. helen gandy says:

    This is so much like me. I am always doubting myself, it’s very annoying especially when I know that actually I am right! Great post, and thanks for linking up to the #bestandworst and hope to see you again next week 🙂

    • Thanks. I’m slowly starting to have more faith in myself. Once you realise that pattern of thinking, and how nonsensical it was, it’s easy to combat, at least when it comes to writing. Maybe not so easy in real life.

  7. I am always doing this to myself and it’s so hard not to especially if others are doing it too. It’s good to have a positive look at it. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

    • It’s so easy to do it without realising, and partly I think itstems from this fear that others will turn around and disagree with you if you dare to give the impression that you think you’re good at something. It’s silly, really; you can be modest and self-deprecating without doing yourself down, which is what I’m aiming for.

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