Posted in Mental Health

The demons inside me

Negative self perception and self doubt are very powerful forces indeed and when they are a part of a lifelong set of problems that have impacted on and been influenced by life experiences, they do not disappear overnight. I still struggle with low self-esteem in some areas of my life.

I’ve been surprised at the level of interest shown me by the woman I refer to as Little Red. After a first coffee date and a slow down of communication, I expected not to see her again until our second coffee date a couple of weeks ago. Since then, we have swapped phone numbers, added each other on Facebook and text each other every few days. She is beautiful, charming, intelligent, successful, driven, confident, funny and uncomplicated. So of course I am struggling to understand what she might see in me (if indeed she does feel some attraction).

Despite that my ex-wife, Miss X and even Little Red herself telling me plainly what they like about me, and despite that Little Red asked me out to dinner and wants to keep in touch long-term, I cannot shake this feeling that I’m heading for disappointment. With my growing hope that something might eventually happen beyond friendship, inevitably I expect to be passed over for a better option (somebody taller, better looking, more successful, richer, more confident etc).

This isn’t self-pity at my woeful relationship history, but confusion and anxiety about how smoothly things seem to be going right now. With both eyes fully open at how emotionally vulnerable I still feel after the end of my marriage and the whole situation with Miss X, I’m feeling apprehensive about opening up to anyone and I’m not taking anything for granted where women are concerned.

I am trying to go with it and largely I know I’m doing ok. I enjoy her company and I feel so relaxed around her. I enjoy making her laugh and that she makes me laugh. When we’re together or texting, I’m as chilled out as I could possibly be and taking it for what it is; everything seems great. And that’s the problem… it all now seems too good to be true. I now expect in life to be passed over or traded up for a better option every time I meet a woman to whom I feel an attraction.

Why do I struggle so much to accept when a woman pays me a compliment, she actually means it? Further, why do I struggle to accept that she might find those things attractive and that eventually, somebody will feel that I am that better option?



I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

2 thoughts on “The demons inside me

  1. Okay, stop, breathe, in and then out, slowly. Now read that sentence over and over again, until you feel a little light headed. Now say out loud, one thing you really like about yourself. That’s all for today, and then try that whenever you start questioning other peoples interests, because i bet you even question your guy friendships too.

    1. No, I don’t question the loyalty of friends (at least, not in a long long time).

      Since working on my self-esteem book, nor do I have a problem identifying my qualities… qualities that gain and keep friends. My problem is really in having no expectations beyond that. I’ve become used to the “let’s just be friends” speech that now I expect nothing else where women are concerned. That is the source of my current anxiety.

      Don’t get me wrong. New friends are always welcome but when you have hang ups as I do that one’s appeal to the opposite sex will never go beyond friends, you learn not to get your hopes up.

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