Friday, January 11, 2013

I Wonder Why I’m Afraid of __________________?

For the first Free-for-All Friday of our renewed, refreshed, reinvigorated blog, I’m … cheating and diving into our archives. Hee-hee! I went back and found the very first Wonder on which I had bailed.

I enjoy reading message T-shirts, and one stopped me in my tracks a few weeks ago. It read something to the effect of “If you’ve got haters” [front] “you’re doing something right” [back].

That sentiment makes my blood run cold. I cannot handle thinking someone—anyone—is mad at me or doesn’t like me or is thinking/saying disparaging things about me. I’m terrified of being disliked. It’s a problem.

Now, I’ve lived through my share of Mean Girls and am sure I’ve been one a time or two. But even as a seemingly well-adjusted adult, I have a huge fear of doing or saying something that will result in someone’s thinking less of me. My pathological need to be liked knows no bounds: even if I strongly dislike someone … I mean, really don’t care for a person … I still need that person to think I’m nice and good and cool and want to talk to me and be friendly to me. I just don't have to do those things back.

The near-ulcers and wrinkles and gray hair I’ve given myself over this issue are numerous and ongoing. Even when I’m counseled by steadfast friends (whose love and esteem I should spend more time cultivating and be much more grateful for and never fear losing [which makes them all the more precious]) to let people go—when I’m reminded that people who don’t care about me or acknowledge that my feelings are valid or treat me with respect or reject my bonhomie don’t actually deserve my time/energy—I expend inordinate amounts of emotion and reason trying to figure out a way to gain the approval of said haters.

Is it a middle-child thing? Is it a female thing? Is it an I-was-never-actually-popular-in-high-school thing? These aren’t rhetorical questions, y’all. I could use some help.

Just don’t hate me for asking!

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