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gingerbreadgirl

I don't know whether I am OK or not

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I've realised that most people, regardless of what they've done in life, have a foundation - like a baseline - of feeling like they are basically OK and this is solid and permanent. I have a theory that people who feel this way don't understand what it would feel like otherwise. 

i constantly wrestle with whether I am bad or good. This is partly ocd but I had this feeling before ocd came along even as a child. 

I don't believe this logically. I know I am a good and kind person, mostly. But this feeling that I might be terrible haunts me and I worry about whether the world would have been better if I'd never been born, etc. 

You could call this low self esteem but I don't think it is really. I don't really think I am worse than the people around me. It is more a phobia, like I am afraid I am bad in moments of high emotion. I worry that my concept of reality, and myself, is wrong - what if I am toxic, hurtful and unkind to people all the time and I don't realise it because I am, say, a narcissist or psychotic? 

I just wondered if anyone has any tips. This seems to be my default that I revert to and in those moments I truly believe it. Like I truly believe I am just a terrible person. It colours absolutely everything I do. 

This isn't about building evidence that I'm good, because I know there is evidence, it's not about that. It's not rational. So how do I approach it when it's not rational? 

Thank you :) 

 

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I think this is definite OCD. It's the sort of thing that puts these sorts of negative feelings in your head and makes you ruminate on something. And basically by thinking this problem over and over in your head, you are "feeding the beast" and adding more fuel to the fire. If I were you, I would just say "this is an OCD thought" and gently push it away. You're not a bad person. You're a lovely person. 

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I think this hits most when I have genuine reason to feel guilty about something (which is normal and happens to everyone). But instead of just looking at that one thing in isolation, I see it as proof that what I fear is true - I must be a terrible  person and I always will be. I have nothing to latch onto that proves otherwise if that makes sense? 

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1 minute ago, BigDave said:

I think this is definite OCD. It's the sort of thing that puts these sorts of negative feelings in your head and makes you ruminate on something. And basically by thinking this problem over and over in your head, you are "feeding the beast" and adding more fuel to the fire. If I were you, I would just say "this is an OCD thought" and gently push it away. You're not a bad person. You're a lovely person. 

Thanks big dave that's really sweet. I know what you're saying. But when the thought hits I really really do believe it and I have done things in my time that are not whiter than white and I have some flaws that I really hate. And I know everyone does. But sometimes I find myself saying things in anger that are really designed to hurt - what kind of person does that? 

I often feel like I am bad and everyone around me is perfect, and they judge me and i have to constantly be careful about reverting to type. 

I guess how do I build a sense that I am OK that is solid rather than shifting all the time? That's what I struggle with. 

Hope  you're OK  xx 

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Just now, gingerbreadgirl said:

Thanks big dave that's really sweet. I know what you're saying. But when the thought hits I really really do believe it and I have done things in my time that are not whiter than white and I have some flaws that I really hate. And I know everyone does. But sometimes I find myself saying things in anger that are really designed to hurt - what kind of person does that? 

I often feel like I am bad and everyone around me is perfect, and they judge me and i have to constantly be careful about reverting to type. 

I guess how do I build a sense that I am OK that is solid rather than shifting all the time? That's what I struggle with. 

Hope  you're OK  xx 

Hey GBG, I am as loopy as normal my dear but I understand!

To be honest, I experienced and still experience a long standing issue regarding this myself something similar and I come to the conclusion that I am a really bad person and I get upset and low and to be honest, I've felt suicidal. But the thing is that it's the OCD doing that to you. Oftentimes it feeds off outside factors and stimuli that you wouldn't assume but you hear something and think "oh my God that's me, I'm a terrible person". But it's not the case. I've made some stupid mistakes in my time and I am so regretful and remorseful of them - it's not like what I was doing was out to be a bad person or to get in an advantage. That's the kind of person that is on the real end of the bad scale. The type of person that knowingly and willingly does something with the intention of manipulating or getting favour out of something and hoping to get away from it. The sort of person that will look back on it and have no remorse - just that they're gutted they got caught. Like you said, you might think everyone around is perfect but they're not. I'm not. Most people on here I'm sure  have made mistakes that they're regretful for. Again, let me repeat, you said things that were designed to hurt. I'm sure you're aware that when you have arguments, you do things emotively out of passion and you do and say things that you may regret out of the situation. Like you said, you said it in anger. That isn't you.That's just the anger. Like I said, you're a lovely person. I have so many flaws myself but sometimes you have to some level of forgiveness for oneself.

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4 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

I think this hits most when I have genuine reason to feel guilty about something (which is normal and happens to everyone). But instead of just looking at that one thing in isolation, I see it as proof that what I fear is true - I must be a terrible  person and I always will be. I have nothing to latch onto that proves otherwise if that makes sense? 

I completely relate to this! I think that OCD gives you some sort of tunnel vision and it focuses all of your attention on the fear. What could be helpful is if you could identify how you are currently responding to these thoughts/feelings. Can you identify any compulsions? Do you ruminate? I think a lot of the time, if you change the behaviour, that will start to change the thoughts and feelings too. 

2 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

Thanks big dave that's really sweet. I know what you're saying. But when the thought hits I really really do believe it and I have done things in my time that are not whiter than white and I have some flaws that I really hate. And I know everyone does. But sometimes I find myself saying things in anger that are really designed to hurt - what kind of person does that? 

I often feel like I am bad and everyone around me is perfect, and they judge me and i have to constantly be careful about reverting to type. 

I guess how do I build a sense that I am OK that is solid rather than shifting all the time? That's what I struggle with. 

Hope  you're OK  xx 

 

Nobody is perfect. Also, very few people are truly terrible either. We are all in this grey area and many people don't worry about it. We have all done things that have hurt other people but you have to let them go and move on.

I think you have to try and accept the uncertainty - maybe you are good, maybe you are not, but it doesn't matter because life goes on and you cannot change the past. I think the way you build this sense of being ok is by targeting the OCD, because that is what is causing your guilt. So understanding the cognitive basis of this, eliminating the compulsions and also accepting the uncertainty that you don't need to label yourself as good or bad.

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51 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

I've realised that most people, regardless of what they've done in life, have a foundation - like a baseline - of feeling like they are basically OK and this is solid and permanent. I have a theory that people who feel this way don't understand what it would feel like otherwise. 

i constantly wrestle with whether I am bad or good. This is partly ocd but I had this feeling before ocd came along even as a child. 

I don't believe this logically. I know I am a good and kind person, mostly. But this feeling that I might be terrible haunts me and I worry about whether the world would have been better if I'd never been born, etc. 

You could call this low self esteem but I don't think it is really. I don't really think I am worse than the people around me. It is more a phobia, like I am afraid I am bad in moments of high emotion. I worry that my concept of reality, and myself, is wrong - what if I am toxic, hurtful and unkind to people all the time and I don't realise it because I am, say, a narcissist or psychotic? 

I just wondered if anyone has any tips. This seems to be my default that I revert to and in those moments I truly believe it. Like I truly believe I am just a terrible person. It colours absolutely everything I do. 

This isn't about building evidence that I'm good, because I know there is evidence, it's not about that. It's not rational. So how do I approach it when it's not rational? 

Thank you :) 

 

Hi Gingerbreadgirl,

You may have noticed this feeling before you noticed OCD, but this really sounds like OCD.  It basically checks all the boxes! As I'm sure you know, it's ruminating on these questions that is the problem.  You don't need definitive answers to close on them.  Someone without OCD might not even ask themselves these questions, and if they did,  they wouldn't search desperately for cold hard evidence that can never be found.

You can change your default.  Have you tried mantras?   

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1 hour ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

constantly wrestle with whether I am bad or good. This is partly ocd but I had this feeling before ocd came along even as a child. 

I admit that I have this feeling about myself as well. Is there something bad that other people see or sense about me that I don’t recognise in myself. I get the sensation that a lot of people are ‘off’ with me. This might be a communication problem or misunderstanding possibly because I’ve given off some wrong signal due to aspergers (I don’t know) or because there is something about me. It’s a horrible feeling when it crops up, it means I’ve very few close people to me outside of my parents and partner. I wish I could be closer to them also. I’m always on the periphery. I cant seem to establish an ongoing closeness to others that I crave, but also shy away from because attempts have failed in the past. I’m in somewhat of a manageable bubble.

 

1 hour ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

I am afraid I am bad in moments of high emotion. I worry that my concept of reality, and myself, is wrong - what if I am toxic, hurtful and unkind to people all the time and I don't realise it 

This is exactly like me. I wish I could offer you tips but I’m plagued by the same problem x

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17 hours ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

i constantly wrestle with whether I am bad or good. This is partly ocd but I had this feeling before ocd came along even as a child. 

Hi GBG,

I think this is a massive part of the issue, wrestling with an issue constantly is essentially rumination. It doesn't get you anywhere it only causes you more anxiety and upset, you will never form a satisfactory conclusion. I think OCD whatever our theme/s essentially is attacking our core values.

Everyone says things in the heat of the moment - I say some terrible things at times - mainly directed at bad driving but its stuff along the lines of the other person essentially paying for what I perceive to be an aggressive and arrogant bit of driving ending with some kind of comeuppance ending horribly for them.! I said similar when our neighbour was noisy the night before my wifes operation. 

Its disproportionate I know in the cold light of day and I am not proud and in my calmer moments I know I don't mean what I say. That's one example of my bad points - there are many more !

I believe overall I am a good person -but with some negative traits which probably makes me like the vast majority of the population. 

I know you understand the cognitive side of OCD, its putting it into practise that can be the difficult part for us all. 

17 hours ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

I often feel like I am bad and everyone around me is perfect, and they judge me and i have to constantly be careful about reverting to type. 

I don't believe anyone is perfect  and what some may regard as their version of perfection may well be someway far from perfection is the eyes of someone else, it really is I feel something that doesn't really exist. 

I hope your feeling a bit better today? Have you got anything to work on to try and break yourself out of your rumination?  

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Introspection does not help. We live in an age where employees are rated as being okay or not okay by customer appraisals and by managers/supervisors  listening in and observing interactions. This applies to telephone sales to the training of teachers and therapists.

The Helpline Association provides training on being helpful to those in distress. Bereavement counsellors receive training on how to be kind and how to display their kindness.

The judgment as to whether we are good and kind and helpful depends upon the judgment of the recipient of your  behaviour. Being kind may be a character trait but it is also a social accomplishment involving what is said and how it is said.

So volunteer in a helping role which has training. This will give you objective feedback on whether people think you are kind and helpful.

Edited by Angst

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19 hours ago, BigDave said:

Hey GBG, I am as loopy as normal my dear but I understand!

To be honest, I experienced and still experience a long standing issue regarding this myself something similar and I come to the conclusion that I am a really bad person and I get upset and low and to be honest, I've felt suicidal. But the thing is that it's the OCD doing that to you. Oftentimes it feeds off outside factors and stimuli that you wouldn't assume but you hear something and think "oh my God that's me, I'm a terrible person". But it's not the case. I've made some stupid mistakes in my time and I am so regretful and remorseful of them - it's not like what I was doing was out to be a bad person or to get in an advantage. That's the kind of person that is on the real end of the bad scale. The type of person that knowingly and willingly does something with the intention of manipulating or getting favour out of something and hoping to get away from it. The sort of person that will look back on it and have no remorse - just that they're gutted they got caught. Like you said, you might think everyone around is perfect but they're not. I'm not. Most people on here I'm sure  have made mistakes that they're regretful for. Again, let me repeat, you said things that were designed to hurt. I'm sure you're aware that when you have arguments, you do things emotively out of passion and you do and say things that you may regret out of the situation. Like you said, you said it in anger. That isn't you.That's just the anger. Like I said, you're a lovely person. I have so many flaws myself but sometimes you have to some level of forgiveness for oneself.

Thanks dave I totally see where you're coming from. I'm sure you know as well that you're a lovely person and you don't deserve these things ocd says to you! Ocd can take a running jump :) 

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19 hours ago, malina said:

I completely relate to this! I think that OCD gives you some sort of tunnel vision and it focuses all of your attention on the fear. What could be helpful is if you could identify how you are currently responding to these thoughts/feelings. Can you identify any compulsions? Do you ruminate? I think a lot of the time, if you change the behaviour, that will start to change the thoughts and feelings too. 

Nobody is perfect. Also, very few people are truly terrible either. We are all in this grey area and many people don't worry about it. We have all done things that have hurt other people but you have to let them go and move on.

I think you have to try and accept the uncertainty - maybe you are good, maybe you are not, but it doesn't matter because life goes on and you cannot change the past. I think the way you build this sense of being ok is by targeting the OCD, because that is what is causing your guilt. So understanding the cognitive basis of this, eliminating the compulsions and also accepting the uncertainty that you don't need to label yourself as good or bad.

Thanks malina. This makes a lot of sense. I know I have definitely developed ocd around this but I think the feeling of being "bad" would still be there even in the absence of compulsions. But regardless I know I need to stop them!! Ruminating is definitely a biggie. I think a trap I often fall into is thinking I am doing cognitive work when actually I'm just ruminating!

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18 hours ago, ineedahug said:

Hi Gingerbreadgirl,

You may have noticed this feeling before you noticed OCD, but this really sounds like OCD.  It basically checks all the boxes! As I'm sure you know, it's ruminating on these questions that is the problem.  You don't need definitive answers to close on them.  Someone without OCD might not even ask themselves these questions, and if they did,  they wouldn't search desperately for cold hard evidence that can never be found.

You can change your default.  Have you tried mantras?   

This is so true and seeing it in black and white like this makes me realise how many compulsions I am doing.  I guess the thing is, when I feel like that, I am not really experiencing doubt per se, I am just really sure I am a bad person and it just makes me feel really down. I often have this nagging feeling that I don't deserve good things etc. 

I have tried mantras but they don't really work for me because I don't believe in them. What does work sometimes though is trying to reframe my beliefs around it. But I think the biggest thing I need to do is just leave it alone...!

Thanks again :)

Edited by gingerbreadgirl

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18 hours ago, Orwell1984 said:

I admit that I have this feeling about myself as well. Is there something bad that other people see or sense about me that I don’t recognise in myself. I get the sensation that a lot of people are ‘off’ with me. This might be a communication problem or misunderstanding possibly because I’ve given off some wrong signal due to aspergers (I don’t know) or because there is something about me. It’s a horrible feeling when it crops up, it means I’ve very few close people to me outside of my parents and partner. I wish I could be closer to them also. I’m always on the periphery. I cant seem to establish an ongoing closeness to others that I crave, but also shy away from because attempts have failed in the past. I’m in somewhat of a manageable bubble.

 

This is exactly like me. I wish I could offer you tips but I’m plagued by the same problem x

I'm sorry to hear you feel like this too orwell :( it really sucks. I really hope you find a way out of it soon. For what it's worth I think you come across as a really kind, caring and thoughtful person xx 

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1 hour ago, Avo said:

Hi GBG,

I think this is a massive part of the issue, wrestling with an issue constantly is essentially rumination. It doesn't get you anywhere it only causes you more anxiety and upset, you will never form a satisfactory conclusion. I think OCD whatever our theme/s essentially is attacking our core values.

Everyone says things in the heat of the moment - I say some terrible things at times - mainly directed at bad driving but its stuff along the lines of the other person essentially paying for what I perceive to be an aggressive and arrogant bit of driving ending with some kind of comeuppance ending horribly for them.! I said similar when our neighbour was noisy the night before my wifes operation. 

Its disproportionate I know in the cold light of day and I am not proud and in my calmer moments I know I don't mean what I say. That's one example of my bad points - there are many more !

I believe overall I am a good person -but with some negative traits which probably makes me like the vast majority of the population. 

I know you understand the cognitive side of OCD, its putting it into practise that can be the difficult part for us all. 

I don't believe anyone is perfect  and what some may regard as their version of perfection may well be someway far from perfection is the eyes of someone else, it really is I feel something that doesn't really exist. 

I hope your feeling a bit better today? Have you got anything to work on to try and break yourself out of your rumination?  

Hi avo 

Thanks very much for your thoughtful reply :) you're right nobody is perfect but I think sometimes people around me give that impression, at times. A lot of the people in my life are very confident in their viewpoint and I absorb their confidence and it makes me see them as perfect. If that makes any sense. 

I am actually feeling a lot better today. Had a bit of a rough day yesterday for various reasons but not doing too badly. 

Believe it or not I actually feel a lot better about myself nowadays than I used to. I used to truly think I was born rotten and I can see that isn't true now, I can mostly see i am good, most of the time. I just get tripped up by it sometimes. 

Thanks again and I hope you're well :) x 

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59 minutes ago, Angst said:

Introspection does not help. We live in an age where employees are rated as being okay or not okay by customer appraisals and by managers/supervisors  listening in and observing interactions. This applies to telephone sales to the training of teachers and therapists.

The Helpline Association provides training on being helpful to those in distress. Bereavement counsellors receive training on how to be kind and how to display their kindness.

The judgment as to whether we are good and kind and helpful depends upon the judgment of the recipient of your  behaviour. Being kind may be a character trait but it is also a social accomplishment involving what is said and how it is said.

So volunteer in a helping role which has training. This will give you objective feedback on whether people think you are kind and helpful.

Hi angst

Thanks very much for your advice :) I see what you mean about kindness being an action as well as a trait. That makes a lot of sense. 

I'm not sure receiving feedback is the way to go in that I think I would take it as reassurance, for a while. I know I come across as kind, I guess I just worry I am hoodwinking people, and all the feedback in the world wouldn't change my feeling  around that. I do see where you're coming from though :) 

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You say in your first post that you worry about being unkind ‘to people all the time and don’t realise it’. Objective feedback would solve this.

You say in your last post that any feedback from any objective observer would be positive. That is that you would display kindness. This is an introspective assumption. It could be true or false. But it can be tested in empirical reality.

You seem to saying that there is a deep kindness and a surface kindness. Kindness is kindness. The act of giving a blanket to a freezing person is a kindness. Giving water to a dehydrated person is a kindness......Uttering kind words to a person on her death bed is a kindness.

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I saw your post before it was edited. Interesting point about checking the door. The comment is no longer there and public. The crucial point is the word objective external judgement rather than individual subjective judgement. Perhaps group therapy?  As checker I would welcome me  videoing my checks and showing them to a group.

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I see what you're saying angst but I think I have to disagree - I think the key should be learning to tolerate doubt rather than getting external validation  (i.e. reassurance). But it's good to hear different opinions so thank you :) 

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Just wanted to say thanks everyone for the lovely responses, as always. I'm feeling quite a bit better today and trying hard not to ruminate. X 

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You assume validation or reassurance? It could be the opposite.

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I know just how you are feeling GBG. 

I spent some years looking for the missing piece in the jigsaw of how to shut off constantly-repeating intrusions in an episode of OCD, realising that until I had the key to that, then the episodes would carry on until they just stopped; which period was getting longer and longer. 

I felt I needed a miracle to find this elusive way - and maybe it was one when a combination of ideas from others produced the way to do it, outside of the CBT process I understood and used. 

Hopefully one of these ideas on this thread can be that difference that enables you to shrug off this issue and keep it off. 

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11 minutes ago, taurean said:

I know just how you are feeling GBG. 

I spent some years looking for the missing piece in the jigsaw of how to shut off constantly-repeating intrusions in an episode of OCD, realising that until I had the key to that, then the episodes would carry on until they just stopped; which period was getting longer and longer. 

I felt I needed a miracle to find this elusive way - and maybe it was one when a combination of ideas from others produced the way to do it, outside of the CBT process I understood and used. 

Hopefully one of these ideas on this thread can be that difference that enables you to shrug off this issue and keep it off. 

Thanks Roy you're very kind :) I think if I can crack this one I will be in a much better place. 

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