If I had a pound for each time I have needlessly asked someone if they are mad at me, I would have a whole lot of money! Most of the time, the thought that someone might be mad at me is all in my head. With my anxiety comes a lot of insecurity, Irrational guilt is the feeling that you have done something wrong when you haven’t. This can be caused by anxiety, insecurity and low self-esteem. It is a frustrating and consuming cycle, a fracture and inaccurate view of the world’s feelings.
It is also a very vicious cycle as well. I ask someone if they’re angry with me so much at times that it becomes annoying. It can even cause someone to get angry with me and that’s horrible and can be damaging to relationships. Irrational guilt is assuming you caused someone’s bad mood, not by things like a bad day at work or conflict with a family member. It’s thinking that if someone is distant is because you’ve offended them or said something wrong when they might just be taking a nap or watching tv. Everyone does something wrong sometimes, but insecurity tells you that you do things wrong all the time.
I can look at those situations and know that I haven’t done anything wrong, but then the ‘what ifs’ take over me and I convince myself I have. Anxiety combined with insecurity is so destructive because you are already worried but then the anxiety magnifies that feeling even more. Too much of my time has been spent feeling guilty about nothing; I have wasted too many words asking that question ‘are you mad at me? Do you hate me?’ I have gotten better at stopping myself, of typing it in the text box, but not sending it. It is difficult to overcome insecurity and work on raising your self-esteem enough to realize you’re not this terrible person who damages peoples lives with your actions. You’re not a terrible person and this guilt that feels so real actually isn’t.
To my friends, I want to say I’m sorry that I ask you if you’re angry at me and if you hate me, but more importantly I want you to know why. My insecurity is driving my actions and my anxiety is pushing down on the accelerator and I’m focusing on just holding on when I should really be trying to take back the wheel. When I am asking irrationally, I know you aren’t mad at me or hate me, but what I am actually asking for is reassurance. Reassurance is the enemy of irrational guilt in many ways. The relief that reassurance offers can be very helpful, but it doesn’t always last. It’s not fair to someone to ask for reassurance over and over; you have to go back to the source of the problem to gain lasting relief and actual rational thought. The ability to stop and say ‘Does this make sense?’ When actually most of the time it doesn’t and once you have that clarity you can focus on what’s important. I will never completely stop asking this, but I can work on stopping and remind myself to think things through and fight through my insecurity. So I am asking for your patience and understanding; it’s not a trust issue its part of my mental illness, it is unfortunately the very cliché phrase ‘It’s not you, it’s me.’