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Rejection from early childhood?

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Old 26th January 2018, 2:33 PM   #1
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Rejection from early childhood?

I think I'd like to post this as I've never told anyone or written this down before and I'm hoping to shine some light on things. It might be long but I hope people read it and give me some answers as to why I feel the way I do.

I'm 26 years old (male) and at the beginning of November my ex girlfriend dumped me. We went out only for 5 months and she was never showing as much interest in me as I did her but I pushed it aside. It transpired she was really close with her ex boyfriend although she claimed it was just friendship, it never sat right but I won't bore you with the details.

Anyway, since then I have done some serious soul searching. I can't remember a time in my life I have ever reflected as much, tried to dig deep and find out why I have felt very lonely, isolated, maybe even depressed for a while now.

I have only had 3 'relationships' in my life - two only lasted 5 months. The other one was 2 years but I didn't really fancy her, just loved her as a person but again I hid my true feelings and emotions and of course, looking back, that was wrong and was never going to work out.

Recently, a flood of things from my childhood and teenage years have come to my mind and when I think about it I am almost certain have impacted me a great deal when it comes to relationships.

My parents have always been great, I had a great family life. My dad is extremely quiet and so I don't and never have had a strong male role model in my life. I've been reading up on this and some of the things written suggest this is problematic - that I have become a 'beta' male because of this. I'm not assertive, confident or independent at all though I am working hard on these things now.

But the following things all happened to me when I was younger. I want you to read them and tell me if they are just silly things or may have had a big impact on me:

1) When I was around 8 or 9 I was in school, sitting with a few girls and a few boys in my year at lunch. Nearly every week this one girl would bring a Galaxy chocolate bar and give pieces of it to some boys. But I never got one.

Then one day, she was sharing it out and someone said 'oh Josh' (can't remember actual name) isn't in today. Why don't you give a piece to Simon? (that's me)

So the girl hesitated but gave me the piece of chocolate. But a few minutes later, this 'Josh' guy actually came in and was in school. So the girl swiped the chocolate back and gave it to him.

2) When I was 10, I had my first 'crush' on a girl but she didn't return any sort of affection at all. I know we were all just stupid kids. But one day she came up to me and said 'we can be boyfriend and girlfriend now' so naive little me was beaming, telling my friends.

Then in the playground she came up to me in front of quite a crowd and said loudly 'You know that was just a prank right?!' and a lot of people laughed.

3) When I was older than that, about 17, I had a ridiculous crush on a girl in the year below me at school. I thought I was in love with her. We became 'friends' sort of but then one day I found out she was using me to get information on my best friend at the time who she then went out with. This absolutely killed me. They went on to have a 2 year relationship and I came to accept it and lost feelings for her but it really hurt initially.


It's strange how all these memories have always been there but only recently I'm starting to piece them all together like a jigsaw that when connected might explain why I have always felt like I wasn't really good enough. I don't feel like any woman would really want me as a boyfriend. My experience with OLD has only really added fuel to this fire - I have been on a lot of first dates but nothing ever really works out. I have been ignored, ghosted, probably cheated on (with my last girlfriend), stood up a couple of times, first dates cancelled. I know this is all part of the OLD world but it's tough.

I don't really know what to do going forward. Lately I've been the gym a lot to try and work on my body and to improve my mental health. I consider myself to be a 5 or 6/10 for attractiveness and I can usually make a good first impression if a girl actually takes the chance to go on a first date with me but I can't seem to maintain any sort of long lasting relationship.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!
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Old 26th January 2018, 5:19 PM   #2
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Anyone please?

Just wondering if I need to seek professional help or what I can do going forward.
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Old 27th January 2018, 8:03 AM   #3
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Yeah well I'll chip in because I'm interested in the whole area of how our childhood experiences shape who we are as adults.

I must say though, in conventional psychoanalysis or whatever, they're really talking about the important events that take place in very early childhood- the bits you can't remember, usually before 3 or 4 years old. This is why it can only be accessed by dreams or free association or something

This is when your brain is still malleable and very impressionable, and when your personality and attachment style is formed by your relationships to you mother, father, and siblings.

The anecdotes your talking about here, are not formative experiences- rather, these are awkward interactions that are likely to be party caused by the way your synaptic connections were wired in early childhood.

Finally, this thinking your dad is a 'beta'... You should understand the whole alpha/beta/redpill thing is an internet meme thats taking off, but it doesn't even closely describe biological reality.

For one thing, the whole concept of Alpha/Beta is taken from the wolf pack, while completely misunderstanding how a wolf pack operates.

Firstly the 'beta' wolf, is 'second in command', its not a submissive role at all.
Secondly. every wold pack has an Alpha female, as well as an alpha male.
Third- the alpha wolf doesnt 'lead' the pack in any human sense: if you look at photograph of a wolf pack on the move, the 'alpha' is at the back, and the pace is set by the elderly and injured wolfs, who get to go at the front. 'Alpha,' is a nurturing role within a co-operative pack, and really could not be any further from the internet meme of the strong 'red-pilled alpha male'.

Tl:dr- if your dads putting food on the table and keeping the wolves from the door, he's your 'alpha.' Just cos he's a quite guy, is completely irrelevant to his role in your pack structure. Although at the end of the day the idea that humans even have a 'pack' structure is stupid- we're primates, not dogs.

Also silly girls playing games with chocolate does not have the power to rewire your brain- unless you let it.
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Old 27th January 2018, 11:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Fever of love View Post conventional psychoanalysis or whatever, they're really talking about the important events that take place in very early childhood- the bits you can't remember, usually before 3 or 4 years old.

The anecdotes your talking about here, are not formative experiences- rather, these are awkward interactions that are likely to be party caused by the way your synaptic connections were wired in early childhood.
It's true (by psych theory) that the early relationship with the mother is the basis for personality development and attachment style... however, I would definitely not discount OPs later childhood experiences. We integrate our experiences throughout our lives and they become part of who we are. A pattern of rejection from age 8 may not be the origin of OPs feelings of unworthiness, but it certainly reinforces that bias, and since they are memorable they are consciously painful. It may also be self-fulfilling... feelings of unworthiness and insecurity are read by others and result in further disrespect, and reinforcement.

My guess is that OP's mother was not affirming enough in the ways that build this strong, integrated sense of worthiness. OP, this doesn't not mean she was outwardly neglectful or abusive or anything like that. These interaction are subtle, nuanced and often about the timing of responses. There is a large body of research on this (google: mother child responsiveness).

Relationships between Mothers and Infants

For one thing, the whole concept of Alpha/Beta is taken from the wolf pack, while completely misunderstanding how a wolf pack operates.
Take a look at sexual hierarchical behaviors in other primates, Mountain Gorillas being among the most studied and interesting examples. There most certainly are hierarchies in humans as well. Darwin observed similarities across species, as documented in "The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex." In a nutshell, females serve as nature's genetic optimizers by being selective, and reproductive opportunities for males are not granted on an equal opportunity basis. Monogamy (a recent convention in evolutionary time) has broadened the distribution somewhat, but we still see a small number of males who are sought out by females for their superior genetics, while much larger numbers compete and struggle, and many of those have little or no success.

"There was only one variable between the people who had a strong sense of love and belonging, and the people who really struggle for it... and that was people who have a strong sense of love and belonging believe they're worthy of love and belonging. That's it. They believe they're worthy."

~Brenť Brown, The Power of Vulnerability

OP, this is the kind of issue that a good therapist can help with. We are all inherently worthy, but some have a hard time believing and integrating a healthy sense of worthiness. I believe this is a fundamental problem almost everyone deals with to varying degrees. You can't change your early experiences, but you can certainly develop healthier beliefs and adopt positive cognitive processes to change how you relate to yourself and the world. Everyone is inherently valuable. I strongly believe that, and it helps.

I also strongly recommend Eckhart Tolle's "A New Earth"

Last edited by salparadise; 27th January 2018 at 11:18 AM..
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Old 27th January 2018, 12:58 PM   #5
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Think of those old emotional memories as tapes that will occasionally play, accept that, process it as valid history and move on. The ladies who you struggle with have all that stuff flying around their brain all the time; it's part of being human. If you've ever gotten really close to some of them, the stuff going on in there is downright scary. I came to see my old tapes as so minor as to be insignificant. Valid, but not ruling. Sure, they still pop up, even decades down the road; I smile, like recognizing an old friend and adversary, then move on.

If you need cognitive tools to manage the stuff, a psych can help. They have the training and the toolbox. Be specific. Good luck!
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Old 29th January 2018, 4:10 PM   #6
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Thinking about childhood memories in social contexts, what do you remember about your teachers? Teachers should have the task of letting the kids mingle as much as possible, interact with each other, help each other and also work on projects together, be it theater lab, the geography research or the science experiment, or anything else. They should facilitate socialization, and prevent episodes of bullying, discrimination, etc.
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Old 4th February 2018, 5:37 AM   #7
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Sbla22, I read your post and wanted to offer support

I don't necessarily believe you *need* professional help, but with the right therapist, you may be able to get to the bottom of your feelings of low self-worth and develop increased coping skills for when Life inevitably disappoints you again.

With that said, though, I understand where you are coming from. I often complain to myself that negative experiences and negative messages pile up and leave me feeling overwhelmed and too tired, too mentally exhausted to deal with others and I will withdraw into myself.

I have some similar experiences to you. Things that happened in my childhood have greatly impacted how I perceive things and how I react to things. I never put much stock into how our childhoods affect us in adulthood, but I am slowly accepting that this is the case.

I have found that the interactions I have with others are quite complex. How the other person behaves is generally not about me; it is about them, what they may be going through currently, what they might be thinking, their biases and a host of other things that have nothing at all to do with me, per se. It may help you to come to that same conclusion.

During the last few years, I have come to the realization that I need to play up the strengths that I do have and use them as assets, elements that make me unique.

You can do the same. This will require you to get to know yourself. Become friends with yourself (I know this sounds cliche, but...). You'll come to learn exactly what you want from others and what you are (and aren't) willing to do or give. Having your own back means that when people withdraw from us, we will still have someone. This doesn't mean losing people won't hurt; it just means you will be OK when it happens.

I don't tend to draw large amounts of attention from the opposite sex, but I generally shine as people get to know me. In order to use that as a strength, it helps me to join groups in an effort to get to know others...

In the meantime, I may or may not find another person to love. But since I don't want to wait for that "special someone" to love, I am giving myself the love that I have, and though I sometimes feel utterly pathetic for doing so, sometimes the thoughts and the actions behind that love make me feel awesome.

I think it is great, Sbla, that you are working out in the gym and considering your past as a key to unlock your present and future. Lately, I have been reading blog posts on why we suffer by Peter Michaelson. His insights into depth psychology have been helpful.
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Old 4th February 2018, 9:02 AM   #8
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its all perception.......if you look at the image i have posted above here it shows three wolves and if i were to tell you that this photo is of a female wolf protecting a males throat against another male would believe it...because this is one moment captured in don't take into account what was going on before or even after.....but you are stuck in that one moment perceiving what you want to believe is true is an appealing the wolves human characteristics....

the photo is actually of three male wolves captioned wrong and captioned to appeal to the humanity in us....the smaller wolf who looks like she is protecting the males throat from attack is actually a smaller male wolf who bumped into the larger wolf trying to back away.....the photo captured that moment by a very skilled photographer who took a perfect shot that probably took hours and hours of waiting for ...but anyway

it is human nature to take mental visual and aural photography..we all have photographic memories......we cannot take continuous reels of film however it would stretch past the moon in what we do is we take pictures of moments that affect us emotionally...physically....or even spiritually...and leave out what we perceive to be unimportant or not memorable......

a lot of the time those unimportant little snapshots that we take that we leave on the cutting room floor as we splice together a semblance of what our perceptive life is...are actually really quite beautiful....and when added together to form a slideshow...become...awesome.... the before and afters of major event...the simple things....the forgotten hope.....

like the aural words of encouragement a teacher gave before that piece of chocolate....or a smile in a school corridor that you didn't expect....or reading a book that you just couldn't put down ...or acing a test or getting acknowledgment for something good you have done...or your mum who had slaved away to put a stunning dinner on the table that you never knew how long it took her to make.....or kids that you think never notice you, who ignore you are the ones to name you as being the smartest in the class......

i used to sit at the end of driveway on my port across from the bus stop where a set of boy girl twins would wait for the bus...they were older than me....and they would laugh and talk and have fun waiting for the bus...and i would dread the bus...the bus stop ...the kids on the bus....i was bullied on the bus....and every day this set of twins would try and coax me over.....michael and sue...:0))....and i would just smile at them with a lump in my throat.......and think to myself they dont really want me there they just feel sorry for me....and i would stay where i was even though i wanted to laugh and talk and have fun with them any day sue came over to me took my hand and dragged me over to the bus stop....and said sit with us dont sit over there i did....and i laughed and i chatted up a storm still dreaded the bus ride ....but i enjoyed being with them......

that afternoon when everyone was on the bus and people were standing around the empty seat next to one would sit down next to me...michael got on the bus..... and he said isnt anyone going to take a seat near deb...i just looked out the window....and so he launched into the seat next to me and said...its mine then.....they said something to him cant remember exactly what....doesnt matter ...what matters is what he said..he told them to stop ....or they would have to deal with him and from bus rides changed......they weren't something i dreaded anymore...and i walked on the bus not staring at the ground....i never got to tell him how i felt about those little snapshots i have of him....and i will never get to tell him

he disappeared in one of australia's great ocean mysteries.....on a sailing boat called the patanella....they said he was involved ....there were drugs etc...i dont believe it.....him and his sister were the kindest most thoughtful young adults i remember...just good peeps are probably bored to death of me telling my ill just say i could concentrate on how kids were often cruel to me..or how my step dad was often unloving towards me and angry all the time and call me horrible names..or i can concentrate in the good i see in people...i try my very hardest no matter what cruelty and ignorance i see an hear concentrate on the good ......and it isnt easy....i have had long term relationships ....most of my relationships last past the six month mark ....longest fifteen years.....and i believe one of the reasons why my relationships last for because i find the good in people that's there to be found....and i hold on tight....maybe too tight and too forgiving ...but...i accept that

i make slideshows of little snapshots i discard ...i bring them back to memory...a smile...a hug....a feel good moment i deemed unimportant....and i remember just like me...people make mistakes and are human.....i try to find the good in what has happened to me and i try to be like michael and sue ....and i talk to people.....and make people feel welcome....and honestly helping others has gotten me through some pretty dark know i think im going to try to locate sue......and im going to tell her she made a difference in my life.....she probably wont remember...or if she does she will remember the shy girl sitting on her port down the road from her....and im going to tell her how sorry i was to hear of her brother.....and that i often think of both of them....or at least ill write a letter even if i never send it.....writing down all the beautiful i remember about them...because thats what you can color photographs with.....what you remember that was beautiful suddenly...your past isnt as dark as you thought it was theres splashes of sunlight .....and goodness..and you take that sunlight and goodness into new relationships...with a sense of ...hope....and a brand new perception ...i wish you well..

ps you thought your post was long....:0)...haha beat cha..deb
in the ache of night,luminous prayers take fragile flight,
somewhere between battalions of warring sins,
there exists hope and love for peace begins...deb

Last edited by todreaminblue; 4th February 2018 at 9:04 AM..
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Old 5th February 2018, 9:35 PM   #9
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I had very similar experiences as you. Itís almost eerie to read. Iíve not found a way to resolve it bc it doesnít seem that therapists are really into undoing previous damage.
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Old 6th February 2018, 12:04 AM   #10
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EMDR could help.
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Old 6th February 2018, 9:29 AM   #11
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OP much respect for outlining everything here, having the introspection and willingness to explore it all in the aim of understanding and strengthening yourself. It’s of particular interest to me and I’d consider myself in a similar position if that means anything. You’re far from alone. I have some of the same symptoms you describe such as lack of self-esteem, self-assertiveness and at times feeling very isolated with fear/realization of rejection. This of course is highly relevant in romantic relationships. To an extent these are normal fears and we all have doubts but I’ve definitely realised they are more profound for me and it can be a downward spiral. I also lacked a male role model, a step father from 7 onwards whom for most of my childhood I had a fractious relationship with. When I think back now, ultimately I think the rows were caused with him wanting to take a firmer parenting style than my mother had taken. Though it’s difficult to recall before that age, it certainly suggests that my mother had indeed had a very soft parenting style, for want of a better word. The info in here is highly interesting for many I’m sure. I’m in a fairly okay place but noticing these things more and more I have decided to get some therapy to dig into this a bit more. It’s interesting and ultimately anyone can benefit from therapy to a degree.

You’re doing the right things and there’s good advice here. Keep active, light hearted, don’t be afraid to be more selfish I’ve found works, treat yourself, watch comedy, and slowly make shifts upwards in terms of a spring in your step and confidence you are about good things, and good things will come. Wish you the best, feel free to PM me and I’m sure they’ll be some more interesting posts.
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