Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me

Tuesday, May 6 2014 Gabe Howard

Having an anxiety disorder is like someone following you, whispering in your ear, "I hate you." Learn how to deal with anxiety saying that "everyone hates me."

I am a strong person, physically. At six-foot-three inches tall and 250 pounds, most people wouldn't waste their breath arguing that assertion. And, whether because of, or in spite of, my bipolar and anxiety diagnoses, I consider myself to be strong mentally, as well. I am intelligent, accomplished, likeable, and successful.

Despite the mountains of evidence of this, my brain works diligently to convince me that every interaction I have with another person is a misstep. If I text someone and they don’t reply back, it is obvious they are mad at me. If someone doesn't answer the phone when I call, say hello when they pass by, or reply to my email, then my mind goes into what can only be described as an emotional roller coaster. It isn't a fun, state-of-the-art roller coaster, either. It’s an old wooden one, poorly maintained, and it’s painful when it turns corners. The ride up the first hill is jerky, slow, and the anticipation sends shock waves I can feel all over my body. It is emotionally, physically, and even mentally straining. It is fear, panic, anticipation, and dread all rolled into one giant full body panic attack.

Anxiety Convinces Me That Everyone Hates Me

Having an anxiety disorder is like someone following you, whispering in your ear, "I hate you." Learn how to deal with anxiety saying that "everyone hates me." At that moment, I feel as though everyone I know is mad at me. They all disrespect me, think I am stupid, and do not want me in their lives any longer. Quite simply, my anxiety says everyone hates me.

Now, on top of all the other emotions, guilt forms. I feel guilty that I put someone in such a difficult position. I imposed by reaching out to them. Asking them a question, for a favor, or simply saying hello was uncalled for. I should not have done it and, since I’m a good person, I want to apologize. I want to reach back out to them and ask if they are mad, if they are okay, what I did wrong, and let them know I want to make amends. I want to set things right.

I Just Want the Anxiety to Stop

More often than not, what does get me in trouble and where I do make a mistake is by war dialing, constantly texting or e-mailing, or asking them one too many questions about why something is a certain way. Even apologizing for a legitimate mistake can be over the line, if handled the wrong way.

Ninety-seven times out of a hundred, the reason I didn't hear back was because the person was busy, in a meeting, mulling it over, or because people have things to do other than answer me. In the rare occasions where I did make a mistake, offend, or bother someone, the issue is generally cleared up quickly with an explanation and an apology. The people in my life know that I am a good person and don’t intentionally hurt others and they doubly know I wouldn't intentionally hurt them.

Ignoring the Anxiety that Says that Everyone Hates Me

It is hard to sit back, relax, and not engage the anxiety. It baits me to do something I will later regret. I work with my therapist to find techniques to calm down and I explain to my friends and family that when I ask if they are mad me, it is because I genuinely care and I want to make sure they are okay. I am also honest in admitting that checking in with them alleviates my suffering. Often, it is more about me than about them, and they understand that.

There are as many ways to alleviate anxiety as there are people. It is trial and error, but there are techniques that work for many people. Mindfulness, meditation, advanced preparation, sleep hygiene, therapy, and medication can all be used to control this disorder. But the biggest factor in this will always be me.

You can find Gabe on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and his website.


Author: Gabe Howard

View all posts by Gabe Howard.

Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me

Emily
says:
May, 8 2014 at 3:35 pm

I can relate to this a lot! Recently my worst fears came true when a friend of ten years had really been secretly annoyed and angry with me and broke off our friendship. Now I'm even MORE paranoid and it's hard to get past it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
May, 8 2014 at 3:51 pm

Hello Emily!
I have had many a person become annoyed with me and cut me out of their lives. Some have told me why and some literally just stop replying, answering the phone, etc. As people we tend to remember the "hits" and forget the "misses". In other words the <em>numerous</em> times that the person didn't respond because they were busy gets overshadowed by the single time that something was wrong. It is difficult to focus on the positive interactions when we are so very afraid of the negative ones. Thank you for reading and commenting it is very much appreciated. ~Gabe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Arvind
says:
January, 22 2016 at 5:38 pm

I can relate to every single word of yours like a fish relates to water. It sounded like you were talking about me. I've only started feeling this way for last 1 year. Before that I used to have people call me from the other side of the world as to how I've been the biggest inspiration for them and how I've motivated so many just by being me and enjoying life. I don't know why I'm writing this but I guess it is a call for help or just another moment of me losing control. I don't know. I want to be happy. I have all the resources, amazing friends and a super supportive family to make that happen. I've travelled the world. Done things that most never even imagine o f doing. Achieved so much that I've felt like king of the earth. And yet again here I am trying to save myself. Sometimes I feel like I might not be able to make it. I don't want to die yet. I think I'm too logical and rational to end up taking my life. But sometimes........ I'm crying now.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

January, 26 2016 at 12:34 pm

Hello Arvind,
Gabe is no longer writing for HealthyPlace, so he is unable to respond to comments. You are definitely not alone. The "everyone hates me" feeling that Gabe wrote about is, as you already know, such a common experience for those of us who live with anxiety. Your current experiences with anxiety don't change or erase anything you wrote about. You are all of those amazing things. Some people have found it helpful to think of anxiety as a weed or some sort of invasive species; it's not you but is something that is trying to overtake you. You can do little things such as changing your focus, being mindful, ignoring the thistles as you do something joyful, etc. moment by moment to cut back the weed. This is just one thing of many to deal with anxiety and reclaim yourself. Hang in there.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kirsty
says:
March, 10 2016 at 3:22 am

Just one day at a time. Xoox

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Guin
says:
February, 9 2016 at 12:08 pm

Could it just be possible that, adult children selfishly have no place for you in their lives after you don't have that much help like in the past.
Part of the anxiety can be me but some of it is founded in reality.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Shaman
says:
July, 25 2016 at 1:35 pm

some is , and everyone faces the reality of negative social interactions, but you have come to this page because you feel like even people you know usually are on your wing and believe in you, might be upset with you if you don't hear from them on a constant basis, or if you have a difference of opinion in a conversation that they will hold it against you. Even though they usually end up later revealing they are still your friend, and that they were simply busy facing their own daily reality gauntlet. you feel constant guilt and regret even if it is unattributed, and are illogically apprehensive to go out in public, make important calls,or open mail sometimes. You are nervous all the time, with no reason, always waiting for the worst and picturing the things in your head that could happen. the worst part is that you act on your suppositions and assumptions, later you find out you've acted or spoken in haste and were wrong. These become true real life regrets. self manifested obstacles. I don't know how to fix this, but I know we've got to really get to know anxiety ,flesh and bones, because it is our worst enemy.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kristin
says:
September, 22 2016 at 1:31 am

I have bad anxiety feel so alone also lost

Ruth A.
says:
May, 9 2014 at 11:25 am

I feel sad and feel anxious when I see that my FB friends seem to purposely ignore my mental health related posts yet jump in to "like" everything else. What gives!?! In public anxiety makes me feel like there is no room, like I'm gonna faint (and have)...like I can't breathe and people think I'm stupid and hate me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
May, 9 2014 at 11:58 am

Hello Ruth-
I want you to know that gets me every time. When I post about things related to mental illness on Facebook I end up with much fewer comments and "likes" than when I post about going to a sporting event. What does make me happy is the most "likes" I ever received was when I announced my engagement to my wife. It is hard to remember not to turn my <em>opinion</em> into a fact. Thank you for reading and commenting. ~Gabe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Ruth A.
says:
May, 9 2014 at 12:46 pm

Thank you for being brave and sharing your truth! It matters and encourages us to keep going. -R

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Thoby D
says:
June, 21 2014 at 6:18 am

Keep in mind how society views things. They may be...afraid? A girl I used to work with, her boyfriend was put on anxiety medication. He posted a few things on facebook about it and how much better he felt. She was mad and yelled at him for it. She didn't want people knowing.

Same may be here. If they like posts, what will others think?...kind of thing.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
June, 23 2014 at 6:53 am

Thoby D - Thanks for the excellent point! Many people aren't open about their issues and others want to be -- but can't because of family, job, or societal pressures. Thanks for reading and commenting! ~Gabe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Rie
says:
July, 2 2015 at 2:34 am

Sometimes people don't respond simply because they gave no idea what to say. It's foreign to them. I think also, they fear they may say the wrong thing.

Freddy
says:
May, 9 2014 at 11:28 am

Would it be fair to acknowledge the irony in the fact that this is probably the most accurate description relating to my anxiety that I've read? Thank you for making your story so easy to relate to. The fact that you mentioned the term 'sleep hygiene', which has been one I've had discussed with me a lot lately gave me a sense of relief in itself.
Let's not ignore that feeling of when those long awaited call or text replies arrive, and we have to say what we want to say to them after mentally abusing ourselves - or worse - what the person "will most probably" say to us! Surely, that's not just me.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
May, 9 2014 at 12:00 pm

Freddy - I am glad I could "hit the nail on the head!" You are welcome and feedback likes yours makes it easier to share my story. I often focus on the negatives of being so open about my mental illness. Thank you for giving me a giant positive one. Keep reading and commenting! :) ~Gabe

Mary Beth Palm
says:
May, 9 2014 at 1:22 pm

Hi Gabe! Anxiety behaviors are awful. I have practiced putting myself in another's shoes/ lives asking myself what I might be feeling or thinking if I were that person getting my texts etc. it really helps me get the focus on them and off me- my friends are great people with great lives and it helps me give them the benefit of the doubt. When my friends dont respond to my mental health posts it reminds me we're kinda like pioneers getting the message out in social media- in time folks will get more educated and less uncomfortable with the posts! I appreciate you!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
May, 9 2014 at 10:37 pm

Thanks, Mary Beth, for your comments and for sharing. I like being a pioneer. :) I appreciate you, too! ~Gabe

Amy C
says:
May, 12 2014 at 5:38 pm

Wow! Gabe, thank you for writing this--it makes me feel better to know I am not the only one who thinks this way sometimes! I have to constantly remind myself not to take little things so personally, or that my reaching out to others is not "bothering" them. I guess we anxious types feel like we have to apologize for existing sometimes!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
May, 12 2014 at 6:06 pm

Amy - Thank you for reading. It is greatly appreciated. Be well! ~Gabe

Kim
says:
May, 12 2014 at 7:55 pm

Thanks so much for this message. I have spent the past week at the hospital with my Dad who has Alzheimer's . We are preparing to put him in care. This stressful time is playing havoc with my own personal anxiety and this post is what I needed to read today. It is great to hear that others share the same challenges that I do. It helps me keep my own challenges in perspective. Keep up your great work Gabe!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
May, 12 2014 at 8:55 pm

Kim - My best to you and your family. Thank you for reading and commenting. I know these can be stressful times and anxiety doesn't wait for things to be better! Best, Gabe

Ruby
says:
June, 20 2014 at 10:01 pm

My self-image and self-esteem has plummeted and my mind says I am unworthy of being loved or married. However I am the one that ends all romantic relationships. I am the one who is slow to trust that a persons wants my friendship, all the while I know I have great traits and genuine kindness to offer. I am clinically and chronic depressed. I isolate because of anxiety &amp; my depression. So it's a vicious circle. My mind is also telling me that I am unworthy of a life I desire. Which is full of closeness, a husband, best friends, a sense of belonging to a community. I even believe that my family is embarrassed by my lack of success and accomplishments, my life.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
June, 23 2014 at 6:49 am

Ruby - I understand the "little voice in your head" telling you these things. I have that little voice, too, and I hate it. I understand that you feel this way but it is important to know that how we <em>feel</em> isn't always in line with what is true. Everyone is worthy of happiness, friends, and love. Thank you for reading and commenting and I wish you well. You are successful just by acknowledging that you have anxiety and depression. Keep moving forward. All the best, Gabe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kristin
says:
September, 22 2016 at 1:34 am

I dont know who i am hide away 4fm the world anxiety is hard but i know im strong and wil get tho ive made it so far

DWALK
says:
June, 20 2014 at 10:18 pm

It is a terrible feeling...feel that no one.understands it. I never thought of it as anxiety just loss of.acceptance. Felt if I can never please anyone and feel any.choice I make will hurt anyone. Then I blow everything out of proportion and feel that I have destroyed a relationship and will be alone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
June, 23 2014 at 6:51 am

Thank you for reading and commenting, DWALK. I know that many people do not understand anxiety but many people do. I know it doesn't help get rid of the negative thoughts and feelings but it is important to know you are not alone. I wish you the best. ~Gabe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Tim
says:
November, 9 2014 at 9:10 am

What if this anxiety is just pure drama and in reality everybody else is just so tired of the anxious person thinking everything is horrible and that nothing is good,and is so tired of showing them the truth that they just give up on trying any longer and they just stop relating with you making you believe that they are mad when in reality they love you but you are a drama queen.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
November, 12 2014 at 3:28 pm

It is possible that the person is a drama queen and needs to take responsibility for their actions. It is also possible they need better treatment options to control the anxiety. If the person’s anxiety is not under control they need to take responsibility and seek treatment. Living in that much pain is frustrating for them, too.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Terry
says:
April, 4 2015 at 1:32 am

Tim in reality you realize being a drama queen is a behavior that has been developed by someone who is insecure, some people can control it better than other, but everybody has it. If you are unwilling to listen to it than be brave and tell the person you have this problem with that they are a drama queen. If you feel you are above it, and you are never a drama queen you are sadly mistaken. Maybe the reality is you lack the patience to endure other people's insecurities and have a coping mechanism that allows you to judge them so you feel your reality is justified. Easy to judge it's harder to have patience.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

jarret
says:
November, 6 2015 at 6:00 pm

im 13 and nobody i know cares about me, i thought that my 2 cousins did, but even they hate me. all my mom does is abuse me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 7 2015 at 5:37 pm

Hello Jarret,
I'm so sorry to read about your situation. It can be very common, including during the middle school years, for people to feel that nobody cares. However, this is taken to a new level when abuse is involved. It is very important to reach out for help. Admittedly, it's not easy. Is there a single adult that you feel even a little comfortable connecting with. Someone at school, in other organizations you are connected with, etc.? Some communities have places teens can go in these situations. A very good resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ They offer a 24/7 phone service as well as online chatting. They listen, and they can point you to resources in your area. You're worth it.

Tara
says:
September, 11 2014 at 8:31 pm

Gabe, I just read this article and it was basically like a synopsis of my life in regards to communicating with my friends. How do you deal when someone does not respond to your text or call you back? I always instantly think they are mad at me, so I think up scenarios where I reason why they may be upset with me. Of course, the latter is almost never true and there is always a reason why they did not respond. However, I hate these feelings and it drives me nuts because it does create a trend where I end up texting the person several times until a response is warranted. How do you deal w/ things like this? As someone with anxiety, I feel like this is one of my biggest challenges and it is something that has been very difficult to overcome.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
September, 13 2014 at 9:04 am

Hello Tara -

As you would imagine, I deal in a variety of ways. Some healthy and some not so healthy. I do my best to take a moment and realize that <em>I</em> don't respond to every text message immediately, so it stands to reason others don't either. I have worked on this a lot in therapy and I have found anti-anxiety medication to be helpful as well. It also took time. Finally, I also do my best to distract myself after I send a text. Focusing on other things keeps my mind from starting the spinning cycle. Thank you for reading and commenting! ~Gabe

Sharon
says:
October, 9 2014 at 8:12 pm

Thank you for writing this story. This is my daughter to a tee. She is 18 freshman in college away from home and it has gotten worse. Has anyone tried medication and if so do they work. I would like to get this under control, she is so young.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
October, 11 2014 at 11:40 am

Thank you, Sharon, for reading and writing. I take anxiety medication and have for many years. The correct medication, taken as prescribed, has excellent success rates. Every person is different, but I could not live without my medication. Thank you for reading and commenting. ~Gabe

sharon
says:
October, 12 2014 at 9:15 pm

Did your family doctor help with medications or did you go to a special doctor.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
October, 14 2014 at 10:59 am

In many cases general practitioners (family doctors) <em>will</em> help. But, if you are able to afford it, I recommend a specialist. I wouldn't allow my family doctor to treat my cancer -- so I'm not about to allow him/her to treat my mental illness. The important thing is for you to be comfortable. Any treatment is better than no treatment. Thank you for reading and commenting! :) ~Gabe

jessie
says:
October, 22 2014 at 10:53 pm

I always feel like people hate me or think I'm a b#@$&amp;. I can bev standoffish. My husband and our (his) friends are very outgoing and happy and I am never like that. I am negative and I hate that about myself. I know my husband and friends get so annoyed with me because i can 've so difficult but no matter whatI try to do to cchange it always seems like something stupid comes out of my mouth and they hate me more. I thought about going on mood meds but I'm afraid a doctor Wil think I'm lying or that I'm making things up or that I can't change my personality. Idk what to do.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
October, 24 2014 at 1:20 pm

Therapy and medication can certainly help with negative thoughts and feelings. It isn't magic -- but hard work and a little help from medicine/therapy can go a long way. Thank you for reading and commenting and I wish you the best. Big HUGS - Gabe

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Missy
says:
August, 15 2015 at 9:28 am

Jessie you sound just like me. I hate myself lately, I feel like how could anyone like me? I don't try and be nasty or standoffish, but I know I come across that way. The worst thing for me is thinking that no matter what I do, everyone will automatically dislike me. I'm nearing 40 now when I feel I should be at ease in my own skin, but it's quite the opposite :-(

Deb
says:
October, 25 2014 at 10:18 pm

I've felt like this since I was a teenager and it's ruined almost every friendship I've had, I just don't bother to make friends anymore. I am also an artist and feel like I need approval all the time since it the only way I can express myself to others and have them like me at least a little since I am so bad at talking with others. I feel more comfortable online and on facebook , but not much really and most of my "friends" on there are either family or freinds of family or like my art.I'm lucky I at least feel comfortable to share art anyway so that's something I guess. I feel like I'm going to be like this the rest of my life at this point. Part of me is comfortable with it since I feel safer all alone , but I know it's not right and I am very ashamed of it.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
October, 27 2014 at 10:28 am

Hello Deb -

Living with anxiety is a hard thing. It takes a lot out of a person and is a daily struggle. But, we must fight back. We must soldier on and lead the lives we deserve. Thank you for commenting and reading. You are not alone -- there are many of us right there with you. Hugs, Gabe

Nina
says:
November, 4 2014 at 8:20 pm

My God, I feel like this all the time. It sucks, because I start getting so close to people and then the anxiety pops up and I suddenly feel like they all secretly hate me and talk bad about me when I'm not around. I never know how to alleviate it--trying to ignore it usually makes me even more anxious and worried. It makes me so sad, because I feel so alone and then I end up feeling like no one ever cares about me anyway... And then, I start thinking that maybe I need to change something about myself to make myself more likeable, and it all just turns out the same way. I go into these states of anxiety and depression, and I just want someone to pull me out of it, but no one is ever around when I need them, and I wind up feeling like everyone hates me and doesn't want to help me... It's such a mess, and I really want to get over this!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
November, 4 2014 at 11:52 pm

As you can tell -- I understand completely. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. ~Gabe

PK
says:
November, 13 2014 at 2:20 am

Hi Gage, thanks for sharing your feeling. I always felt this anxiety, throughout my life. I would make friends easily, and then, they would all get annoyed of me, and end up not returning my texts or phone calls. Admittedly, I have been really rude and selfish to my family. And now my mom tells me that basically everybody hates me in the family. I admit it's true because I been a selfish asshole my whole life. The thing is, I grew up being the only boy in a conservative Asian family. I'm also an introvert, and have problems making small talk with people. Please help me, since I keep making these mistakes. I'm close to 40 years old now, and have been fired from my last 4 jobs, because people thought I was an arrogant asshole, and hard to work with. I feel like I cannot change.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
November, 13 2014 at 9:26 am

PK - Everyone can change. Everyone. It doesn't mean it is overnight and it doesn't mean everyone will accept the changes . . . BUT . . . It is possible. And, step one, is admitting you want and/or need to makes changes. You are making great progress just by admitting you need to make some changes in your life. That has a lot of power and you should be proud of your willingness to seek help. Keep working, keep making small changes, and remember to focus on your successes -- and not on your failures.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

PK
says:
November, 14 2014 at 12:30 am

Hi Gabe, thanks for replying so quick. Is there any book you recommend reading? I also looked online and saw a group for SAD - social anxiety disorder. I figure I will check this out, since I have always been kinda shy as well.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Gabe Howard
says:
November, 15 2014 at 7:44 am

Hello PK - There isn't a book I recommend. There are so many and they all kind of cover different things. It should come as no surprise I recommend the HealthyPlace community -- I believe in what we all do. Best of luck on your journey -- and please keep reading and commenting. You are always welcome at HealthyPlace! :) ~Gabe

Stephanie
says:
December, 2 2014 at 12:14 pm

Hi Gabe - I really appreciated reading this. I was actually looking for advice for my son who often comes home from school saying "everyone hates me." But this really resonated with me. I often wonder what I did wrong when friends who used to respond don't. I think I am a pretty kind, likeable person but am always living in fear that I have unknowingly done something wrong and that I am being shunned for it. It was very helpful to hear that others have similar experiences. Thanks for starting this conversation.

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