I wanted to carry on from last week where I had been discussing impostor syndrome and how I felt about it. In this blog I will be focusing on the personal relationships I have and how I feel about it from that perspective. It’s a tough one to write so I hope I can do it justice and articulate my feelings clearly on it.
I want to make it clear that I am very fortunate to have a great number of people around me who have been supportive over the last few months. Without them I would not be here. I know that some people are not as lucky and don’t have the support network needed to work through issues they are having. I am grateful for this. For those people not so lucky I want to be a person that they can come to and for me to try and help if I can. If you are reading this and feel isolated, alone and with no one to talk to, please contact me by any method or platform you feel comfortable with. I have been amazed and humbled by the number of people I know reaching out and sharing some of their personal struggles. We need to have an effective method of tackling the mental health crisis in the country. Through talking, listening, and sharing we can all do our bit to help someone in need.
Some of the emotions I feel about this particular subject still remain with me today, so this is a challenging piece for me to write. From an early age, probably as young as I can remember I have felt insecure about belonging to all the groups of friends and social networks I am connected with. I think to someone who doesn’t know me on the surface I can appear to have a wide group and range of friends and almost appear popular. I have played cricket for the same team and been connected to same club for over twenty years. That’s a long time and I have relationships that go back as long as that time. I have had the same group of close friends since my early teens, and they are truly the best people I know. I feel very lucky to be associated with them. I am also fortunate to have other groups of friends who have also been a great support over the last few months. My immediate family: mum, dad, two brothers, girlfriend and stepdad have been there for me and were the first on scene to try and help me when I was feeling at my lowest
All that being said, I have often felt like an outsider to every group I am amongst even with the closest people to me. I have thought about this a lot, especially over the last few months when I have been evaluating myself as a person. The thoughts of self-doubt are ever present with me. I think about whether they care and if so, why? What do I actually offer to these people in my life? I have made a lot of mistakes and have a number of regrets on how I have acted and treated people. So maybe I don’t deserve to be happy, maybe I don’t deserve to be loved and cared about. OK I haven’t murdered anyone or done anything seriously bad….yet, but I have had a few run ins with Jonny Law. I am deeply ashamed of this and some of my family and friends probably aren’t aware of it. I was once arrested for being drunk and disorderly. Not my finest hour I can tell you and the eighty-pound fine that went with it stung like crazy too. I was arrested in Alnwick, Northumberland of all places. Where there is around one police officer per twenty thousand people. I told you there were going to be some juicy stories within these blogs. I had been walking home from a night out and the police had stopped to check I was OK. Apparently, I became abusive and was bundled into the back of the van. Waking up in a cell the next morning freezing cold, still half cut, and not knowing what I had done was pretty terrifying, but this was when I was twenty years old. You think it would have been the wake-up call that maybe drinking wasn’t for me. Only took me eleven years to figure it out.
If we take my closest friends, I look upon what I bring to the table versus what they do. Ross, Mikey, and Jack have an abundance of qualities unique to them. Ross helps us all massively in terms of pushing us with our own self-development and making sure we always do things together, so we all remain close. He is also incredibly loyal to his friends and won’t take anyone messing us around. Mikey makes me laugh in ways no one else does and is also incredibly loyal to all his pals. He is always there when you need him. Jack and I are very similar in personality and humour, but he is kinder, more reliable, and again never lets you down with emotional support. I envy them all equally for many different reasons and look upon their lives having achieved a lot more than me. When I evaluate myself, I think well what are they getting from me? I honestly don’t know. I consider myself to have been at times a burden to them all. I often question why they have remained my friends for as long as they have. Its probably a testament to their characters. I can recall many instances where we have been in each other’s company whether it be out on nights out or just hanging around with one another and not feeling totally secure. This has led to overcompensation in the way I have acted, for example saying something stupid or inconsiderate in the situation we are in. My over consumption of alcohol has caused them to have to look after me on nights out disrupting their own enjoyment. I can see that I have acted very selfishly on many occasions which is why I have these feelings of self-doubt about why they continue to be my friends. You might say that this is what friends do for one another, but my questions would be to that is what are they getting in return from me? I often think well am I tolerated in moderation? I don’t feel good enough to have their friendship.
Fixing these feelings is tough. Stopping drinking in comparison is easy, that’s a quick remedy. You stop doing something and immediately things change. The time it will take for me to be at complete ease with all of this may take longer. I know I have many things to work on and being a more reliable friend is high on my agenda.
Within my other friendship circles, again the feelings of being an outsider are prevalent. Just never quite fitting in, or certainly that is the way I perceive it. The lack of confidence and self-doubt I have about my character leads to these feelings. I always sense I am on the periphery, not quite fully accepted but I have hung around these people that long they have become accustomed to who I am, and they aren’t able to get rid of me. Carrying these emotions and thoughts around with me I can tell you is in no way fun.
Within my family, I can on occasion feel like a bit of an alien. I look at my two brothers with a lot of admiration for different reasons. They have achieved a great deal with their lives so far and they are both extremely intelligent people. I am not, or certainly don’t feel it. I think of myself as someone with average intelligence with a half decent vocab which probably acts as a veil to my intelligence level. It isn’t healthy to compare yourself to others but its very hard not to do so when those people are your family. If my parents were to compare us, then I would think they would conclude that I am a let-down in comparison to my siblings. I don’t think they would do that, but this is how my brain operates at times, fucked up right. I have a good relationship with both my parents and stepdad and appreciate the help, guidance and support they have given to me. But again I question whether I have reciprocated this? The choices I have made, the errors I have made and heartache I have inflicted don’t lead me to surmise that I have done. They have had to clean up behind me when I have made errors. Again, you might think well this is part of being a parent, but I don’t see it that way, I am responsible for my actions, and I haven’t always taken the consequences of them.
And lastly, before you all switch off completely, I must acknowledge the partners I have had in my life as well as my current (ha) girlfriend. I have been let down, left broken hearted on a couple of occasions. I know what you are thinking right now, how is that possible Nick? When you are a solid eight of ten in all areas (except personality – ten) why has anyone made the foolish decision to leave you? Well for quite a number of reasons probably but let’s unpack that another time. When you love someone and they tell you they no longer want to be with you, that’s hard to take. But everyone goes through that, usually. That doesn’t make it any easier though. The feelings of rejection, not being good enough and being told so in no uncertain terms (thank you for that) is not good for the old soul. At the time it can feel like your world is ending, but life goes on and you have to accept it. That doesn’t mean that the scars left by that past partner isn’t felt longer term. I have certainly held onto the bitter feelings of rejection and inadequacy right up until this present day. My ex-girlfriend of three and a half years saw me at some of my worst moments and I think I eventually pushed her so far away that we ended up drifting apart. I carry the full blame for this and felt after for some time that she was a lot better off without me. I hope she finds happiness and someone who treats her in a way she deserves, I never did.
Chloe, my girlfriend has had a lot to put up with me since we have been together which is coming up to three years, but she is supportive and caring to me. I have questioned why this is the case? Why does she love me? Do I offer enough in return? You can see the pattern can’t you. not feeling worthy in this aspect has been caused by past traumatic experiences with other partners.
In all my friendships, relationships whether it’s with family or girlfriends I struggle to feel good enough for them. I want to, believe me but this is a long path to feeling completely at ease with myself. I hope I get there.
Thanks for reading, longest one yet!