General Question

Jude's avatar

Has this been you? You're normally a confident person, then something happens in your life and it shakes your confidence (temporarily). It hits you pretty hard and you have to build yourself back up again (maybe, through self talk)?

Asked by Jude (32112points) April 21st, 2009

What was it, if you don’t mind sharing?

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33 Answers

trumi's avatar

Break ups do that to me.

noelasun's avatar

I went through this really hard core about two years ago.
I went to a school where grades were given through oral evaluation of the student by the professors. My music professor called an emergency evaluation out of the blue with only 3 weeks of them semester left, and failed me. There was nothing at all to indicate that this would happen, and it left me doubting my ability to gauge my work. Though I could have stayed with one F, the whole incident left me so shaken that I had to take a semester off from the college and study in a completely different area for a year…
I went back last year, and re took the course successfully. By then though, the whole school method and program had lost its hold for me, and I was able to leave the school confidently.
I now refer to the experience as when I was bit by the rabid dog…

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I go through phases I guess… I’ll normally be really confident, I have a pretty good mentality when it comes to that most times.

but then every once in a while there’ll be a month or two(or six) where I’m a bit more shy than usual, no idea, but there’s not a whole lot I can do to shake it, it just kind of goes away after a while.

augustlan's avatar

I had one really bad breakup that left me pretty well shattered. I was engaged to be married, and he called it off. I was used to doing the breaking up, not being dumped – so it was a double whammy. Up until that happened to me I was supremely confident (overly so, actually). It took me quite some time to build up my confidence again, this time in a more realistic and healthy manner. I was never that same girl again, but I think that’s a good thing.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I think a lot of this has happened in connection to academics or others’ ideas about what my parenting should be like…but the only reason why I’d be shaken was if I was also dealing with having panic attacks/anxiety…when I’m on a bit of meds for that, nothing affects me as much

aviona's avatar

Yes it has. Usually involving a breakup or quitting something and feeling disappointed in myself. I’m kind of in the process of building myself up as we speak.

It involves self-talk, as you mentioned, as well as talking to others (therapist, psychiatrist, etc). and just taking the time to focus on myself in general.

I’m not working, I have the luxury of living with my parents rent-free (except for earning my keep through various chores). I exercise a lot, I go to the gym, take yoga, write, read, listen to music. I have a lot of free time and sometimes it’s lonely, but I have future goals in mind. And those future goals are things that I set for myself and involve myself and no one else. I’ve done other things, too, like Reiki and massage, just to treat myself right. Sometimes I feel like I don’t deserve it, since my life isn’t incredibly stressful right now (like what do I need a vacation from?).

But then I realized, while talking to my therapist, that it’s like putting money in the bank. I am building myself up to be that confident person again for the future so that once something happens, a hurdle, an obstacle, a trauma, a bump in the road, as you mentioned—I won’t completely fall apart as I have, so many times in the past. So then I don’t feel so bad about taking this ”me time.

adreamofautumn's avatar

I had a breakup that really shattered me, i’m still working on recovering. I could deal with the breakup, my confidence was shattered when she moved on and I just kept wondering “why not me? what does she have that I don’t have?” Over time my usual over-confident self is starting to find its way out again though.

Jude's avatar

@aviona I love the last part, about building yourself up, so, you’re able to overcome future obstacles (and don’t freakin’ fall apart). That’s what I am working on, as well.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

There was a person came into my life for a short time but they challenged every facet of self strength and focus I had. A whole new world was shown me, ugly truths I had thought didn’t exist any longer and my involvement with that person cost me my job, home, friends, lifestyle and my physical security for some time. Luckily I had good people who came through to guide me forward until I could salvage the parts of me that worked. I grew faster, stronger and surprisingly a lot more gentle after a number of years.

aviona's avatar

:) Thanks @jmah. That’s what’s making me not feeling guilty about it all and like I am some sort of self-indulgent leech.

Glad I could help a bit.

hug_of_war's avatar

I went to a prestigious university, and it was shocking going from being one of the top students to the middle of the pack, and I did really badly and dropped out. That was nearly 3 yyears ago, and it took me a long time to feel like an intelligent person again. Academics were always my thing, so it wasn’t easy. Now I’m glad for the experience (though not the financial ramifications), and I don’t feel dumb anymore, and now I go to a school that’s much better suited to me. I just don’t survive well among tons of hyper-competitive, type-A personalities, and I’m okay with that.

mcbealer's avatar

When I was in my early 20s and my best friend died. It was my first real loss, and I just couldn’t wrap my head around it.

Her death was very unexpected, the result of a tragic car accident – and she died within hours of graduating summa cum laude with an MBA in accounting.

cak's avatar

I was raped in college. It crushed me, as person. Not only was I violated in a horrible way, I knew the person. He didn’t slip something in my drink and I didn’t pass out. I was awake for the entire thing, beating too.

I questioned everything about myself. I questioned my choices in friends, I questioned whether or not I should kill myself. I cried when I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I scrubbed myself (after the humiliating examination) with a scrub brush, just trying to get the feeling of him off of me.

I jumped when someone touched me. I couldn’t stand the thought of ever being intimate with someone. I was a virgin when I was raped. He took something from me, that I wasn’t ready to give away, yet.

It took some time, but slowly, I started to heal. One day I woke up and said no more. I refused to be a victim, ever again. Now I volunteer at a women’s shelter. I help abused women – a lot of them have been raped, but never dealt with it. I sit with them. I listen. I know where they are. I don’t do this to feel better about me, I want to help someone else to get through it with support. No person should ever experience it, but if they do, they should never go it alone.

I am confident, I am okay and I made it to the other side. It just takes time and understanding your own inner strength…or building on that strength.

qashqai's avatar

Yes. Many times.
And all those times I grew up stronger than before.

That’s why I don’t regret any of the confidence-shakers incurred in my life. I owe a lot to them.

cyndyh's avatar

This has happened to me a few times. The last time was moving across the country a little more than two years ago. In some ways, some days, this is still sort of happening for me. Outside of my immediate family, there’s no one in town that I’ve known for longer than two years. There are days when that makes it hard for this place to feel like home. I’m working on it.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

I was a very outgoing and confident child until family issues tore my little world apart.. I’ve struggled ever since with it.

kayysamm's avatar

My ex boyfriend just broke up with me our of no where for nothing.

I’m normally one to walk with my head held high and a smile on my face not giving a crap what anyone thinks. Always an independent person. Until I met my ex, while dating him he was the other part of me that kept my confidence high and made me feel pretty and on top of the world. Normally I don’t need a guy for that.

He ripped that shit all out from underneath my feet and now I walk around and I honestly have stomach pains I’m that torn down. I’m trying to build myself up but its hard.

veronasgirl's avatar

I’ve been going through this for the last year. I fell in love with this guy, and he fell for me too. Unfortunately he had a girlfriend, who happened to be a good friend of mine. Sadly things got out of hand and I broke them up. He said he wanted to be with me, but I got scared and hesitated…so he got back together with her. I lost both of my best friends in one day. That experience shook my confidence to the core, it has taken me a year and a half to build myself back up from that. I’m not sure how I did it, I just took it one day at a time, some days I felt like a horrible worthless person, other days I just felt badly for myself. Honestly though, I think its all about putting time between yourself and the event that caused the problems. Time and experience makes us wiser.

Darwin's avatar

It happens again and again in life. The first time I was ever laid off did it, right after college, when the small business I worked for very suddenly (ie. overnight) went bankrupt with no warning. I had to pay rent so I had to pick myself up and get going again.

My first big break up in college, when my fiance’s mother arrived from overseas to keep her son from marrying someone she considered to be inappropriate at best. That was a tough thing to get over indeed, and it took me a long time to fall in love like that again.

It also happened when I realized that I was never going to complete my PhD, that my major professor not only despised me but ridiculed me publicly, and that apparently no one in the department was willing to stand up for me. I went into a major depression and developed agoraphobia. However, when the university promised to discipline the professor if I promised not to sue I was able to start thinking straight enough to find a career job in another state, apply for it, get it, and move on with my life.

My very first bad job evaluation did it. Although it was more due to my boss being angry that I reported him for sexual harassment and was rectified soon after, it still hit me hard.

The first time my husband ended up in the hospital for 12 weeks and I was left as a single mother of a toddler and a baby, with a full-time job, did it, too. That was when I had a breakdown and ended up on medications.

The first time my son started hallucinating and tried to kill himself and was then hospitalized and diagnosed as being bipolar. He was seven years old. Something like that really shoots down any confidence you might ever have had about being at least a decent parent, if not a good one.

The thing about life is that it will continually knock you down. You need to expect that and figure out how to pick yourself up again or else you will end up living a terrible, circumscribed and riskfree existence.

As the bumper sticker says, “Shit happens.” You have to learn to clean it up and move on to the next thing even if your stomach does hurt.

And if worse comes to worse, there is always better living through chemistry. For times like that, Xanax rocks!

adreamofautumn's avatar

@kayysamm I am in that exact some position. It’s a rough one to be in.

RedPowerLady's avatar

Yes I have been through this. When I lost my son. At first I went through just plain grief and mourning. Grief is a nasty monster. It has been a year and a half now since our loss. About 3–5 months ago I started realizing that what I am dealing with now is a lack of confidence. Grief progresses in many ways and most of them were easy to recognize. This one was not. It has been really frustrating for me to realize that I have lost confidence in myself and in the world. And it has been a huge struggle to start getting that back. I feel like a completely different person, not only from my loss but also from my lack of confidence. It is a beast but I’m sure it is one that can be tamed in time. Although it is hard to be that positive sometimes.

aprilsimnel's avatar

Please accept my condolences for your loss, @RedPowerLady.

I don’t know that I’ve ever been a confident person. I could waste time wondering if I would be more confident had my family been different from the get-go, but that doesn’t help me now. Reading about all your experiences here is helpful, because I’m totally seeing how I’m living that “circumscribed and riskfree existence” that @Darwin refers to, and it’s awful. Working to build myself up in the way that I should’ve had help with as a kid is scary. But not risking anything in life is worse. We all have to believe we are stronger than our circumstances and stronger than what fate throws at us; that we all can get up after being knocked down and become better people for our experiences.

Good luck to all of us.

cak's avatar

@RedPowerLady I’m so sorry for your loss.

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever been a terribly confident person, so when shit happens, I tend to not be very surprised. That’s just what happens to me. Sometimes. Actually, I think with lowered expectation coming from little confidence, I can actually be more grateful for the good stuff, because I’m so surprised that it happens. It also helps me to depersonalize the bad stuff. When you pretty much believe you can’t compete, then losing is normal, and doesn’t bother you so much. If you can avoid thinking about being a wuss, then you’re fine. Anyway, if you live with wussness, you learn not to expect much more, and the shit doesn’t bother you so much.

Anyway, that’s my pitch for not being confident. Kind of ironic (like just about everything). I’ve never thought of being a wuss as a good thing before. I think it’s a pretty decent adaptation to the vicisitudes of life.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Well, after all these answers, mine seems rather silly. Simply put, I thought I found a perfect place to express my creativity. Working in a Halloween haunted attraction. I threw myself into 110%. I spent time, money and energy on that fucking place for 15 months. I donated tons of things to it, stuff I spent gas money on, time searching for, and all of that. Then, I find out the motherfucking bastard that owns the place is a user, and a cheat, and a liar. It nearly ruined my self-confidence.

I rarely wish death or disfigurement on anyone. I do on that prick though. I hate it when people use me for my talents and then toss me away. I learned a valuable lesson though. I learned that anyting that seems to good to be true, usually is. Especially when it comes to other people.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@evelyns_pet_zebra I’ve had similar experiences and they do hurt the confidence sorely. It still makes me sick thinking of those experiences.

alossforwords's avatar

In order to find strength, one must first identify weakness.

…and what does not kill us, makes us stronger.

cyndyh's avatar

Nah, some things permanently maim us and make us weaker until we die much much later from something else entirely. It’s a nice idea, but really. :^>

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

@cyndyh I agree, those pretty words of ‘what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger’ are just that, words. They don’t mean a thing in the real world.

Darwin's avatar

OTOH, from personal experience I can say that some of the things that didn’t kill me (or actually my husband) have made me stronger and more interested in being proactive.

cyndyh's avatar

Some things, yes. But the older I get the more exceptions I see to that supposed rule. Now, it does just feel like words, like epz says. But I’m betting that by the time I’m my mom’s age that saying will likely send me into a proper rant. :^>

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