The Paranoia Of Low Self Esteem
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Student Life

The Paranoia Of Low Self-Esteem

How people’s laughter towards me moved beyond self-fulfilling prophecy.


I'm halfway into believing in self-fulfilling prophecy and overreacting.

It was a typical lunchtime routine at the local rec center. I was coordinating getting my class at the table for lunch. A large group of summer camp kids came in after us.

Spring and summer are not good seasons for me. I sweat A LOT, I need my inhaler on me at all times so I can breathe, and my face and lips peel. A few of the boys in the summer camp were looking at how much I was sweating and were laughing and pointing at me.

I wanted to approach their camp counselor about the situation, but I didn't want to admit that these kids had power over my emotions.

I tried to rationalize that maybe they weren't laughing at me. I was just overreacting because of my past filled with similar instances of bullying; however, every time I looked at them, they quickly looked away and unsuccessfully held their snickering back.

I hate that I'm constantly aware when those around me laugh. Are they laughing at me? Is my hair a mess right? No, I look like a gorilla right? Or maybe their laughing at my lame clothing. Perhaps it's my weight this time.

These are all things I'm pretty sure I've been laughed at for my whole life. Well, except maybe clothing; I'm not sure if I've been laughed at for that. But see how easy it was for me to add that into the list?

I don't care for the clothes I wear, so because of the other things I'm laughed at for, I just include clothes in it. So when someone does ask why I'm wearing something or comments on the color or texture, I automatically think its a way of bullying.

My mother (and others) remark on how sensitive I am to the opinions of others. That my attention to this detail makes me paranoid enough to make people want to make fun of me. Basically, I make my own misery.

Can one's opinion of oneself actually make those around you feel the same way? Has my entire childhood and now life in my 30s have been through the lens of someone paranoid? How does one distinguish between fact and opinion when one has only been given opinions? At what point does a fact come from an opinion - or is that the way it works?

Whenever someone goes through a string of bad relationships, people always give them tough love by telling them that the common denominator in all their situations is them. All their relationships ending the same way is because the reasoning was something they didn't want to own, but it was a fact.

In all my bullying, they all say the same thing. I'm ugly. My hair is a mess. I'm fat. So, shouldn't I also consider these attributes of myself to be true? Years after high school, even little kids say the same things about me that my peers did 20 years ago.

Because so many people have done this to me, is my life self-fulfilling prophecy, or a fact? All I know is that other people's laughter triggers me. Their index finger pointed at me triggers me. Sometimes when I come across those that are prettier, slimmer, hair done, and better dressed triggers me because I know I can't look like them.

That's the cycle of paranoia when others control your self-esteem. What you feel for yourself is confirmed in others. Many others who exhibit the confirming behaviors previously then feel like the opinions of yourself are true and not opinion. Low self-esteem is born.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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