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Old 05-02-2010, 08:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default Obsessing Over Mistakes

I can't stop obsessing over embarrassing things I've said or done in the past. My brain keeps dredging up all of these old memories. Some of them are over fifteen-years-old. Every time I think of one, I get really angry at myself. It's like my brain wants me to be miserable. Does anybody else here have the same problem?
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Old 05-02-2010, 08:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
 
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ME! I have a lot of stupid mistakes and embarrassing things and I keep reliving them over in my head and it's really annoying.
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Old 05-02-2010, 10:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Once upon a time this very thing was a major component of my depression. I could pace and berate myself out loud, for hours, for weeks, over such insignificant little bull**** as having forgotten someone's name, or stumbled through a presentation, or awkwardly delivered a compliment, anywhere from a week to fifteen years in the past.
Last month this happened to me: someone called out OH HI THERE from across a busy store and I replied, thinking it was directed at me, an instant before the person standing behind me did. Crap, how embarrassing. This is the sort of thing over which I would beat myself up for days, and I could do the same thing here, or I could stop it before it started.

First, I recognized it's an irrational and overblown reaction. There is far too much guilt and shame for such a small social misstep, first of all, and second, it helps nobody, not even me, to feel pain over something so slight. Sometimes just telling myself this over and over negates the obsession.

Second, got angry. **** you, depression, this is completely out of proportion. This allows sometimes a bit of clear thinking.. as long as the anger is directed at the overreaction and not at myself, understand. Getting angry at the cause can also help - what was this woman thinking just screaming across a busy store? How rude.

Third, laughed it off. Well, smirked a little. With my dark sense of humor, depression/anxiety are funny to me in a way, and the little ways in which they manifest - like this one. If your tastes are more toward slapstick imagine a piano falling on somebody. Whatever; humor helps.

Fourth, reasoned it out.. this sort of thing doesn't help anybody, and doesn't really matter. I remembered the times I was on the other side of such an exchange. Last month I stopped to ask someone directions, and when she couldn't help me, she thanked me. Why? No reason, it was another such little mistake, and I didn't make a big deal of it at all, nothing bad happened. Then there was the time some guy forgot my name, and I didn't feel resentful about that either, so..

Eventually these steps turned automatic, nowadays I don't have to think about them at all. Whenever I feel some needless guilt/shame coming on I can smile, shrug, and it's gone. The effort is unconscious.

I hope this helps you guys a bit.
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Old 05-02-2010, 02:12 PM   #4 (permalink)
 
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Yeah. Some really bad memories make me yell out of embarrassment.
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Old 05-02-2010, 04:16 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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I do this a lot. I can't even forgive myself for things I did as a small child.
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Old 05-02-2010, 06:17 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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It's always the little things...I remember stuff from when I was 5 years old that makes my stomach twist in knots to this day. Luckily, I've been able to slowly adapt to a forgetful mindset. If something happens to me where I get embarrassed, usually the next day, it begins to take a blurry form. With each passing day, the event gets more and more blurry...
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Old 05-02-2010, 06:35 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wisteria View Post
It's always the little things...I remember stuff from when I was 5 years old that makes my stomach twist in knots to this day. Luckily, I've been able to slowly adapt to a forgetful mindset. If something happens to me where I get embarrassed, usually the next day, it begins to take a blurry form. With each passing day, the event gets more and more blurry...
How do you do this?
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Old 05-02-2010, 07:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I do this all the time.. Sometimes I lose sleep over things that are really trivial.. but embarrassing.

I'd love to learn how not to dwell.. Its just hard not to.. Its automatic these days
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Old 05-03-2010, 08:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VagueResemblance View Post

First, I recognized it's an irrational and overblown reaction. There is far too much guilt and shame for such a small social misstep, first of all, and second, it helps nobody, not even me, to feel pain over something so slight. Sometimes just telling myself this over and over negates the obsession.

Second, got angry. **** you, depression, this is completely out of proportion. This allows sometimes a bit of clear thinking.. as long as the anger is directed at the overreaction and not at myself, understand. Getting angry at the cause can also help - what was this woman thinking just screaming across a busy store? How rude.

Third, laughed it off. Well, smirked a little. With my dark sense of humor, depression/anxiety are funny to me in a way, and the little ways in which they manifest - like this one. If your tastes are more toward slapstick imagine a piano falling on somebody. Whatever; humor helps.

Fourth, reasoned it out.. this sort of thing doesn't help anybody, and doesn't really matter. I remembered the times I was on the other side of such an exchange. Last month I stopped to ask someone directions, and when she couldn't help me, she thanked me. Why? No reason, it was another such little mistake, and I didn't make a big deal of it at all, nothing bad happened. Then there was the time some guy forgot my name, and I didn't feel resentful about that either, so..

Eventually these steps turned automatic, nowadays I don't have to think about them at all. Whenever I feel some needless guilt/shame coming on I can smile, shrug, and it's gone. The effort is unconscious.

I hope this helps you guys a bit.
Great breakdown!

For years I used to be plagued by recurring thoughts of embarassing moments like these. It took me a long time to realize that they keep coming back because they haven't really been processed or dissected in a way like you've laid out. And once you think it through and see it clearly, it starts to seem silly that you ever worried so much about such a tiny thing. Then it stops coming back and bugging you.

The part about laughing about it is really key. And it helps to hear people saying they've been through the same thing, it helps you see the humor in it. Like saying hi to somebody that's talking to the person behind you. That cracked me up b/c I've done that before and I bet everybody has.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:35 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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Thats one of the worst things about my SA. I've been getting better about not dwelling on stuff like that recently.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:41 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akstylish View Post
Yeah. Some really bad memories make me yell out of embarrassment.
I do this too sometimes. Just out of the blue I'll remember something really embarassing I did a long time ago and reflexively cringe and blurt out "crap" or something else you can't type here. A couple of times I did this when other people are around. It's super embarassing. I just make up an excuse, like "I just remembered I had an appointment this morning I missed" or something like that, so I don't look completely crazy.
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Old 05-05-2010, 05:51 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milktoast View Post
I can't stop obsessing over embarrassing things I've said or done in the past. My brain keeps dredging up all of these old memories. Some of them are over fifteen-years-old. Every time I think of one, I get really angry at myself. It's like my brain wants me to be miserable. Does anybody else here have the same problem?
Story of my life. I have alot of guilt too.
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Old 05-07-2010, 03:05 AM   #13 (permalink)
 
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If I did something embaressing or stupid, I can't easily just shake it off, I ponder over it for days or hours.
I shouldn't though, I should just shake it off because the people who noticed my mistake/embaressment have probably gotten over it by now or didn't think it was that much of a big deal. Something I need to work on
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Old 05-07-2010, 06:14 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milktoast View Post
I can't stop obsessing over embarrassing things I've said or done in the past. My brain keeps dredging up all of these old memories. Some of them are over fifteen-years-old. Every time I think of one, I get really angry at myself. It's like my brain wants me to be miserable. Does anybody else here have the same problem?
I'd swear you were talking about me. That is exactly my problem too.
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Old 05-07-2010, 07:31 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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My automatic negative thoughts are basically all the stupid stuff I did as a child, so I empathize.
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Old 05-07-2010, 09:16 AM   #16 (permalink)
 
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I'm also dealing with this as well, not as bad lately. But still so irritating to try to stop thinking about it.
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Old 05-07-2010, 10:13 AM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Little embarrassing things i've done in the past are always lingering in my head. I feel so strange because when I complain to friends "I just can't forget it, I can't get over it", they act like it's nothing when it's a big deal to me. Just how do they do it..
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Old 02-19-2014, 05:11 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I can totally relate. I can't still get over some stupid things I did years ago
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:45 PM   #19 (permalink)
 
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Used to not any more learned to just let go

It's easy to think constantly about those thing as society is judging every thing looking for any form of weakness so we also look at our mistakes and weakness to maybe self prepare for the onslaught of criticism which some times doesn't come but better to be prepared mentally than not .

My key was to just not give a **** . When I gave up caring about what people thought and or said ( still listened but took what I need to out of it and dismissed the rest . Looked at things from their point of view ) I started to feel better and content with me . And my eyes opened .thing made a bit more sense .
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Old 02-19-2014, 07:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Have the same problem. Just last Sunday, I was trying to make a right turn onto a big, busy street, not noticing the no turn on red sign at the other side of the intersection. A couple bicyclists waiting at the light got mad and started yelling at me as I encroached on their crosswalk. Who gives a sh1t, right? Apparently, I do because I kept thinking about that for days afterward. Why didn't I notice that sign? I wonder what they were yelling at me?(windows up, I couldn't hear them). Most people wouldn't think twice about dumb stuff like this, but SA makes you obsess about anything where you come off "bad" in the eyes of other people. I try to shrug it off, but my mind just isn't wired that way.
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