More Thoughts on Feeling Self Conscious of What People I Used to Know Think of Me
February 4, 2022
In a previous post, I talked about worrying about what people I used to know (Family members and people I used to know in the area where I live). Even though I talked a lot about feeling worried about what they think of me, I would like to talk more about this topic in another post.
When it comes to worrying about what the people I used to know think of me, I have one worry, and fear, that sticks out in my mind: How is their belief of who I really am, even though it is not based off truth in any way, shape, or form, will effect me in the future.It may seem like an odd thing to worry about, but to be honest, it matters in my situation. The people I used to know would talk about what they believe I do with my life, my morals, and anything, no matter how petty and small, as a legitimate reason for why I cannot have a job. Other times it’s to use as a reason why someone should not befriend me. Other times they used it as a way to embarrass me in front of people I wanted to impress for work reasons.
After years of tolerating this behavior, I finally had enough and cut everyone that treated me like this off from me. To be honest, I didn’t miss them at all. I felt at peace with my decision. My life was finally peaceful and I no longer had to worry like I once did.
That is, until the pandemic started.
People in the town I live near began to move back in hopes for a better life and to be hired for a job that would be easier than their old one. They also hoped to use their old family connections to the area to get favoritism to be hired in these jobs. Usually, they were right. They did get hired because of their family’s connections and they didn’t need to worry as much as they would’ve if they worked a different job.
In January 2021, enough people moved back into the area that my friends began to hear stories about why these people think and treat me the way they do. I was not only surprised by how open these people were about why they chose to target me, but I was completely shocked that their families, which are a very proud family, didn’t do something to stop them. Their families take pride in the way they treat people, but knowing one of their children targeted someone with manipulative behavior because of petty reasons, or in the case of some, outright jealousy for something petty, would spell disaster for their ideal, picture perfect image. Yet, it didn’t seem to have as much effect on them and their family’s image as I though it would. (Or, if it did, then I heard nothing about the effect on the family)
This really bothered me. I now understand why I couldn’t get a job in the town. I know now why people would talk about me behind my back. And I know now why these people are so “beloved”. It’s not because they are actually nice. It’s because everyone is afraid they’ll be their next victim!
Despite these problems and extremely large setbacks in my career and ability to earn a living, I know now what these people are and why they act the way they do. I get it now. And no, none of these things make me happy. It actually makes me sad. I never know how little opportunity I had here in this area to follow my dreams, work a job in a career field I not only enjoyed, but wanted to continue working in for as long as I could. It was one large closed door to me. And I had no idea it was closed until someone lifted the curtain off it to show that it actually was a door.
In December 2021, I began to struggle with my worry and fear of what people think about me again, only this time it wasn’t just for the locals. It was also for family members I no longer talk to… or even know.
For the past few years, I would occasionally receive letters and cards from a relative I no longer spoke to. After the death of one of my relatives in 2016, I was at last able to cut off all ties from certain relatives that I didn’t want to speak to. So, I did. And yet that didn’t stop them from sending me the occasional card and letter taking about how wonderful their lives are. I never responded because I don’t want them to know I received them. I think they figured that because the letters didn’t get sent back, I was still at the same mailing address and reading them. So, they didn’t stop until the pandemic.
In December, I began to receive them again. I never told these relatives about my health struggles, my career, or anything else about my life. Yet, they still think I’m the same person that I was back when I had to have contact with them. They would address me the same way, talk about the same things they think I need to hear, and seem to be completely oblivious to the fact I have no interest in talking to them. Especially after all the problems I had with them when my relative was still alive and I was still seriously ill with a long term illness.
One letter shook me up badly. Even though it was a general Christmas letter, the way the envelope was addressed brought up all the arguments the family had over my name, how I should call myself, and how I would ruin the family’s reputation if I did otherwise. I had the same exact problem with the other side of my family. This is the reason why I use a pen name online and all my friends and certain relatives who hated this fight started to call me Jessica, or Essie for short.
It bothers me people with such passionate feelings about who I am and what they think I should be treated like still have the ability to contact me. It also makes me angry these relatives still continue the fight over my name even though it hurts me. It also makes me even more driven and determined to move.
And that’s why I’m so hopeful. Starting in November 2022, I began to realize things about myself and who I actually am. I am wonderfully and fearfully made. I don’t need to have a group of people with more opinions than answers to force me to call myself a name they choose for me. I don’t need people who completely disregard the truth in order to make themselves more worthy of jobs and favoritism than someone who works hard and is successful despite the lack of family influence. And I sure don’t need them to brand me as a person they say I should be.
I’m not completely happy with were my life is right now, but I know I’m where I need to be right now. I am hopeful I will move, even if it’s not as soon as I would like it to. And I’m happy with the blessing of family members who picked a new name for me that they felt suited my personality better and friends who are not ashamed to be seen with me. Things are not perfect, but I have a lot to be thankful for and happy about. This is why, whenever I feel afraid or worried about what the people in my past, no matter if they are relatives or people I used to know in my area, I remember these things. Then I no longer feel afraid or worried.