Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week on Ask Scary Mommy: Are you convinced at any given time, someone you know or love is mad at you because…anxiety? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Scary Mommy,
I’ve struggled with anxiety for most of my life, though it’s gotten more intense as an adult. Lately, though, I feel like everyone hates me. Logically I know this probably isn’t true. But anxiety is a b*tch, right? And throughout the pandemic/election craziness, I feel like a lot of people in my family, some of my friends, and everyone on social media just…hates me. Because of my views, maybe (which are pro-science and anti-fascist, FWIW). Or because of how I deliver my views (straightforward, sometimes snarky). Either way, I don’t regret who I am or my thoughts and opinions, but feeling disliked is really starting to bother me. It seems like a lot less people engage with me overall — online and in real life — and during an already lonely year, I feel lost.
You’ve got one thing 100% right — anxiety is a bitch. Not a badass, “THAT bitch” kind of way, of course, but in a “goddamn it you’re making my life such a struggle unnecessarily” kind of way. It’s part of my life, it’s part of so many lives, and for that I’m sorry. It sucks.
Now let’s get right to it, shall we? Feeling like everyone hates you is a common manifestation of anxiety, particularly in women. It’s not unlike imposter syndrome, which convinces us that we’re not good enough to deserve or earn the good things that come our way. It’s very easy to convince ourselves that people are mad at us, or don’t care about us. It’s harder to remember that life, particularly of late, is so very hard for all of us and that there really may not be a deeper meaning to people engaging with you less — we’re all kind of engaging less in general.
When these situations arise where you feel this way, no matter what triggers it, try looking at that particular situation from the other person’s perspective. Are they going through a lot personally or perhaps professionally? Is it possible that social media algorithms are so crazy lately that some people didn’t see your post or photo to engage with it? Also, think about how quickly you respond to text messages and emails. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay on top of things, particularly when our mental health is involved. There are a variety of possibilities for other people not being responsive to you that have nothing to do with how they feel about you personally.
All that being said, if you truly feel that people you know and love are giving you the cold shoulder over your feelings regarding the pandemic and our former fascist dictator president, well, you’re not alone. I think this past year (or four) have really brought out people’s true colors, and more often than not, they’re not very pretty. And you don’t need that kind of ugliness in your life.