I feel so low and worthless

SAMHSA’s National Helpline | SAMHSA

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  • SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

    Also visit the online treatment locator.

SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1-800-487-4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Also visit the online treatment locator, or send your zip code via text message: 435748 (HELP4U) to find help near you. Read more about the HELP4U text messaging service.

The service is open 24/7, 365 days a year.

English and Spanish are available if you select the option to speak with a national representative. Currently, the 435748 (HELP4U) text messaging service is only available in English.

In 2020, the Helpline received 833,598 calls. This is a 27 percent increase from 2019, when the Helpline received a total of 656,953 calls for the year.

The referral service is free of charge. If you have no insurance or are underinsured, we will refer you to your state office, which is responsible for state-funded treatment programs. In addition, we can often refer you to facilities that charge on a sliding fee scale or accept Medicare or Medicaid. If you have health insurance, you are encouraged to contact your insurer for a list of participating health care providers and facilities.

The service is confidential. We will not ask you for any personal information. We may ask for your zip code or other pertinent geographic information in order to track calls being routed to other offices or to accurately identify the local resources appropriate to your needs.

No, we do not provide counseling. Trained information specialists answer calls, transfer callers to state services or other appropriate intake centers in their states, and connect them with local assistance and support.

  • Suggested Resources

    What Is Substance Abuse Treatment? A Booklet for Families
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    It's Not Your Fault (NACoA) (PDF | 12 KB)
    Assures teens with parents who abuse alcohol or drugs that, "It's not your fault!" and that they are not alone. Encourages teens to seek emotional support from other adults, school counselors, and youth support groups such as Alateen, and provides a resource list.

    After an Attempt: A Guide for Taking Care of Your Family Member After Treatment in the Emergency Department
    Aids family members in coping with the aftermath of a relative's suicide attempt. Describes the emergency department treatment process, lists questions to ask about follow-up treatment, and describes how to reduce risk and ensure safety at home.

    Family Therapy Can Help: For People in Recovery From Mental Illness or Addiction
    Explores the role of family therapy in recovery from mental illness or substance abuse. Explains how family therapy sessions are run and who conducts them, describes a typical session, and provides information on its effectiveness in recovery.

    For additional resources, please visit the SAMHSA Store.

Last Updated: 08/30/2022

Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs

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Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.

The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSA’s 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.



  • In 2020, 50.0% of people aged 12 or older (or 138.5 million people) used alcohol in the past month (i.e., current alcohol users) (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among the 138.5 million people who were current alcohol users, 61. 6 million people (or 44.4%) were classified as binge drinkers and 17.7 million people (28.8% of current binge drinkers and 12.8% of current alcohol users) were classified as heavy drinkers (2020 NSDUH)
  • The percentage of people who were past month binge alcohol users was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (31.4%) compared with 22.9% of adults aged 26 or older and 4.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • The 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 139.7 million Americans age 12 or older were past month alcohol users, 65.8 million people were binge drinkers in the past month, and 16 million were heavy drinkers in the past month
  • About 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2019 drank alcohol in the past month, and 1.2 million of these adolescents binge drank in that period (2019 NSDUH)
  • Approximately 14.5 million people age 12 or older had an alcohol use disorder (2019 NSDUH)
  • Excessive alcohol use can increase a person’s risk of stroke, liver cirrhosis, alcoholic hepatitis, cancer, and other serious health conditions
  • Excessive alcohol use can also lead to risk-taking behavior, including driving while impaired. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 29 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver daily


  • STOP Underage Drinking interagency portal - Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking
  • Talk. They Hear You.
  • Underage Drinking: Myths vs. Facts
  • Talking with your College-Bound Young Adult About Alcohol

Relevant links:

  • National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors
  • Department of Transportation Office of Drug & Alcohol Policy & Compliance
  • Alcohol Policy Information Systems Database (APIS)
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism



  • In 2020, 20.7% of people aged 12 or older (or 57. 3 million people) used nicotine products (i.e., used tobacco products or vaped nicotine) in the past month (2020 NSDUH)
  • Among past month users of nicotine products, nearly two thirds of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (63.1%) vaped nicotine but did not use tobacco products. In contrast, 88.9% of past month nicotine product users aged 26 or older used only tobacco products (2020 NSDUH)
  • Data from the 2019 NSDUH reports that 58.1 million people were current (i.e., past month) tobacco users. Specifically, 45.9 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 were past month cigarette smokers (2019 NSDUH)
  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death, often leading to lung cancer, respiratory disorders, heart disease, stroke, and other serious illnesses. The CDC reports that cigarette smoking causes more than 480,000 deaths each year in the United States
  • The CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health reports that more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking cigarettes

Electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) use data:

  • Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2020 National Youth Tobacco Survey.  Among both middle and high school students, current use of e-cigarettes declined from 2019 to 2020, reversing previous trends and returning current e-cigarette use to levels similar to those observed in 2018
  • E-cigarettes are not safe for youth, young adults, or pregnant women, especially because they contain nicotine and other chemicals


  • Tips for Teens: Tobacco
  • Tips for Teens: E-cigarettes
  • Implementing Tobacco Cessation Programs in Substance Use Disorder Treatment Settings
  • Synar Amendment Program


  • Truth Initiative
  • FDA Center for Tobacco Products
  • CDC Office on Smoking and Health
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Tobacco, Nicotine, and E-Cigarettes
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: E-Cigarettes



  • Among people aged 12 or older in 2020, 3.4% (or 9.5 million people) misused opioids in the past year. Among the 9.5 million people who misused opioids in the past year, 9.3 million people misused prescription pain relievers and 902,000 people used heroin (2020 NSDUH)
  • An estimated 745,000 people had used heroin in the past year, based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • In 2019, there were 10.1 million people age 12 or older who misused opioids in the past year. The vast majority of people misused prescription pain relievers (2019 NSDUH)
  • An estimated 1.6 million people aged 12 or older had an opioid use disorder based on 2019 NSDUH data
  • Opioid use, specifically injection drug use, is a risk factor for contracting HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C. The CDC reports that people who inject drugs accounted for 9 percent of HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2016
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Understanding the Epidemic, an average of 128 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose


  • Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention Toolkit
  • TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Use of Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Criminal Justice Settings
  • Opioid Use Disorder and Pregnancy
  • Clinical Guidance for Treating Pregnant and Parenting Women With Opioid Use Disorder and Their Infants
  • The Facts about Buprenorphine for Treatment of Opioid Addiction
  • Pregnancy Planning for Women Being Treated for Opioid Use Disorder
  • Tips for Teens: Opioids
  • Rural Opioid Technical Assistance Grants
  • Tribal Opioid Response Grants
  • Provider’s Clinical Support System - Medication Assisted Treatment Grant Program


  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Opioids
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Heroin
  • HHS Prevent Opioid Abuse
  • Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Center (ATTC) Network
  • Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) Network



  • The percentage of people who used marijuana in the past year was highest among young adults aged 18 to 25 (34. 5%) compared with 16.3% of adults aged 26 or older and 10.1% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 (2020 NSDUH)
  • 2019 NSDUH data indicates that 48.2 million Americans aged 12 or older, 17.5 percent of the population, used marijuana in the past year
  • Approximately 4.8 million people aged 12 or older in 2019 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year (2019 NSDUH)
  • Marijuana can impair judgment and distort perception in the short term and can lead to memory impairment in the long term
  • Marijuana can have significant health effects on youth and pregnant women.


  • Know the Risks of Marijuana
  • Marijuana and Pregnancy
  • Tips for Teens: Marijuana

Relevant links:

  • National Institute on Drug Abuse: Marijuana
  • Addiction Technology Transfer Centers on Marijuana
  • CDC Marijuana and Public Health

Emerging Trends in Substance Misuse:

  • Methamphetamine—In 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2 million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1 million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse Data shows that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
  • Cocaine—In 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
  • Kratom—In 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000 people had used Kratom in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.


  • Tips for Teens: Methamphetamine
  • Tips for Teens: Cocaine
  • National Institute on Drug Abuse

More SAMHSA publications on substance use prevention and treatment.

Last Updated: 04/27/2022

“I feel like I'm superfluous all the time

To stop feeling worthless, you first need to understand why you have this feeling. The reason for the feeling of worthlessness can be someone's attitude towards you or a stressful situation that you cannot control. Once you understand this, you can take steps to change your life for the better. Either way, the tips below should help you deal with this feeling.

Be grateful. Show appreciation for what others have done for you. By expressing gratitude, you show that you notice their deeds and appreciate their efforts.

Be ready to help your loved ones. Your presence is one of the best gifts you can give to those you love. This will show them that you care about them.

Appreciate the uniqueness of the people around you instead of shaming them for it. Instead of laughing at your crying friend, show him that you appreciate him for his emotional honesty. Instead of making fun of your friend dancing stupidly in the kitchen, dance with her.

Don't have relationships that harm you. Some relationships will never lead to anything good, no matter how hard you try. If the other person is emotionally abusive or just doesn't want to spend time with you, then it might be time to break up with them. In such a situation, you may feel worthless, thinking that you have failed. However, the reason may be that you're just not right for each other, not that you haven't done your best to make the relationship stronger. The other person may have issues that they need to sort out before starting a new relationship, so don't blame yourself alone.

Every person wants not only to feel needed, but also to be needed. And this is normal, these are manifestations of human nature. This is confirmed by the words of Mother Teresa, who tried to convey to people that to be unnecessary, unloved, forgotten by everyone means to be much more hungry and poor than not having food and wealth. And it doesn’t matter at all in what situation you began to feel superfluous, it could be a party, or work, or a trip with friends, the feeling of uselessness and alienation always hits the very heart. Numerous studies have shown that feeling unwanted affects the same area of ​​the brain as physical pain. But this does not mean at all that you need to lock yourself at home and cry into a pillow, you need and can fight this feeling, as well as learn to develop relationships with people and learn something new about social rejection.

How to deal with feelings?

To start fighting with your own feelings, you need to accept yourself and the current situation - you can't do without it. First of all, people with low self-esteem suffer, they react very sharply to problems in communication and blame only themselves for everything. But if you learn to accept yourself, love yourself, then a priori self-esteem will increase, and the degree of influence of emotions on a person’s state will decrease. But this process is quite complicated, it will take a long time and hard to understand yourself and your thoughts, look for weaknesses and strengths. It doesn't work instantly. Learn to focus on your strengths, highlight your strengths. Repeat to yourself every day that you accept yourself the way you are. Let you be unnecessary, this is normal, you are not alone. It is only important to accept, survive and move forward, no matter what.

Look for the positive everywhere

The ability to look for positive things in any situation, even the most unpleasant one, is a real art. If it is easier to relate to your position, then it will be much easier to survive troubles. Let's look for the positives right away. For example, psychologists are sure that people rejected by society become more creative, as they begin to express their thoughts through art. This feeling of being different from others can develop into something serious professionally, people start writing poetry, music, photographing nature and so on. Your primary task is to analyze the situation and make a list of pluses that are definitely there. For example, now you have more time to spend time alone with yourself, you can engage in self-development, you can analyze your situation and conclude which people you should communicate with further and which do not deserve your time and effort.

Don't think negatively about yourself

You exist in this world, and you are the only one. There are no others even similar. The feeling of uselessness entails even more negative thoughts. A person begins to convince himself that no one loves him, because he is somehow not like everyone else, not handsome enough, smart enough, and so on. These feelings are akin to shame and humiliation. They absolutely should not be in your life. To get on the path of change, you should start by analyzing the thoughts that visit you and change them to a positive attitude. For example, someone told you that he doesn't like you. So what? You should not give yourself up to suffering 100%, because there are people in this world who like you, and if a particular person did not like your appearance or behavior, this is absolutely not a problem. After all, you are not $100 to please everyone. Because of someone's words, you will not become worse or better, you will remain the same as you are.

Protect yourself

People who know how to extend their claws and defend themselves at the right time are much easier to tolerate rejection and the feeling of uselessness. All this is explained by science: in such people, the level of the stress hormone is lower even in the most critical situations. How to get rid of the feeling of uselessness? Remember the pleasant experience of relationships, those moments when someone needed you and focus on this positive. Be stronger and just move away from people who give you unpleasant emotions. Can't sleep with a feeling of uselessness? Then pay attention to what you think. If you catch yourself thinking that you are constantly thinking about yourself in a negative aspect, scold yourself for it. Try to control the appearance of such thoughts and immediately be distracted by something positive. Stop replaying in your head over and over those moments when you felt a sense of your own uselessness, occupy your head with something new. It can be thoughts about work, study, self-development, and so on. Go in for sports, go shopping, do everything to get rid of the feeling of uselessness.

Just move on

Yes, we all face the injustice and cruelty of this world, it’s hard to hide from it, but the ability to forget people who are not worth your time and effort, the ability to get up and move forward, even if it was very painful to fall, - it's very difficult to live without it. Making someone love you and vice versa is impossible, but trying to focus on the relationship that you have will be very helpful. People who ignore you, try to humiliate or be rude in every possible way, should be let go and continue to live on.

Working on positive relationships

But it doesn't always happen that it's about others, in order to understand yourself and get rid of the feeling of uselessness in relationships, it is recommended to analyze your own behavior. Maybe it was some of your actions or mistakes that became the impetus for the fact that such a situation occurred. Try to develop communication skills, learn to speak and listen. Here a psychologist comes to the rescue, who will help you figure it all out. Do not engage in self-hypnosis and do not expect rejection from others. Our self-confidence, our thoughts are reflected in those with whom we communicate. If you constantly think and act like you're the odd one out, people will start treating you that way.

Don't forget to think about yourself

If you learn to accept yourself, love yourself, then it will be much easier for others to do the same. A self-confident person can be seen from afar, and other people feel it too. Do you think how to get rid of the feeling of uselessness? It's simple: focus on work or school. Success in your professional life is a great help to cope with the feeling of uselessness. Achieving goals is a direct path to feeling confident in yourself and in your abilities. In no case do not lock yourself at home, constantly scrolling through your head the thoughts that no one needs you. Treat yourself, you deserve it.

The feeling of uselessness in psychology is considered as one of the aspects of low self-esteem. To prevent this turn of events, you can take note of the following tips:

  • Tell people you trust about your condition.
  • Surround yourself with people who always support you and give you positive.
  • Do not let others influence your condition. If you feel abandoned in the company of friends, tell them about it. If nothing changes, you will have to look for new acquaintances, but your nerves will be in order.
  • If ​​you haven't been invited to a party, find something more fun to do instead of being upset all evening. In any case, you can throw a holiday at home.

Calmness and a rational attitude to the situation - that's the key to success and good health. Think of yourself first, not those who give you trouble.

A person always expects recognition of his personality from others. If this does not happen, then there is a feeling of alienation, which is called loneliness.

Feelings of loneliness can occur even when there are real connections with other people. A person may feel unwanted and unloved in a large family or rejected in a team. The feeling of loneliness can occur episodically, like a flash, or it can take root in the mind of a person as an obsessive state.

Loneliness is always accompanied by tension and anxiety associated with dissatisfaction with communication or intimate relationships.

Types of feelings of loneliness

People with a state of loneliness differ from each other in their own activity and degree of experience.

There are several types of feelings of loneliness:

1. Hopelessly lonely people: dissatisfied with their relationships, having a feeling of abandonment and emptiness.

3. Persistently lonely people are passive people resigned to their condition.

4. People who are not alone, whose social isolation is of a voluntary temporary nature, while not causing a feeling of oppression.

There are two types of loneliness in psychiatry:

  • The first type of loneliness is associated with a person's alienation from himself: his past, experience, from the functioning of his own organism. Loneliness is associated with problems of perception and assimilation of the mechanisms of development and self-preservation of the body.
  • The second type of loneliness is associated with the quality of relationships with other people, the acceptance, evaluation of this quality and the person's acceptance of himself as a person.

The feeling of loneliness is defined as the painful experience of being alone. This experience becomes obsessive and captures all thoughts and actions of a person. Loneliness is experienced as depression, melancholy, boredom, sadness, despair. A person can worry about lost connections, rejection of himself, not realizing himself as an accomplished person.

Situational transient loneliness may appear after certain unpleasant events: divorce, death of loved ones, job loss, serious injury or illness. After some time, a person comes to terms with the loss and fully or partially overcomes his condition. A situational feeling of loneliness is expressed in short-term attacks, which, as a rule, pass without a trace.

Sometimes such a state does not go away, but turns into chronic loneliness. This occurs if, in the event of loss, a person cannot cope with his emotional state and does not find strength and opportunity in establishing relationships with significant people. At the same time, there is a loss of interaction mechanisms.

Chronic loneliness can accompany a person from childhood. This usually occurs when there is no emotional attachment between children and parents. It is possible that this is an unwanted child, or a child who does not meet the expectations of the parents. From childhood, the child is forced to avoid contact with his parents, or he is simply deprived of them. The habit of loneliness persists in communication with a group of peers, where the child independently alienates himself from others. This produces a persistent chronic feeling of loneliness.

However, it should be noted that in some cases people are quite comfortable in their isolated state. In this case, we are talking about personality traits bordering on pathology.

One can talk about loneliness only if a person is clearly aware of the inferiority of his relations with other people. In other words, a person experiences his loneliness in the truest sense of the word. At the same time, the feeling of loneliness is influenced not so much by the relationship itself, but by the person's idea of ​​\u200b\u200bwhat they should be. Due to this discrepancy, a person who constantly communicates with one or two individuals may experience an acute lack of communication and feel lonely.

The feeling of loneliness is understood as a difficult emotional state caused by the dissatisfaction of the need for interpersonal relationships.

Some psychologists believe that man is inherently born, lives and dies alone. Others believe that man is a social being and should be surrounded by his own kind.

The first signs of a heightened sense of loneliness appear in adolescence. At the same time, the frequency and number of contacts does not matter; satisfaction with communication is more important.

The experience of loneliness can be caused by a number of reasons:

  • Man's inability to endure solitude.
  • Low self-esteem projected onto others: "I'm terrible, worthless, no one can love me. "
  • Anxiety and social fears: someone else's opinion, ridicule, being different from everyone else.
  • Lack of communication skills.
  • Distrust of people.
  • Tightness and stiffness.
  • Permanent wrong choice of partners.
  • Fear of being rejected by a partner.
  • Fear and anxiety about intimacy.
  • Unrealistic claims and desires.
  • Lack of initiative, sociable passivity.

The feeling of loneliness largely depends on self-esteem. Lonely people often feel worthless, incompetent, second-rate. This perception of oneself justifies the absence of permanent communication partners. Lonely people do not trust others. They are often hypocritical, stubborn, cautious.

Hello. I am 14 years old. Recently, I often feel like a lonely, useless person. My mother often does not have the same views, she thinks about me wrong! He believes that I don’t give a damn about everything, I’m growing up as a selfish, uninterested child.

When I want to object, tears come, and I am silent, I can hardly swallow the insult. Dad is of the same opinion. Why? I study well, I read classics. What else to do? I have no craving for some kind of supernatural knowledge. I am very vulnerable, compassionate, but I don’t want to show it to anyone. I do not want everyone to see my weakness, so my parents think that I am cruel. Friends are a particular problem. I love them very much, more than myself, and they .... I try to do everything for them, without demanding special gratitude. And I don't get it. I write all the time, literally everyone ignores me. A couple of cold words to my "Hi, I really miss you, how are you?" and all. Am I a bad friend? They never remember me, they push me into the background. But I still climb, I can't live without them. I want me to help them if they're in trouble, with advice or something. But they don't need it. their answers are like a knife to the heart for me. And who needs me? Why am I alone?

Psychologist's answer:

Hello, Diana!

The answer to your question is simple - first you need to learn to be needed by yourself, to be interesting to yourself, to love yourself.
If you want to object - object, but not with hysteria, even with tears, the main thing is not to hysteria.
Why is a person offended? - Because he does not understand the motives of the behavior of another person. Mom does not know what is inside you, what you really feel, of course, she has a corresponding reaction to you.
Man is an extremely contradictory creature, forever torn apart by internal conflict. You want to be, to feel needed, so you diligently demonstrate your toughness.
It's bad that you love your friends more than yourself, it's very bad, it means you don't love them at all. Because everything starts with yourself! First, a person loves himself, and then his parents, friends and the whole world. No love for yourself - no love for anyone.
What does it mean to love yourself? - it means to devote time to yourself, i.e. Do something that develops you as a person. Find something to express yourself in: drawing, modeling, knitting, sewing/embroidery, appliqué, dancing, fitness, manicure, writing novels, poetry, fashion design, etc.
It is vital to be interesting to yourself. When you are open to the world, then the world is open to you. There is no need to be afraid that you will be offended, hurt, in fact, the person himself decides to be offended by him or not. For example, you were called a fool, you may be offended, or you may not be offended (yes, I can be a fool, but beautiful!)
And it’s worth talking with your mother, because mother is the closest relative.

Hello, Anton Mikhailovich.
I already wrote to you about two years ago. My post was called "Husband began to flirt in social networks." Unfortunately, it became necessary to contact you again.
Over the past two years, we have been trying to cope with our family crisis. My husband went to a psychologist. Not for long, but walking. I also wanted to talk to his psychologist. At that moment, it seemed to me that nothing could be changed and in six months everything would happen again. She told her husband that he, of course, has the right to decide how he should live. If he wants to continue dating girls - please, but without me. My husband asked me not to leave. The psychologist also advised not to rush into decisions. Which I did.
Life gradually improved. I see that the husband is trying to confirm his trustworthiness. If it happens somewhere without me, sends a photo. Even though I didn't ask for it. I am grateful to him for this. But still, from time to time, I notice his irresistible desire to use any chance to impress one of the women he runs into, for example, at work. And when I ask about it, he gets annoyed. He said a couple of times that I was sick. There is nothing wrong with wanting to be liked, but with him it is elevated into some kind of painful form. I'm feeling it. And I feel like it pushes me into the background. In life, he is not an overly attentive person, but there he is attentive. Day by day the feeling grows stronger in me that I am like a "read book" for him. I haven't worked for many years. We moved from country to country, raised children. Unfortunately, after marriage, I didn’t get a job. I have a hobby, I read, I watch films, I am interested in many things.
Close friends are far away. We communicate on the Internet. I feel unwanted. As if he kept the family for a comfortable life, not because of me. I told my husband about it, he says it's not true. But I know him well and feel, and I think that he is right. I do not know what to do.
Thank you.

Zhanna, Moscow, 44 years old

Answer of the family psychologist:

Hello Jeanne.

//husband went to a psychologist. Not for long, but walking. I also wanted to talk to his psychologist.// But you didn't describe the outcome. We decided not to rush into decisions. Life seems to be getting better... But in fact, apparently, nothing was seriously decided and understandable. I will explain to you how in general it was possible to work with a psychologist in this situation. If a husband has some kind of need, then it cannot simply be taken and removed by an effort of will. It can only be satisfied. But here's how - this is already a question that can and should be addressed with a psychologist. Find out what the essence of the need is (and the need is not to communicate with other girls, but to receive certain emotions - this is always the case, with any need. Its essence is always the experience of some feelings and states, but which ones - this already needs to be clarified with the individual). And then they look for and find some other way than third-party young ladies. If the man wants it. At the same time, it also turns out why this need is not satisfied with you, ways are being sought that would help to realize what exactly does not work in your couple, why the needs of both are not satisfied so that both are comfortable, which you, for your part, can do. And then, as a rule, it becomes clear: either spouses can and are really ready to meet each other halfway, or something else is more important for them - to maintain a position for the sake of convenience or some other benefits. But all this can already be found out only in personal work. //I feel unwanted. As if he kept the family for a comfortable life, not because of me. // I can only assume that he has ceased to be so interested in your personality. Yes, you cannot take full responsibility for this, interest in a couple is a mutual thing. But in order to be needed by another, a person must first of all be needed by YOURSELF. How interesting are you to yourself as a person and how much do you need yourself? Perhaps, if your husband specifically does not want to do anything about the situation right now, you should think about yourself? In any case, you won't lose anything.

Sincerely, Nesvitsky Anton Mikhailovich.

Self-doubt: where does it come from and can it be overcome? We talk about the reasons and ways to overcome it

What is self-doubt

Self-doubt is a subjective feeling of doubt in one's abilities and potential for success in various areas of life. By and large, self-doubt is the fear of being yourself, which grows out of doubts about your competence.

Self-doubt goes hand in hand with low self-esteem, but there is a difference between the two. Uncertainty manifests itself pointwise and refers to how confident a person is in their qualifications in various areas of life: work, personal relationships, and so on. Self-esteem is a complex concept, a global opinion about oneself as a person. Personal insecurity, if a person experiences it regularly, strikes blow after blow to self-esteem, and in the end can greatly shake it.

Also, self-doubt is often confused with introversion . An introvert is a personality type proposed by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung to characterize people who direct life energy inwards. They prefer to think apart from the outside world, with immersion in the inner. But introversion is not necessarily a marker, much less a synonym for insecurity. The German psychiatrist Karl Leonhard saw strength in this individualism. According to his interpretation, the introvert has its own clear values, is not afraid to oppose itself to the environment, unlike the extrovert, whom Leonhard calls a conformist, susceptible to outside influence.

Another phenomenon sometimes confused with self-doubt is social phobia . Social phobia is included in the International Classification of Diseases and is an anxiety disorder. Affected people are afraid of attention from other people, public spaces and large companies - sometimes to the point of panic attacks, and therefore avoid social situations. Social phobia is a medical diagnosis that can be treated.

People who experience self-doubt tend to think that they have got a rare unfortunate ticket to this state. This is not so: everyone experiences this feeling in different life situations. It's natural to doubt yourself when you start a new endeavor or in a highly competitive environment. But sometimes insecurity becomes chronic and reduces the quality of life. According to Yulia Anpilogova, a psychologist and psychotherapist, a member of the All-Russian Professional Psychotherapeutic League, self-doubt, as a main or accompanying problem, is present in almost all appeals to a psychologist: “People who are capable of reflection or self-reflection are people of a certain order of organization of the psyche, who are in doubt. To doubt oneself for such a person is one of the steps, one of the forms of doubt.

Signs of self-doubt

Every person who has experienced self-doubt has experienced the accompanying emotions, thoughts and bodily reactions.

External (bodily) signs

  • Rapid heartbeat, redness or pallor of the face, irregular breathing when talking.
  • Confused speech, a person chatters and loses the thread of the narrative, jerky movements - a conversational sprint, just to finish the speech faster.
  • Stooping, hunched figure, unconscious desire to take up less space and be less noticeable.
  • The phrases “I suppose”, “it seems to me” - the person seems to be apologizing for being in his place.

Internal (mental, behavioral)

  • Comparison of oneself with others - in a person who is not confident in himself, it almost always turns out to be not in his favor.
  • The inability to say "no" - it is easier for a person to agree to work that is a burden to him than to refuse.
  • Downplaying one's merits, inability to accept compliments.
  • Shifting responsibility for one's life to circumstances or other people.
  • Avoidance of initiative and responsibility.
  • Arrogance, which serves as a defense mechanism - it helps to reject others before they could reject a person.
  • Perfectionism - sometimes insecurity is well disguised, but still gives itself away in the eternal pursuit of unattainable perfection and hypercontrol.

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How self-doubt arises

The very first environment in a person's life - family and school - has a great influence. Among the causes rooted in childhood are:

  • Parental strategies : emotional deprivation from parents, prohibitions and restrictions, excessive criticism or overprotection.

  • Copying stereotypes of behavior that a child observes around him: according to the theory of the American psychologist Albert Bandura, parents' self-doubt is often inherited.
  • School bullying : peers can be quite tough in their assessments and judgments.
  • Learned helplessness : psychologist Martin Seligman believed that weak skills in controlling the outside world may arise due to insufficient development of the “action-consequence” link, which is often observed in children from orphanages.

But uncertainty can develop at any age. According to clinical psychologist and psychotherapist Yulia Khvorova, when people grow up, they come across various microgroups, and sometimes in a group relevant to a person, they face criticism. An authority may also appear that seems to a person more successful - this can also lay down self-doubt. The danger zone here is excessive parental approval in childhood: it plays a disservice when confronted with the real world.

Yulia Anpilogova adds that our “I” is most vulnerable in moments of crisis: “An earthquake happened, the walls fell down, and what was our support disappears, and the new one is not yet built. In this period of timelessness, it is difficult to be sure of anything. We are reborn many times in a lifetime, we go through this cycle of destruction-resurrection in a new quality. And this restoration is always accompanied by uncertainty, because what is being built is still very fragile.”

How self-doubt affects life

Block for career ambitions

Insecure people do not ask for a pay rise, do not express their ideas, even innovative and breakthrough ones, for fear of being misunderstood or rejected. They do not take the financial risks associated with investments, depriving themselves of the opportunity to earn more. They are also afraid to change unloved jobs and to undergo interviews. All this further fuels the uncertainty.

In career terms, self-doubt in some cases turns into impostor syndrome, when a person, having nevertheless taken a step forward and achieved success, stumbles upon a new fear. Here he no longer thinks that he will not be able to reach some goal. Now, having achieved it, he begins to consider his success as an accident and does not recognize his personal contribution to it. He is overcome by the fear of not holding on and not justifying new hopes. Psychologists believe that the mechanisms of formation of these two phenomena are similar.

At the same time, it is a mistake to assume that self-doubt and, moreover, the impostor syndrome, are inherent only to “mere mortals”. Famous people also face them, and not only at the beginning of their journey. Natalie Portman, speaking in 2015 to Harvard students as an honorary graduate, told them that she did not realize her achievements: “12 years after my graduation, I must admit that I still do not feel my own worth. I have to remind myself that I'm here for a reason. Today I feel exactly the same as when I first started at Harvard at 19.99 year. Then it seemed to me that there was some kind of mistake - I'm not smart enough to be here, and every time I opened my mouth, I had to prove that I was not just a stupid actress. Sometimes insecurity and inexperience can cause you to strive for the standards and expectations imposed by other people. But you can use your lack of experience to forge your own path—one that is not dictated by others, but determined by you.”

American writer and Pulitzer Prize winner John Steinbeck wrote in his diary: “I am not a writer. I deceive myself and others." After finishing work on the novel "The Grapes of Wrath", which won him the award, he said: "Sometimes I think that I did something worthwhile, but when the work is finished, it turns into mediocrity."

Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci doubted their abilities. The latter is credited with the phrase "Tell me, did I manage to do at least something?" Vincent van Gogh, according to contemporaries, suffered from permanent self-doubt, but once said: “If you hear a voice inside yourself telling you that you cannot draw, do it by any means, and the voice will be silent.”

Problems in personal relationships

Uncertainty in personal life is manifested in the fact that a person questions his ability to please someone. At the start of a new relationship, he may experience fear that the person next to him will “notice” his shortcomings and be disappointed. In the existing relationship, this is an infringement of one's needs, because it will be more convenient for someone, jealousy, and sometimes an endless shifting of one's anxieties and doubts to a partner.

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How to overcome self-doubt

According to Yulia Khvorova, self-doubt is a reversible process if you start working with it. Obsessive thoughts about one's own inadequacy must be compensated by new positive attitudes and thinking techniques. At the same time, getting rid of uncertainty does not go away in a couple of weeks - this is a long work. Khvorova suggests the following steps:

  • Formulate and write down your positive qualities and strengths, without touching on achievements . This is necessary for the formation of a person's understanding that he has something to love for, regardless of achievements.
  • Change self-criticism for self-validation. When a person is not confident in himself, he is more sensitive to mistakes and failures, sometimes imaginary. Validation is normalization: you need to remind yourself that all people make mistakes, this is normal and appropriate. Self-criticism in this case is a useless thing that does not help in any way, only throws up a bunch of thoughts “why I am bad”, but not a single one about how to become better.
  • Replace the concept of "error" with the phrase "growth zone": lack of experience or skill - this is not a reason to self-flagellate, because I discovered my growth zone and, therefore, I can work on it.
  • Don't be self-centered. Insecure people are often very egocentric in looking for reasons for failure. In fact, it does not happen that the whole situation goes to dust just because of one person. It is necessary to force thinking not to follow the trodden path of searching for the guilty one in oneself, but to look wider.
  • Experiment. People with self-doubt often avoid trying things out of fear they won't succeed. But when a person refuses to perform an action, he absolutely receives reinforcement for his insecurity, because he remains there. Trying is always 50/50. If it is successful, this may be the first sprout of confidence.
  • Write down achievements and praise yourself. This is an advanced level. Insecure people tend to underestimate their accomplishments. You should focus on the moments when something works out, and praise yourself, inspire yourself with the idea that this success is not an accident, but the result of the efforts made.
  • Give yourself time. Uncertainty did not appear in a day, a week or a month, it was formed and consolidated over the years. To fix a new way of thinking, you also need to painstakingly create a habit. It is important to be persistent in applying the described techniques regularly, and not expect quick results.
  • Do not focus on the bad. Do not think that if something did not work out, nothing will work out at all.
  • Pay attention to the body. The human brain directly correlates with the body: it sends signals to it and collects information from it. The more a person reflects and maintains an uncertain posture, the deeper one can get stuck in this state. It makes sense to go from the opposite and work on posture, self-presentation and voice. The sooner you can get out of the pose of uncertainty, the easier it will be to let go of this feeling. Acting, singing or dancing courses can help with this.

When to seek professional help

According to Khvorova, one should definitely seek professional help when self-doubt begins to affect a person's life and blocks his personal and professional development. Yulia Anpilogova also lists the loss of healthy criticism as a reason — when a person’s self-image is totally at odds with the opinion of the environment: “In this case, it’s worth admitting that maybe not you are right, but everyone around.

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