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    Old 04-08-2005, 10:40 AM   #1
    write
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    Need Advice on Self Confidence

    I have read a lot of posts on this board and I have found a lot of similarities with lot of you all. From my readings though, I never seem to get a full understanding of how to deal with self confidence issues and low self esteem.

    I truly believe that my low self esteem and self confidence issues are a result of me having CP. I know that these are issues that I should deal with as soon as they arise but I have to admit that I'm a little embarassed by the fact that I don't think I know how.

    I am completely afraid to talk to the opposite sex when trying to engage in a relationship. The only girl I have ever loved came up to me. The girls before her, I really can't say they were relationships but they also initiated the first move and then it went from there. I don't ever see myself dating or marrying an AB woman because when I'm around them, I think they all look at me like I'm a freak or something. I know who I am and I try to be comfortable with that, it's just sometimes I have many draw backs and then I can't seem to put myself back on track (it takes too long). I feel that these issues keep me from being active and enjoying life. There are a lot of people I want to approach just to develop friendships and I can't even do that, let alone start a relationship with a girl. I just feel like "all eyes are on me all the time".

    Even just talking in front of large crowds or a small group of people, I get extremely nervous and begin to shake. Meeting new people, I shake and tremble. This is not the person I am on the inside. I'm vibrant, free and fun and want to make comments on subjects and get involved in just living and I feel that I can't do that because my CP hinders me.

    Any advice to deal with these self confidence issues is greatly appreciated.

     
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    Old 04-11-2005, 09:01 AM   #2
    Freestyles
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Hi Write ,

    Time and time again we come back to this issue throughout this board.. Some time ago this has lead me to realize that for many people here low self esteem is more of a factor than their physical limitations. Part of the problem is that growing up with CP (or any other physical disability for that matter), there is a huge amount of emphysis on the physical aspects of disability. Most of us realize our imperfections at a very young age and these are amplified during adolesence - this seems to be the normal trend that I can relate to from both personal experience and from what I've read on this board.

    I'm 24 now - I have to admit that my highschool days were most difficult.. It wasn't until college that I started dating and even then it wasn't nearly as much as my AB counterparts. The question remains - was this because of my disability or was this more due to the fact that I didn't initiate friendships and relationships as often as my other guy friends. I realize now that the latter is probably the case - come to think of it - I had many oportunities to engage in friendships with the opposite sex - Problem is I didn't act on most of them because of negative self talk, which was usually along the lines of - She's just being nice.... How can she possibly like me?

    An important fact that I've come to realize is simply this - One's perception is his or her reality.. Have you ever met a cocky individual who is always under the impression that he's well liked by everyone and yet he's the most annoying person to be around? - and even after subtle hints, he refuses to get the picture? We all know a few of those people.

    On the opposite end - you have the person who is full of self doubt and dismisses all positive feedback with negative self talk.. This becomes very detrimental to buiding self confidence - let me know this sounds familiar but I'm almost certain that it probably does.

    One of the best books I've ever read that addresses this is "The Feeling Good Handbook" by David Burns (and I have read a few). It's availible at just about any major bookstore. Don't let the size of the book overwhelm you - it's divided up into chapters and is meant to be used more as an interactive reference.. It's very straightforward to read. Definitely a great book - I find myself using what I learned very regularly.

    I hope this has helped some - For most of us the developing self confidence is a gradual thing - Unfortunately this is one of the pitfalls to being even a little different - or probably more due to our personal ideologies of what it is to be "normal." What is normal anyway... Just another word for ordinary.. I no longer strive to fit this mold. I strive to be unique - and to excel at what I enjoy.. For example I enjoy working out at the gym - as a result I'm in much better physical condition than the average or "normal" person.. Why put so much emphysis on being "normal" when you can achieve so much more by accepting who you are and establishing a sense of pride and self worth by recognizing your accomplishments and setting new goals as the old ones are met? In my opinion - this is the key to living a successful and fulfilling life.


    F.S

     
    Old 04-11-2005, 10:12 AM   #3
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    I hear what you are saying and I agree with you 110%. In my head I tell myself to go do what you want, have fun, engage and be loose but when the time comes all of these emotions are thrown out by my self doubt. I do think a lot of people from the opposite sex find me attractive. I understand why too. NOT to sound cocky or anything but I know I'm far from ugly and I know that once people get to know me they cling to my personality but I have a very particular personal experience that makes me look at every girl out of the corner of my eye whether there disabled or not. I had this girl one time tell me straight to my face that she thought I was cute and liked me but couldn't be with me because I had CP. It hurt me and to this day I still can't get over that. I was involved so to speak with a girl and things were cool until people realized that she liked me. Then she completely blew me off. CP limits me in ways I can't describe. It not affects my relationships with the opposite sex, it affects friendships and other social aspects of my life as I previously mentioned. I'm really lost now because I am sick of being the person I wasn't meant to be. I'm sick of being chained and shackled. It's not really about me not being normal, it's about me trying to come to a point where I can really be how I feel inside.

    Thanks for the advice and I'm going to have to pick up that book. Hopefully it helps me.

    write.

     
    Old 04-11-2005, 11:08 AM   #4
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Write,

    Sorry to hear about your experience.. Unfortunately we can do little about another persons views or preconcieved notions.. I wouldn't nessesarily consider the fact that she was blatantly honest with you to be a bad thing though.. I've always stood by the fact that people should tell you exactly how they feel without all the mind games... Sure this can be discouraging, but I look at it like this: Disabled or not - not everyone in the world is going to like you.. If she isn't willing to give you a chance because of your CP then why waste your time and emotional energy on the people? I'd much rather they all come out so I can write them off.

    What's important is that you don't take these types of setbacks too personally.. I now realize that if I wanted to change the world and get rid of people's preconcieved notions, I'd be emotionally exhausted and devistated if I failed.. Do yourself a favour and take the easier approach - look for someone who you can be yourself around, someone who will like you for who you are - And sure physicalities do help - stay in the best shape possible, always be well groomed and presentable. This alone will turn heads and attract some positive attention, and if I may say - What a great step to start a conversation.

    Also, it may be helpful to look for someone who is somewhat familiar with disability - It doesn't matter if she's disabled or an AB as long as she is versed on the subject and doesn't treat it as taboo.

    This leads me to my next point - which is equally as important.. If you can incorporate the fact that you have CP into casual conversation it will shatter the ice into a thousand pieces... For example - Share your experinces - the fact that you made it and are otherwise alive and well is something to be thankful for.

    For example - just the other day - A lady at my gym that I've known as an aquaintance for a while walks up to me and following the usual exchange of hellos she continues on and asks "can I ask you a personal question?" Funny -I already knew what the question was but I continued on to say "sure, of course." Sure enough she asked me what I had and was somewhat blown away when I told her that what I had was congenital - something I lived with all my life... She commented on how good I looked and while I previously would've dismissed this as a nice gesture, I returned the favour and commented on how good she looked and if she didn't tell me her age, I never would've guessed how old she was... Just for curiosity's sake she's about my age times two. Nonetheless we exchanged business cards and it turned out that we both work in the financial industry - yet another topic of conversation.

    I can gurantee that if your open with your disability people will be more comfortable to ask you questions and this is an important when it comes to looking past your physical differences. - For most of us this is the tough part - once this happens chances are she's already interested.


    Good Luck to you.. Hope you find the book as helpful as I did.


    F.S

     
    Old 04-12-2005, 08:41 AM   #5
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Hello Write..I just joined this forumn today in hopes of finding some help for my son..I read your post and wanted to reply to the problem you have with shaking during social interactions..I dont belive this is related to your CP..I do the same thing..I saw my doctor about it and discoverd it is Social Anxiety..He put me on medication which really helped...Anyway I tought it would be good for you to check with your doctor about Social Anxiety..My son is 15 with Mild CP and dealing with alot of emotinal problems due to other children picking on him in school..Yesterday it became unbearable for him and he walked out of school and tried to run away..He shows no intrest in girls and the boys have began to belive he is gay..This is also adding stress for him..I went to the school and spoke with his Principal reguarding to the main group of kids bullying him but this has also upset him..He said it will only make things worse..Hes a good person at heart but Im afraid that so much riticule is destroying him..Today I made an appointment to have an accestment done on his emotinal behavior..Hopfully we can get him some help on coping with all he is enduring..I wish you well and hope my advice on Social Anxiety Disorder helps you..Belive me I know how it feels and during a situation where all eyes are on you it only intensifies..Good luck and keep a smile
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    Last edited by IbGrace; 04-12-2005 at 08:45 AM.

     
    Old 04-12-2005, 11:30 AM   #6
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Freestyles

    I'm happy for you that you can overlook certain things and answer questions about your CP and what not. Some days I mind answering the questions and other days I'm don't. In actually though, I really don't like to discuss it because I want people to see more than my CP and from personal experiences I can tell you that for me talking about it just makes them focus more. I keep myself looking nice especially the past year or so. I work out, have a nice build but I still don't get the type of attention that I want. Funny, if I did get that type of attention I probably wouldn't know what to do. I know a lot of people like me but liking someone isn't being interested in them on a personal level. It's mainly just hi and bye, how are you feeling?, that sort of thing. Any attention towards may start off to be postive but winds up negative. If I happen to look nice, I look nice to be a disabled guy. If I drive good, I drive good to be a disabled guy. These types of things are driving me nuts because it seems people don't see anything in my appearance but my disability and it also distorts their vision to see anything else I might have to offer. I know I shouldn't want to be around these people anyway but it seems like it's everybody I meet. I have a class with a girl now for example. She saw me walking out of one of the buildings and she asked me do I drive? I answered her question with a yes but the way she asked the question was like she was trying to see how could I drive. I just don't know if I can keep responding nicely to people who insinuate negative comments toward me even if they do it in a nice way. I should be over this type of thing this after all these years but I guess I'm not.

     
    Old 04-12-2005, 11:46 AM   #7
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Welcome IbGrace

    I'm not disagreeing with you, it could Social Anxiety but I believe this social anxiety in my case, is due to the fact I have CP. Some days I'm fine talking around people including family. Then other days I can't even talk to my family because I feel different than they are. They don't understand that I have a disability. My brothers have never treated me like I had something wrong with me and that makes me feel good inside but reality is reality. When I can't do something they don't understand because I am limited physically. In the end it just makes me more uncomfortable.

    I know for a fact that I'm only uncomfortable around people because I think they are looking at me negatively (this includes when talking in front of people). If this wasn't the case then I would be fine.

    As for your son, you have to try and let him handle is own battles at school. I was teased what seemed like everyday in elementary school. I just told my mother about it last week and I'm now in college. It will only make things worse when you get involved. If he's not telling you that he is getting physically abused by these other kids then I believe you should let him work it out. My mother would have done the same thing you're doing for your son. I knew that and I didn't tell her because I didn't want things to get worse for me. I just took it as preparing me for everyday life. People are going to talk about your son and descriminate against him but it's how he handles this negativity that will determine how far he will go in life.
    Besides my social problem I don't have too many other problems regarding my CP. I know it's a part of me and it's not going anywhere.

    I hope to hear more from you. GOOD LUCK WITH YOUR SON

     
    Old 04-12-2005, 01:53 PM   #8
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Hey Write,

    I can relate to everything you're saying...and the ironic thing is that my negative attitude towards people (mainly guys) probably creates more problems than the CP. I realize this, too, but that doesn't really help me change my attitude, ya know? It's almost like I'd rather not even bother trying to be friendly with guys, because I expect them to not like me "that way."

    But I just hafta try to remember that not everyone would react this way, and everyone has problems of one kind or another...hopefully being in college will help me become a little more outgoing. :-)

     
    Old 04-13-2005, 09:50 AM   #9
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    I wish I could say the same Steffers but I can't. Hopefully you will be better than me in this situation. I'm in college now and I act the same way I acted when I was in high school. Afraid to be friends, don't want them to know too much, etc. I just don't know what I should do but eventually I know I will get over it and move on to better things. Even though I feel how I'm supposed to be inside maybe this is just a way to keep my wild side in check.

     
    Old 04-14-2005, 07:16 PM   #10
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by write
    I maybe this is just a way to keep my wild side in check.
    Well, that's a positive way to look at it, LOL :-)

     
    Old 04-15-2005, 03:01 AM   #11
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Steffers2318
    Hey Write,

    I can relate to everything you're saying...and the ironic thing is that my negative attitude towards people (mainly guys) probably creates more problems than the CP. I realize this, too, but that doesn't really help me change my attitude, ya know? It's almost like I'd rather not even bother trying to be friendly with guys, because I expect them to not like me "that way."
    Most of the time I think the same thing as well. I realize that people with CP do get married etc. but I think the percentage that do is lower than the non CP population. I guess I see myself as more of a realist.

    I remember in high school / university there was a girl or two I knew with CP who were more outgoing than I was but at the same time they really made a fools of themselves because if a guy said hello to them or acted just a wee bit friendly to them they would go on and on about how this guy liked them. I would get so embarrassed for them because it seemed like everyone except them saw that the poor guy was just tollerating them. It honestly was sad.

    I think these girls behavior's have affected me to a certain extent because I DO NOT want to act like these girls. So I think sometimes I go to the other extreme just so I don't look pathetic. (I'm not trying to be mean, but they really did come across as not being completely in touch with reality.)

    I think some of this behavior stems from that they... like me don't / didn't get attention from guys so they cling to whatever attention can get, and as a result might not see how they are appearing to others.

     
    Old 04-15-2005, 11:06 AM   #12
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Christine23, U really took my thoughts right out of my head. I try not to be cruel but like you I consider myself a realist most of the time. I knew a girl in high school who has CP and she was boy crazy. Everytime a boy spoke to her she would lose her mind. It was really embrassing for me because I was around her and it made me think that she was bringing attention to all of us as a group. At my high school pretty much if you had a disablity you stuck together. It always seemed as though she was overdoing it. I totally agree with you on this. I refuse to put myself out there if I know I'm going to get shot down. I think you can look at another person and know if they could be attracted to you or not. This goes for AB people too. Everybody just can't have any person they lay their eyes on. I don't won't to ever come across as pathetc, overbearing or full of myself. I just sit back and observe (you really can learn a lot).

     
    Old 04-15-2005, 12:10 PM   #13
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Quote:
    ..I read your post and wanted to reply to the problem you have with shaking during social interactions..I dont belive this is related to your CP..I do the same thing..I saw my doctor about it and discoverd it is Social Anxiety..He put me on medication which really helped...
    In recent years there has been a huge amount of publicity on SA being a medical condition that can be treated with meds - While in certain cases this may be the case, I'd tread lightly here.. More often than not, these issues can be more effectively overcome by looking at the root cause.

    There are many factors that influence how we think, act and generally perceive the world around us... Some of this is genetically founded, but I continue to believe that the majority is based on previous experiences combined with personal perceptions.

    While I've not seen any studies focused around mood disorders and the CP population, my guess is that these numbers are quantitatively higher than in the general population.. Maybe our posters in the medical field can shed some light on this issue - My personal opinion remains that there is huge void here that is rarely addressed by our medical professionals and it more often than not left to snowball into a real problem that lingers on into adulthood.

    More recently - I've seen a number of pilot programs that attempt to tackle this issue early... I've seen a so-called "reverse integration" program at a kids' hospital here. Basically the goal here to integrate AB kids with PWDs rather than the other way around.. The idea can potentially be good - I think that much of these issues stem from the perception that a PWD (or person with a disability) is more likely to think of him or herself as a lesser AB or (Able Bodied person) if he or she is mainstreamed into an environment they are exposed only to ABs. We'll have to wait and see if these kids, both disabled and not reap any benefits from reverse integration.

    Quote:
    Some days I mind answering the questions and other days I'm don't. In actually though, I really don't like to discuss it because I want people to see more than my CP and from personal experiences I can tell you that for me talking about it just makes them focus more.
    Write,

    I used to think just like this all throughout highschool and most of my college years- My goal was to be the best AB I could be.. I would avoid having conversations pertaining to disability in general - and never told anyone that I was any different - As if they couldn't see that to begin with!

    It was only after I got to know people fairly well that they would ask me about my CP. I would answer their questions with a sense that I've failed at my goal... I now realize that this thought was completly scewed.

    Self confidence comes from accepting who you are and building a positive self image.. Why then would we try to ignore our disability in hopes that others will do the same? This only compounds the problem in that it raises your guard and it prevents you from being open and carefree with people.. It's important for you to accept yourself for who you are.. Once this happens - People will start to do the same.. Whether it's a friendship or a relationship people who hang around you do so because they like who you are and what you have to offer.. Disability or not.

    Quote:
    I remember in high school / university there was a girl or two I knew with CP who were more outgoing than I was but at the same time they really made a fools of themselves because if a guy said hello to them or acted just a wee bit friendly to them they would go on and on about how this guy liked them. I would get so embarrassed for them because it seemed like everyone except them saw that the poor guy was just tollerating them. It honestly was sad.
    Christine - how are you? Good to see you posting again.

    I think I know the type your talking about. You're absolutely right.. these thoughts were probably completely out of touch with reality.. The ironic part is that these girls are probably married with a couple of kids by now.. I can think of a couple of examples myself.. Are they happily married.. Well, who am I to judge?

    They say the bigger the net the more fish you catch right?? Some people are prone to wallow on anyone that comes their way.. I tend to be selective, probably more than I should be but finding a happy medium is key.


    BTW - I congragulate everyone who read the entire post.

    F.S

     
    Old 04-15-2005, 12:30 PM   #14
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    I don't have advice, but I can relate.

    I wouldn't exactly say that I have no self confidence, because I often think about all the acquaintances I have. I had a ton more in HS than now in college, which is not what I was expecting, but I do have a lot of acquaintances here, nevertheless. I am myself around most of these people, and don't think about how I'm perceived when I'm having fun with them.

    Trying to get a guy is another matter. I don't really actively look, but you know, I know a lot of ABs aren't doing anything special to get into a relationship. A lot of people just bump into someone or meet them at work or school or wherever, and somehow they both become interested in each other. That hasn't happened to me. I wonder what I am doing wrong, sometimes. People have told me that I'll never realize how many guys are interested in me but too shy to let me know. If that's the case, all I want is for one guy to say he's interested in me, to at least let me know that I'm human, you know? Not that when I say "interested" I mean friendly. I would feel embarrassed too, if one of my friends flipped out over a guy saying hello or something. I feel guilty for that, but it's how I feel.

    Sometimes I think I'm waiting for a guy who doesn't exist. Sometimes I think that the guy out there who likes me doesn't exist.

    Wow, this post sounds so pessimistic, but I feel like I needed to get it out to people who might relate.

     
    Old 04-18-2005, 10:51 AM   #15
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    Re: Need Advice on Self Confidence

    Nutcase, I understand what you are saying. I really don't look at myself as unconfident. I look at myself in a realistic mirror. I do see myself for what I am although IT MAY NOT SEEM LIKE IT. I too, find myself searching for a person just to acknowledge my presence. I'm jealous of the fact that many have more opportunities to do all types of things that I don't get the chance to do and they don't act on it ( whether it be a job, relationship or otherwise). I know guys who don't like people "just cause" and turn down what I see, could be true romance. I don't even get the opportunity to even turn down and as a result I myself settling and enjoying someone or some things that I probably wouldn't enjoy had I've been given the opportunities and had choices. With me, everything ties in together. No attention from anybody makes me seek attention from people that I don't need in my life and that boils over into the mixing pot of trying to get jobs and just enjoying my life by myself.

    Last edited by write; 04-18-2005 at 10:54 AM.

     
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