I generally have a hard time taking compliments, but even more so lately, which I guess isn’t so surprising. No matter what they are for and no matter how big or small they are I have a hard time just hearing it, let alone accepting and/or believing it. I also have an extremely difficult time believing that the compliment is sincere. Again neither of these things should be surprising I suppose with everything that is going on, but even so it is a little frustrating not being able to accept or believe when someone gives me a compliment. Whether it is someone telling me that they think that I’m a strong person, that they like something that I have recently made or that they like the way that I handle something as a parent I don’t know if I can trust what they are telling me. My first response to any compliment lately is to ask what the person who said it means. I’m not trying to fish for additional compliments when I ask for an explanation I sincerely just do not understand why on Earth someone would be complimenting me.
What is there to compliment anyway? I am not beautiful or even cute. My marriage has failed and I was completely unable to stop it. Everyday is a struggle to get through. I don’t know how to explain to my son what is going on and why. With very few exceptions there is almost nobody that I trust anymore. Hell, I can’t even get a stereotypical divorce because I don’t seem to have the ability to hate the man who is causing all of this pain, stress, fear, distrust and every other struggle I’m going through. How broken am I that I am not able to hate him?!?!? So how is it that people see something to compliment? I’ve always said that I am my own worse critic and this situation is no different, but seriously I don’t get it. I didn’t do anything to earn or deserve the compliment so why give it to me?
I’m sure that they probably feel like they are showing their support and encouragement when they give me these compliments, but the truth is that hearing them actually and sometimes even literally hurts. I know that they are just trying to help, be friendly and maybe they are even sincere in their compliment, but truth be told those things only make the compliments hurt more. I don’t, or can’t, believe that they being sincere and even beyond that I feel like a fraud accepting the compliments because even if the person giving me the compliment is being sincere and believes what they are saying about me I don’t feel like it is. These compliments are generally from friends and people who I actually make the effort to trust. It’s a hundred times worse when it is someone who I hardly know or do not know at all who is giving them.
I read a post that another woman wrote on the online divorce support forum that I joined where she talked about being on a date and the man she was with told her that she was beautiful and it sent her to the bathroom in tears and that this was an example of how she has a hard time accepting compliments. I have less than zero interest in dating any time in the even remotely near future, but IF I do ever start dating again I have very little doubt that I will be worse than she was in this situation. After all I have NEVER thought I was beautiful (the VERY FEW pictures of myself that I like are ones that are in black and white or ones where my son is the primary focus and I just happen to be in the picture) and what little self-esteem I did have has most definitely been destroyed by all of this. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to believe another compliment from anyone ever again. Not even from the people who I trust the most in the world and that knowledge just makes me feel even more broken than I already feel. I know that I have friends and family who would tell me that such a statement is just me being negative and that in time it will change, but I think it is an honest assessment of what I see as the most likely future for myself. I do not discount the possibility that I may end up being 100% wrong, but I think that is highly unlikely and I don’t think acknowledging that is being negative. Just pragmatic. In the meantime how am I supposed to handle any compliments that I do get? I can’t accept them and I hate to be rude by rejecting them so I find myself in yet another limbo with no known way out and no end in sight.