I’m surprised I hadn’t touched on this topic before, given my long history of being made to feel unwanted, the title of my blog. Plus, the fact that I have a section dedicated to my readers sharing their own stories of feeling unwanted on my blog, too. Well, as they say, better late than never, so here’s my article on how to handle feeling unwanted #YoureNotUnwanted.
The Causes Of Feeling Unwanted
Below is a list of examples of how we can feel unwanted, although it isn’t a complete list.
It’s easy to be made to feel unwanted in a relationship, especially if you have borderline personality disorder (BPD) like me. If you feel you’re not being heard or you’re experiencing a lack of attention, then feeling unwanted can feel painful, more so when coming from a romantic partner.
One of the more annoying traits of having anxiety is over-analysing. You can spiral into a deep depression if you get stuck in an over-analysing cycle. For me, this would happen every time I tried to sleep, which caused me to develop insomnia. My over-analysing issue is also a problem when my mind isn’t kept busy enough. Thus, it’s likely that your perception of feeling unwanted is really just your anxiety playing tricks on you.
Self-esteem and confidence
Much like anxiety, if your self-esteem is low and you lack confidence, then you’re likely to struggle with self-doubt and will assume the worst. Having self-doubt will cause you to struggle with a low opinion of yourself, which will cause you to have negative intrusive thoughts that will further erode your self-esteem. The knock-on effect of this is feeling unwanted because we believe if we don’t like ourselves, then how can others? Even though this is a false belief, that doesn’t stop us from believing it.
Trauma is traumatic, it’s not easy to get over and it’ll warp the world around you. The trauma I carry with me from my childhood is also a huge factor in my insomnia. Certain types of trauma will have a bigger impact on how we feel about others wanting us. For example, sexual abuse can often leave people feeling dirty and unloveable. Again, this belief is a false belief, but that doesn’t stop us from thinking that way.
Often when we’re feeling unsure about ourselves, we seek to win or keep people’s friendship and love by giving up our needs and seeking to satisfy the needs of others instead. I know I’m guilty of doing this while trying to make friends and keeping friends while enduring a childhood of racist abuse. Being a people-pleaser can also be a response to abuse and trauma. The fear of rejection and being unwanted will mean we’ll sacrifice our own wellbeing for that of others in the hope they’ll ‘want’ us in return.
How To Overcome Feeling Unwanted
We live in a world where our values are dictated by society, whereby we’re all expected to work ourselves to death. We’re also now expected to have side hustles rather than having jobs that pay not only a living wage but a wage that we can enjoy a good work-life balance with. As we conform to these ideas that our value comes from work, how much we earn, and the narrow definition of what beauty is meant to be, the world grows unhappier by the day. Therefore, it’s time to ditch society’s norms and values to draw your self-worth from and pick your own on which to build your happiness. Put self-love first, priorities your needs and loving yourself.
You are worthy
Negative thoughts will single-handedly bring you down if you let them. I know they did for me for YEARS. I’ve had extremely negative intrusive thoughts since primary school, which then led to me being a suicidal child by the time I was eight. Anyway, the way to combat your negative thoughts is to not leave them unchallenged, which can be done in several ways.
One way is to seek out evidence for and against the intrusive thoughts that are antagonising your feeling of feeling unwanted. For example, if your thoughts are saying something like “everyone at work hates me and I’m no good at my job” then you need to ask yourself if that is actually true. You could just be having a bad day, which happens to all of us, but bad days can easily cause us to descend into a downwards spiral. You might have just had an unfortunate encounter with a co-work, but that doesn’t mean everyone hates you. Or you could have just had a bad meeting whereby your manager applied the criticism sandwich rather than constructive criticism, which can easily make you feel terrible. Therefore, looking for evidence and asking yourself some pretty simple questions can help you stop these negative thoughts in their tracks.
Another way is to take your negative thought and flip it on their head to reframe them. For example, if you’re having intrusive thoughts like, “no one wants me around” then you can tell yourself that “people do want me around, and I am worthy of being loved and of friendship”.
Check your relationship
The first thing you should probably do if you feel unwanted in a relationship is to check to see if the relationship is toxic or abusive. If the relationship turns out to be toxic, then you might want to ask yourself what you would like to do about the situation. You could try talking to other people in the relationship to try and fix it but it could also be to end the relationship to priorities your mental wellbeing. If the relationship is abusive then there are support services out there that can help you (see support section).
If you’re feeling neglected, ignored, or not being heard, then maybe it’s time to open a dialogue with the person you’re having these concerns with. You might find that the other person has an issue they need help with (maybe they’re depressed, for example) which is why you’ve not been getting attention from them. Alternatively, it could just be something that can be fixed by sharing your concerns. You won’t know unless you talk to them.
My partner and I have had to have several long in-depth conversations about our relationship due to the difficulties I have with attachments, which is the root cause of my BPD. My partner is the committed and affectionate type, whereas I go through periods where their mere touch and can disgust me. These periods have happened to me in every relationship I’ve ever had, but I’d normally end the relationship when they start at around the two-and-a-half month mark. Previously, only ending the relationship would end this feeling of disgust. However, I’ve been with my partner for a long time now and that’s completely due to us being able to talk and feeling safe to do so when we do.
It’s important to be able to express your needs, because often the people that are causing that feeling of feeling unwanted might be a result of simply not knowing what your needs are. Thus, telling them your needs may elicit them to change so you can feel wanted again.
If you’re interested in reading more about my issues with relationships due to my BPD, you can do so by clicking here. Although I should stress, not all people with BPD will have my issues with relationships and attachments, and those that do may experience it in a completely different way.
Having boundaries is an important step in having healthy relationships with everyone around us and ensuring that our own needs are met, thus improving our overall quality of life. You’re entitled to protect your own mental wellbeing and to have your needs respected, so ask yourself, “what do I need?”
Make the effort
One common thing I’ve noticed between people with self-doubt that causes them to suffer from feelings of feeling unwanted is that they don’t make the effort. What do I mean by that? Well, people, I included, will go on and on about how the people we know never send us messages, call, or ask to do stuff with us, whereas we also aren’t messaging the people we know, calling them, or asking them to do stuff with us either. Therefore, put in the effort and message the people in your life, call them for a chat, and ask them to do stuff with you. Don’t leave it all to the other people in your life to make the effort to connect with you. They have their own lives as well.
Another thing you could do is to arrange regular date nights with your partner to help bring the attention back to your relationship. You could even apply the date night idea to doing something similar with your friends, like a monthly get together on the first Friday of each month.
Taking up hobbies and connecting with people who have similar interests is another way you can overcome feeling unwanted. There are plenty of groups on Facebook you could join to do that or even websites like Meetup.
Ditching the people-pleaser in you
There are several different ways you can overcome a people-pleasing tendency, such as learning to say no, working out what your needs and priorities are, setting boundaries, and using positive self-talk.
When it comes to your romantic relationships, the cause of the feeling of feeling unwanted might be due to not knowing each other’s love language. My partner introduced me to this concept while explaining that my main love language is ‘Gifts’. I tend to buy my partner gifts for no real reason other than because I can, the gifts being mainly personal to our weird relationship.
Gary Chapman first wrote about the five love languages back in 1992. The five love languages are words of affirmation, quality time, physical touch, acts of service, and receiving gifts. Setting up a date night is a way to embrace the quality time love language.
- Words of affirmation – Verbal acknowledgements of affection, which can include using and creating cute nicknames for each other.
- Quality time – Pretty much does what it says on the tin, spending good quality time together.
- Physical touch – This doesn’t always have to be sexual in nature. Handholding, scratching your partner’s head, and bopping your partner’s nose are other ways you could show affection that’s unique to your relationship.
- Acts of service – This is when your parent goes out of their way to help you, like looking after you when you’re ill.
- Receiving gifts – It’s not about the value of the item you gift your partner, but rather the symbolic nature of it as a visual symbol of your love and affection.
We can all express love in different ways and we need to be aware that we might not realise that the other ways to express love that is different to how we do it, exist. Thus, it’s a good idea to sit down and consider if your partner expresses love in a different way. If you’re still struggling with how they might show their love, then you could also ask them. Talking is one of the most important tools in maintaining a healthy relationship, after all, so never stop talking to each other, and by that, I mean really talking to each other, not just small talk.
A good way to feel wanted and to feel like you’re doing something to help others is to start volunteering. I’ve personally worked as a volunteer for several mental health and substance abuse charities. I don’t get my sense of self-worth from the amount of money and stuff I have, but from my ability to help others, hence starting this blog. Thus, I highly recommend volunteering as a way to feel connected to others and as a way to feel good about yourself. Two birds, one stone, as they say.
Never feel ashamed or that you’re not worthy of getting professional help if that’s what you need to do to improve your quality of life. That’s what support services are there for. I’ve heard this concern a lot while working in my volunteer roles and it’s something I’m always having to reassure people about. Don’t wait for your situation to get worse before seeking help. Be proactive.
What If You Can’t Make People Want You?
I guess the real question is, why would you want to make people want you and what does it matter if people don’t? Look, not everyone is going to like you, that’s just how life is sometimes, and love, well, love can be fickle. We can’t control who we fall in love with and we can’t control who we fall out of love with, as we’re at the mercy of our hormones. Being happy isn’t about how other people can make us feel, but rather how we can make ourselves feel. The people in your life are just a bonus. So be your own best friend. Figure out the qualities you’d want in a best friend and be that for yourself. Friends build each other up, not tear each other down, so apply that to yourself and focus on celebrating the wins rather than getting stuck in the losses. Furthermore, be your own cheerleader and be your own coach while you’re at it as well.
If you’d like to share your Unwanted Life stories with my blog and my
Unwanted Life readers, then let me know by contacting me through my social media accounts or by going to the contact page. Also, why not check out my blog’s Unwanted Life stories by clicking here.
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Unwanted Life readers.
Live Free Fear – Wales