People with anxiety frequently think that other people hate them. Yes, hate is a strong word and all that. But, I’m consistently thinking that people hate me. I have no idea why either. It’s part of living with anxiety I guess. It’s probably due to overthinking and being overly concerned about what other people think about me. This is something that I’ve heard people who have anxiety (like me) complain about. I’ve come to terms that I have a severe anxiety disorder. I’m used to worrying and not being able to control my racing/anxious thoughts. The repetitive thought that plagues me though is “does that person hate me?” Okay, so I was just talking to my friend on the phone right? We were having an intense emotional conversation and all of a sudden he was gone. I looked at my phone and the call had dropped…or had he hung up me?
OH NO! Did I offend him?
The thoughts didn’t stop after that. They just kept going and going and my brain was making up all kinds of stories about what happened. I was convinced that he hated me and I texted him a novel about how sorry I was and that I hope things got better for him. LOW AND BEHOLD five minutes later after I was obsessing about him hating me, he texted me and said: “my phone died.” I cannot express to you the relief I felt upon receiving that text. The sun came out from behind the clouds and everything was well in the universe again.
HE DID NOT HATE ME.
There was tangible proof. Then I called him and asked him if he hated me just to make sure. He said he didn’t, so that was reassuring. I checked that off my list of things to worry about for the day.
But this is such a common fear for people who live with anxiety. We often are convinced that people hate us and it just isn’t true. Also, thinking that someone hates you is kind of extreme. It’s more likely that they’re upset with you, which isn’t hating you.
This is definitely something to work on in therapy, whether that’s using an online therapist or an in-person one. It’s upsetting to feel like people hate you all the time. It’s something I’ve personally been targeting in my own therapy sessions. It gets tricky when there are other anxiety-based disorders working at the same time. For example, the thing about having anxiety and OCD together (which I have) is that you will think someone hates you and you CANNOT STOP THINKING ABOUT IT. It’ll go round and round in your brain. Medication does help with this, but the work is primarily done in therapy.
You have to be dedicated to working on anxiety. Without that dedication, you will continue to believe the worries that are in your head. I promise you that not everyone hates you. I know you might not believe me, but I’m telling you it’s true.