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Feeling useless at everything

(31 Posts)
songstress60 Wed 05-Jan-22 16:19:50

I wonder if there are any others on gransnet who feel as inept as I am. Both my sisters do not need to pay tradesmen to do work in the house, and despite trying all I do is bodge things. When I was in work I struggled to climb the career ladder and only had one promotion after much trying. I took 8 attempts to pass my driving test at the age of 45 and even now I have never been on the motorway. I did have lessons but she gave me up after 5 lessons. I feel incompetent at everything despite trying at things. I did have some paintings that I had done in the house then I realised how amateurish they looked so I flung them. Tried to put a new design in my garden with rocks and shells from the beach but yesterday discarded them and threw them back on the beach. When I was in work we did one day's community work so I volunteered to work at a centre for vulnerable families, and worked alongside another woman who was a dab hand at wallpapering, but she refused to show me how to do it.I volunteered to work at a dog sanctuary when I retired the managers manner was so awful I gave it up after a few weeks. He would only trust me with certain dogs. When I looked after the dogs for my sister and her husband my mother said I could not control one of them. I am just so sick of feeling like this. I look back on my life and it's one big failure. Have any other readers felt like this? If so what did they do to resolve the situation? Sometimes I can't be bothered getting out of bed in the morning as these useless feelings overwhelm me so much.

B9exchange Wed 05-Jan-22 16:25:37

It sounds as though you have had all the confidence knocked out of you, I think perhaps some counselling would enable you to get some of it back and value yourself?

Kathy73 Wed 05-Jan-22 16:27:38

Try to reframe your thinking - focus on the positives. It took you a while, but you PASSED your driving test. When you retired and did voluntary work, you showed strength of character by leaving an uncomfortable situation. At least you attempted the paintings…….
What make you happy?

Grandmabatty Wed 05-Jan-22 16:29:37

I think you are either depressed, menopausal or suffering from January blues! I see a woman who has many skills and is very resilient. She doesn't find it easy to do one thing, but keeps trying and actively looks for other activities. As for decorating, I have painted and papered in the past. It wasn't always to professional standards, but I felt proud I had tried. Could you be a perfectionist? I have a friend who throws out art work because it isn't up to her standards. Sometimes she can't even start for fear of failing. I also paint, mainly flowers and they are rarely as good as I would like, however I enjoy the process and it absorbs me. I think you are being hard on yourself.

Kate1949 Wed 05-Jan-22 16:36:39

I think you're being a bit hard on yourself. You're probably good at lots of things and a nice person.
I feel pretty useless too. I can't swim or drive despite trying to learn. I'm a pretty rubbish cook. I can't decorate, paint, sew, make cakes or do anything like that. I didn't get any exams at school. When I wrap Christmas presents they look like a dog's hind leg. Everything really. It was all down to confidence and an awful childhood which left me with no confidence and low self esteem. was good at my job but it was only basic office work and typing so nothing earth shattering. However I'm trying to accept myself. I know I'm a decent person. That will have to do. Be kinder to yourself.

Coastpath Wed 05-Jan-22 16:52:17

It seems to me Songstress60 that you have a good heart - you help others and volunteer. You work hard at things even if you find them difficult and when you fail you get right back on and have another go. Lots of people don't do that.
Whilst you might not have liked the outcome, your idea for your garden design was really innovative and creative. I admire you for all that.

Also, can I add that your post was beautifully written and even though I could feel your pain through it I enjoyed the clever, interesting way you had written it and was compelled to read more.

I honestly can't tell you how many things I can't do or have failed at. I'm a crap cook, I'm fat and my hair is always a total state and gave up my volunteering job because I didn't like the nit picking boss. I garden like a dream though and give good hugs. We're none of us perfect.

Give yourself a break lady because you sound great just how you are. flowers

poshpaws Wed 05-Jan-22 16:57:22

songstress60 I really, really feel for you. It's horrible when all your feelings of self worth go down the toilet, so to speak.

Your post sounds as though you are very sensitive to the approach and/or criticism of others .. e.g taking your mother's comments about the dogs: do YOU agree that you couldn't control one of them? Or are you perhaps so used to non-constructive criticism from your mother that you unconsciously take on board all her negativity?

The manager not trusting you with certain dogs at the sanctuary, I can very well understand and I urge you not to take that personally - as well as our professional careers, my late husband and I ran a mixed species animal rescue for over 30 years, and please believe, there were many dogs (and other types of animal) whom we ourselves were VERY careful with until we'd completed remedial work with them.

I suspect the manager was acting out of safety concerns, not because he believed you incapable. He wouldn't have taken you on in the first place if you'd seemed that way.

Your post also makes me fear that you may be clinically depressed and anxious. If so, please, please, ask your GP to prescribe some meds for you, and refer you to a psychiatrist or a psychologist. (Unfortunately these services are currently as overloaded as the rest of the NHS, so you would most likely have to wait several months to be seen, but of course, your meds might have kicked in before then anyway.)

If you do get some medication to help you through, be aware that it takes between 10 to 14 days for the effect to kick in, and also in that initial period there can be fairly unpleasant side effects. Don't be put off - those wear off very soon thereafter, and taking the meds is no different to wearing a cast if you have a broken leg.

I wish you all the luck in the world finding confidence in yourself this year.

(ps. I haven't a clue how to wallpaper, or change my own tyre or a fuse in a plug; I failed my driving test 5 times before passing yet I still find plenty of things about myself to be proud of. You'll come to that too - just ask for help.)

silverlining48 Wed 05-Jan-22 16:57:27

That’s good advice for Songstress Kate, maybe you can take it for yourself. Being a decent person is about as good as it gets and FYI I don’t/ can’t do most of the stuff you mention either. It’s ok, there will be other things we do do. ( not sure what!) grin
Let’s all be kind to ourselves.
Songstress sometimes I only get up in time fir lunch. These are difficult covid times, and you sound as if you are going through a low period, don’t be hard on yourself. Things will get better, all on their own. Keep on keeping on. flowers

Kate1949 Wed 05-Jan-22 17:02:02

silverlining Sometimes our inner voice tells us we're hopeless. I know mine has all my life. I've never felt remotely as good as anyone else but that has got me nowhere except in constant misery. I think I'm OK. I try to be kind and empathetic. People seem to like me. I'm sure the OP has people who think she's great.

Kim19 Wed 05-Jan-22 17:08:40

I'm no expert. Quite the opposite. However, some of your criticisms of yourself remind me of a family member roughly in the same boat who was later diagnosed with dyspraxia. Have you ever been tested?

silverlining48 Wed 05-Jan-22 17:14:28

That horrible critical negative ‘ inner voice’ . Don’t give it space. I do understand it’s hard , but ignore what may have happened in the past. You are kind, you have friends who care, you are not hopeless, you are ok. flowers

AGAA4 Wed 05-Jan-22 17:15:01

You sound kind songstress and that is probably the best quality anyone can have.

TillyTrotter Wed 05-Jan-22 17:26:10

Lovely supportive post Coastpath, and songstress you will find many people on here whose path through life has been similar to yours.
I’m sorry you are feeling so low about things and it can often happen at the start of a new year.
I came to thinking long ago that “good enough” is good enough for me, I am never going to be fantastic at anything but it is OK. 💐

Redhead56 Wed 05-Jan-22 17:36:02

Early on in your life you may have been shy and lacking in confidence as you grew up. Its a shame it probably held you back asking for for advice or help.
You have obviously always worked which is positive. Some people go through life without contributing anything and expect to be kept. You have also volunteered you have a good work ethic. It's rather obvious you have had the misfortune of working with some unpleasant people. If you had more confidence you would have been able to be more vocal when dealing with criticism. You could be around people with positive energy more. It will rub off on you and help you be more outgoing a walking club or something similar in your area. Stop criticising yourself and see the good you have done.

Chocolatelovinggran Wed 05-Jan-22 17:47:13

Songstress, you are a kind person, and are judging yourself very harshly. Tell that critical inner voice to be quiet, and don't compare yourself to others - you may be good at things that they are not.
I can't decorate ( it would be like the Peppa Pig episode when Daddy Pig's attempt to hang a picture necessitated a visit from an electrician, a plasterer, a ...), and my dog owning family would think me not competent to be in charge of their dogs, but that's not the most important thing about me - nor are your perceived shortcomings the most important thing about you.
Sending you 💓

crazyH Wed 05-Jan-22 18:03:29

I can't sing, I can't dance, I cant paint, I can't sew, I can't 'garden' and I can't even cook well. I can just about drive but only locally (passed my test at 6th attempt), not good at relationships (I'm divorced). So, I'm inept at at least one more thing than you. I can't do much about it and I'm too old to change. Don't're not alone.
I just heard that on This Morning', there's a segment on how to be happy .... perhaps we should watch that ...

Lucca Wed 05-Jan-22 18:10:55

i can't sing, I can't dance, I cant paint, I can't sew, I can't 'garden' and I can't even cook well

Snap. I can’t organise finances. I can’t “make” things.

But I can love my family and friends. I can make people laugh sometimes. Try very hard to make a list of what you can do!

User7777 Wed 05-Jan-22 18:25:19

I have never driven on a motorway. Not interested. An A road was always good enough for me. I also find people will big themselves up. What they say they are good at is far from the truth. We are not good at everything. Concentrate on what you can do, and not what you cant. We cant be experts in all fields. I can barely grow flowers nowadays. But I dont care. I do pay tradesmen, but who cares. Not me

Scentia Wed 05-Jan-22 18:38:45

We are all good at something. You clearly have perseverance as one of your talents, look how many times you have tried stuff. Just keep going I would say.
I always use this joke as a motivational trigger.
Person 1 “David Beckham is so thick”
Person 2 “ yeah but, look at Steven Hawkin, he was shit at football”
We all have something. I am particularly good at DIY but I cannot cook at all and relied on my DD from age 10 to produce a meal for the family. I find that you need to be interested to gain skills and if you keep looking and keep trying you will find something that interests you enough to get good at it❤️
(Hope the joke doesn’t offend people, it is just a joke)

HowVeryDareYou Wed 05-Jan-22 19:32:13

I passed my driving test, 24 years ago, on the 6th attempt, but I've never driven on the motorway (My husband drives if we ever need to use a motorway), much preferring to take longer but easier routes.

I can't play an instrument, dance, sing, sew, knit or embroider. I don't speak any languages, I'm not good at gardening, painting or cooking.

What I am good at is being a Mum and Granny. I'm generous (with time and money when I'm able), I'm kind, have a great deal of empathy, I'm a great friend, a good neighbour, a good listener. I'd go out of my way to help someone or some creature.

nadateturbe Wed 05-Jan-22 19:39:58

You're focusing on the negative. You need to love yourself.
My cooking is mostly awful. But I know which meals I'm good at.
I paint and I enjoy it. I'm a four year beginner. So what?
I'm average at most things.
Don't be so hard on yourself.

JaneJudge Wed 05-Jan-22 19:49:49

you don't sound a failure at all!!

AreWeThereYet Wed 05-Jan-22 19:50:16

You're no different to most of us. Few of us are brilliant at everything we do. I firmly believe that everybody is good at something, the trick is to find it.

I'm very good at decorating - but still bodge things now and again. And I read up well before I try new things, including hours (sometimes) on YouTube watching others do it first. Sometimes I still get it wrong. There are countless things in life I'm no good at, but I do what I like doing whether I am good at it or not. I enjoy cooking, but some of my dinners are disasters. Maybe you're not giving yourself long enough to learn things and get past the initial failures. Art is very subjective anyway - if you like your paintings stick them on your wall.

Nanderin Wed 05-Jan-22 22:30:16

I too am pretty usless at everything worse since covid. Everything is a nightmare.

Hetty58 Wed 05-Jan-22 22:43:54

songstress60, I think it's a case of 'feeling useless' rather than actually being 'inept'. Some people have a great confidence in themselves and their skills - others don't. There isn't always a close match to their competence, just a positive, or negative, outlook.

I feel confident, so will have a try at most things. Sometimes it results in failure - but I view that as a learning experience. I don't beat myself up about it. We get stuff right by experimentation.

My value as a person, though, isn't based on skills, making myself useful - or being efficient. I'm quite good enough, I think, just being me, having fun and enjoying life. I have good friends and a lovely family, so really appreciate life.