Ask Jigsaw: I'm a disappointment | Advice for young people

Ask Jigsaw: I’m a disappointment

I am such a disappointment to my parents, they are both really sporty and fit and while that’s great i don’t like sport at all and i don’t like the same things as them. They never want to do the things that i like, watching a movie, baking hanging out.

I know my mam thinks i am too fat, she is always asking me have i done my exercise today and i feel embarrassed.

I know my parents love me but i am not who they want me to be and am beginning to feel like i don’t belong and i am just not good enough for them.

-James

It is not unusual that as we get older we develop our own interests and tastes.

Alan, Jigsaw Clinician

Hi James,

It sounds like your relationship with your parents feels quite challenging at the moment. Parents usually have a big influence on our lives growing up, but it is not unusual that as we get older we develop our own interests and tastes. This can sometimes be hard for parents to understand. It can lead to us feeling upset and misunderstood. It is great that you are trying to find some common ground with your parents, even though you have different interests. Perhaps you could explain to them that you would really like to spend time with them, and discuss whether there is a way to compromise, either finding something you all enjoy doing, or taking turns to choose an activity.

When your mum asks you about exercise you are assuming that this is because she thinks you are fat. I wonder whether there may be other explanations? She obviously enjoys sport and perhaps she is trying to encourage you to do something she loves? Maybe she assumes that you will feel as good as she does after exercising, so thinks she is helping by encouraging you? It would be helpful to share with her the fact that it embarrasses you when she asks and to talk to her about what you think the underlying meaning is.

She is probably unaware of how much her comments are affecting you and may be able to reassure you or to be a bit more direct with you if she has concerns. I know it can be difficult opening up a conversation like this, but showing her this question could be a good starting point.

 

Because they love you, they will want to find ways to support you.

Alan, Jigsaw Clinician

In your question I can hear so many of the awful things you are telling yourself ‘I’m a disappointment’, ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘I don’t belong’.  Feeling that you are not good enough can create lots of self-doubt and have a significant impact on your life. We all have an ‘internal voice’ that at times can become quite critical or negative, but we can learn to challenge it through becoming more self-compassionate. You can read more about that in this article about dealing with self-criticism.

You have said that you know your parents love you, and it is really important not to lose sight of this. Because they love you, they will want to find ways to support you to feel better about yourself and to feel more secure in your relationship with them. You have been brave enough to write down how you are feeling here, so hopefully you can take the next step in talking to them about how you feel.

Best wishes,

Alan, Jigsaw Clinician