I am the odd one out

If you feel as though you were always the person in your family of origin who was on the outside, scapegoated or seen as difficult, too much or not enough, you might still struggle with your emotional well-being. Of course, there are many things affecting this situation, such as birth order, your caregiver’s mental and physical health when you were growing up, and many other factors.

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Feeling different or on the outside can be a lonely place and create struggles with being part of groups or new family dynamics. It can give positives, such as giving a broader perspective on organisations, groups, or the dynamics within those, too. Exploring your process or what emotions, behaviours and consequences typically arise when you encounter these situations can be a part of therapy, which empowers you by giving you new knowledge and choices.

Feeling not enough is concurrent with low self-esteem and a feeling of needing to strive, achieve, perfect or improve. This can have benefits, but the downsides can be the exhaustion of constant striving, the harshness of your own criticism if you make mistakes, do not achieve as highly or well as you wanted, or anxiety that you are not worthy.

Addressing and making these beliefs conscious in therapy are ways of changing this pattern and improving your relationship with yourself. You are constantly affected by your feelings about yourself, so feeling worthy and good about yourself is important to your well-being.

Being made to feel you are too much or that the things you say or do are invalid, spurious or lack importance might make you doubt yourself. You might find it difficult to trust your judgement or to have confidence in your actions. You struggle to make choices or decisions and look to others for approval or direction. Looking back at the messages you received from those around you and exploring how they became part of your doubt in yourself might be part of the journey to challenge these doubts, and begin to take risks, learn to trust yourself and unhook yourself from the shame of being too much.

Bullying is, of course, the other aspect of being the odd one out and, for many people who felt they were not accepted as they were/are by their family of origin, experiences of bullying as children or as adults may have compounded this alienation. Reclaiming your power from the bullies, unpicking the situation of vulnerability which made you a target, and offering yourself the care and compassion you need to recover can be part of your therapeutic discovery.

Therapy can be a safe place to really get to know yourself well, understand your process, and unpick old beliefs, patterns, and emotional responses. Working with now and linking with what happened before can create a conscious understanding beyond the intellect and in the emotional parts of you. This is where change can come and create space, illumination, and new growth.

Why not arrange an introductory call with a therapist and see how you might begin to accept yourself, in all your perfect imperfection?

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Nottingham, NG5
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Written by Fiona Corbett, Accredited BACP and EMDR therapist and Clinical Supervisor
Nottingham, NG5

Fiona Corbett BACP and EMDR Association accredited therapist

I work in Nottingham with individuals. My training is in Humanistic counselling, Psychodynamic psychotherapy, and EMDR I also offer supervision. I work with a wide range of issues.

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