It never leaves you. It paralyses you. You start something and never finish, giving thousand different reasons as to why you don’t want to do it anymore but deep down you know the only reason. Self-doubt sucks the life out of everything you do. You cannot enjoy the process because it makes you worry about the result already, which, in your case is always a negative one. It need not be a hard task even. You can even mess up things like saying ‘hello’ to someone.
Growing up I never had very big ambitions or goals because I believed I am going to fail at it anyway. I never learnt that failing is okay and that trying matters too. That kind of self-doubt was gradually built into me over the years by my narcissistic parents. I could never be right with them. They always had some better way of doing things and I always was one step behind. That kind of built a perfectionist attitude within me. Then I didn’t bother with trying even because being perfect at something was tough and felt impossible most times. My experiments with new things were subtly put down by them. They always acted like it was beneficial for me but looking back they allowed me to do something only if it was in their comfort zone.
All the important life choices were made by them. But I was gaslighted into believing that everything was my choice and that made me doubt myself much more. I blamed myself when I failed because after all it was chosen by me and that why couldn’t I do better. For a long time I forced myself to do things to please them without even realising. The act of seeking validation from them is many layered. I still have a long way to go.
The consequences of this self-doubt were many. I could never hold a proper job. When I held a job, I was anxious that I could not do better. I struggle with job anxiety even now. I sometimes feel I am too late to make something out of myself and that this emptiness is something I will carry on forever. But gradually I am rediscovering my real self that was lost and I find that to be a tiring process too. Most times I want to fall back into the old ways and not bother looking for my real self because I don’t even know if it exists. There goes my self-doubt again!