Decisionmaker is “broken”

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Hi. My question is regarding my ability, (or lack thereof), to make decisions for myself. I do NOT trust that I will make a correct decision, and will frequently agonize over having said or done, (what I believe to be), the wrong thing.

I’m not exactly talking about, “what do I want for lunch?” Although, I often just copy someone elses order, because it is easier than figuring out what I really want at the time.

I feel like I have to explain every situation to my two closest friends, and run it by them, before I can “act” or “react” on anything. At times, I just feel like I have to live my life, “vicariously”…through others. It makes me feel stupid and childish, but I cannot seem to believe in myself enough.

What are your thoughts on this?

A: As I read your letter, I had to wonder what made someone in her 40s so unsure of herself? Were you allowed to make decisions and learn from your successes and failures while growing up? Did you live with someone who was hypercritical of everything you tried? Did something devastating happen as a result of a decision you once made? Usually the level of uncertainty you describe comes from a bad experience of some sort or, believe it or not, not having been allowed to have any experience at all. Either will leave a person second-guessing herself.

Without exploring the issues with you personally, I can’t venture any more ideas than these. If any resonate with you, you might consider talking with a therapist to help you gain some self-confidence. Feeling childish and stupid can’t feel very good.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 12 Feb 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Decisionmaker is “broken”. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/02/12/decisionmaker-is-broken/