When Nobody "Gets" You

by Andrea Blundell
Reviewed by Dr Sheri Jacobson

Often feel lonely? Or secretly enraged at how little effort people seem to make to understand you?

Why is it that nobody understands you, and what can be done?

Why does nobody try to know me?

1. You act as if you don’t want to be understood.

You really want to be understood. But there you go again, acting aloof, making crass jokes when someone asks if you are ok, changing the subject when it turns to you. Without meaning to, you are giving the idea you don’t WANT anyone to understand you.

2. You present a different you than who you are.

Say what people want to hear, and go along with what others want to do? Or always the clown, even though you are actually a serious person? Get home after being out with others and feel a sense of relief, as if you can finally relax?

The key to being understood is being able to be ourselves around others. If we are always playing a part, then it’s no wonder we aren’t understood.

3. You aren’t actually sharing your needs.

Do you expect people to guess what you need, then feel angry when they don’t? People are not mind readers. Even if you think you are giving 'signals'. Signals are not effective or healthy communication. You need to directly share what you are hoping for or require.

4. You are too busy pleasing others.

Does it make you anxious if those around you aren’t happy? Feel it’s all your fault? Do you focus on doing what will make the other person happy?

Codependency means we gain our sense of worth through pleasing others — but at the sacrifice of our own identity. We get so used to meeting others needs we lose sight of our own. People don’t understand you as 'you' got left behind.

5. You don’t understand yourself.

Don’t really know who you are? Aren’t sure what you like or don’t like? Find you shape shift to match those around you? People can’t understand what they can’t pin down.

How can I help others understand me more?

1. Become your own friend.

The more you understand yourself, the more others will. Work to be your own friend and get to know yourself. Journalling can be a good tool here.

2. Say no more often.

How is saying no related? Things like codependency and people pleasing are all about never carving out the time and space to be ourselves.

The more we say no to what we don't want, the more time we have to do what we do want. And when we do things we like, we meet people we actually have things in common with, who are more likely want to know us well.

3. Study communication.

Learn how to listen well, then share your thoughts and needs in ways that come across clearly and in an open over abrasive or blaming fashion.

4. Use open body language.

Our bodies communicate as much as our words. Do you often cross your arms? Hunch your shoulders? These things give off the idea you don’t want people close or interested.

5. Focus on what people DO offer.

Always focusing on how others aren’t what you want sends off an energy of judgement and distrust, that can make others back off instead of try to understand you.

Counteract this by taking time to notice what others offer, or even expressing gratitude to them.

6. Learn about trust.

To be yourself around others requires trust. Many people who feel misunderstood don’t trust anyone, deep down. Take time to recognise the issues in your past which have made trust hard.

7. Work with a therapist.

If the things in your past that make trust hard include things like adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) or trauma, consider working with a therapist. They can help you safely unpack and process unresolved emotions, and learn how to relate to others in ways that aren’t driven by old coping mechanisms that push people away.

Time to stop being so confusing? Book a therapist now and learn to relate in ways that attract the friendship and love you crave.

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