Why I Can’t Make Decisions

I am sometimes laughed at for the “easy” decisions that I cannot make in my life. Something as “simple” as picking a restaurant can cause me a great amount of stress. I’m not just talking, “Oh this is a stressful decision,” I’m talking brain overload, tears and a huge knot in my chest and stomach. The reason why this happens is because of the questions people ask me about my decisions.

I understand and appreciate it when my decisions are questioned. It is through questioning our decisions we learn about how we think, what motivates us, problem solving etc. These are all necessary things in order to develop critical thinking and confidence in our explanation of our decisions. I think people went over board with me. It never seemed to be just simple questioning (“Why did you do that?”), it is the simple question combined with letting me know that what they would have done was better.

I cannot make decisions because too many people have told me my decisions are wrong. I cannot make decisions because too many people have been hurt by my decisions (even if that means they did not enjoy their meal at the restaurant I chose). Combine that with my constant fear of letting people down and you have a recipe for disaster.

Even when I feel good about my decisions and go forward without questioning myself or asking others for validation someone has to chime in and explain to me how I’m incorrect.

For example, I made chicken for lunch today and used a metal pan. Originally I picked up an aluminum type pan and put the chicken inside it to see if two would fit. I decided they did not and used the metal pan. The chicken was cooking and I was in the process of making a grocery list when my partner came into the kitchen, say the aluminum pan and said, “Why didn’t you use that one?” I explained that the chicken didn’t fit. He told me that it does. I said again that I did not believe that it did. He then started telling me that I just created a dish that was going to be more work to clean and to use the aluminum pan. I told him I wasn’t bothered by the so-called extra work and that the chicken was getting cooked anyways. He repeated that I should of used the aluminum pan. I tried to emotionally keep it together.

Maybe many of you do not a  see a problem with the above situation and there wasn’t any hostility in my partner’s voice or intentions. But it’s the overriding of my decision that makes future decisions feel impossible. It’s those moments I just say, “Leave me the fuck alone,” in my head. I wouldn’t feel the need to make a comment like that unless what was happening was very wrong (ie: using a plastic container in oven).

Well, I’m glad that’s out. It was bothering me.


12 thoughts on “Why I Can’t Make Decisions

  1. I can relate to this post very well. I have decision making issues because of being told so many times I made the wrong decision, or that I need to start making better decisions in my life, and now I can barely make a decision without someone else telling me its the right decision and that I should do it.

  2. I know exactly how you feel. When my actions are questioned by someone in my life I try to stop the cycle of judgment. Example: The way I cook is questioned by my mother. You don’t have to eat it. I’m just trying to give you some advice. I don’t need it because I’m not starving.
    Then there’s the ‘why did you do that’ judgment. I respond with, you don’t really care about why I did it. You care about judging me. You care about causing me pain. I’m not playing this game with you. I generally say these things with yelling, tears or anger. This puts me in a powerful position. You can walk away calmly and empowered.

  3. Honey, you could be writing my life in so many ways. I get where you’re coming from and want to cry, because I’ve lived it.

    You are made to feel like nothing, intentionally or not. At least that’s how it is for me. And having once been so full of self-confidence personally, I wonder if you suffer as I do that when you are simply trying to assert your right and reasoning and stand up for yourself you are told that behavior is “anger”, an overreaction, and thus invalidated. And it’s made all the worse because you know you started out reacting correctly.

    There are certain people in my life who simply will not listen to me unless I start crying and yelling. I try every other approach first, but that’s what it always devolves to.

    And *I* need (more) therapy, not they.

  4. Actually, I think you made the better decision since I think aluminum pots leave a metallic aftertaste—I even think that about drinks in aluminum cans! Also there seems to be some debate back and forth about health risks from aluminum…and least of all if you’re the one who’s going to do the cooking and clean up afterwards, why should it matter to anyone else which pot you choose?

  5. I do, personally, see what is wrong with the aforementioned interaction with your partner. When you have spent your life being second-guessed, you internalize that and every decision you make that turns out poorly feels like a big fat failure. So you lose confidence and find yourself asking everyone and their mother just what you should do. Totally get it. May we both be more confident in our decisions in the future. I know I’ve made some good ones lately, and so have you. Cheers to us! 😀

  6. I hate making decisions. Over the weekend my boyfriend asked me where I wanted to have lunch, and after zoning out into the swirling pool or thoughts and sitting in the emptiness of no thoughts he tried throwing out suggestions. That only made it worse! I know he only wants to help (by suggesting more options) but his actions sometimes only make me shut down.

    Honestly I am a little concerned though, because even though you said there is no hostility in your partner’s actions; those actions seem to still be hurting you (or at least making your indecision/anxiety worse!). I can’t believe all of your decisions could be “wrong”, but I know from experience that living with someone who is controlling can make all those decisions FEEL wrong. Have you been able to talk to your partner about this at all? Perhaps they don’t even realize they’re doing it?

    Good luck!

    • This is new so we’re still figuring each other out. I did challenge him recently by asking, “Why does it matter?” and he stopped and said, “You’re right, it doesn’t.”

      I do believe for the most part people have no idea that they’re causing conflict. That’s when communication is really important.

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