Every day I go to work, and I am extremely motivated to do my job as well as I can because I know that doing my job poorly will lead to greater stress and suffering for my coworkers. I take great pride in that. Every day I try to find a way to do my job a bit better, and I believe that every day I become better at my job. But I suffer from chronic performance anxiety, and every failure on my part feels like torture and lingers with me for days or weeks. How do I treat my chronic performance anxiety?

You are involved with a thinking trap and what I call an “acting trap.” Being good at your job has replaced enjoying your work. When you are so drained by how you make a living that it completely exhausts you it is time for a change. There are two things I’d recommend. Firstly, I’d recommend you looking to engage in hobbies. It could be anything from developing an interest in learning a new language to learning a musical instrument, to bike riding. Hobbies give us a chance to disengage from work in a healthy way by shifting our focus to something we enjoy. Secondly, I’d recommend group psychotherapy. Group psychotherapy allows you to engage with others as well as learning how to understand yourself more deeply. I believe these two suggestions will help you enjoy your work and non-work time more.

So this problem has been going on for years, but I just figured out for the most part what’s going on. I keep having like thoughts that feel like they aren’t really “my” thoughts that are extremely critical and repeat what my abusive parents have said and still say. Like if someone says I’m stupid it’ll be like “you’re so stupid. That’s another reason nobody wants to be around you” and I keep hearing it and it sometimes progresses to suicidal taunting. I have done things when enraged and felt powerless over my own actions, like I wanted to stop what I was doing but couldn’t. I have attacked close friends and kept having thoughts of killing them and like suddenly seeing images of me doing it when I definitely never wanted to. Help!

It’s good that you have clarity about what’s going on. You’re able to recognise that there are times when you cannot control your behaviour. You have attacked friends and are having thoughts about killing them. This problem has gotten to the point where you need outside assistance, someone to help you to control your behaviour. It would be strongly advised for you to consult an in-person mental health professional. They can help you to control your thoughts and behaviour. You mentioned that you have abusive parents. Part of this problem likely stems from their having abused you. Perhaps it’s entirely the reason. Whatever the reason, receiving professional help is the solution.