I've always cared obsessively about what's "right" for me to do/say. Like, am I talking for too long? Am I a bummer? Am I not listening well enough? And in general I've always felt very insecure about myself and relied on others for my sense of worth. I was also frequently scolded in school and at home for things that were and weren't my fault alike. My mom was pretty narcissistic, and usually anytime I wanted to express emotions like sadness, anger and fear, she would respond as though personally attacked. Which of course led to me resenting and fearing her so much more, and any expression of those emotions to her went over even worse.
Today, I still struggle. When I talk to my girlfriend at length about something that's upsetting me, like an unpleasant experience, I usually end up apologizing at some point for talking so long, or for simply being anxious. Often anxiety arises for me in the middle of talking to, simply from the fear of opening up and the expectations I have for her reactions. And of course, she's never given me cause to feel this way, she's always been very kind and supportive of me, but these projected fears are so strong that it's taken me a long while to get to this point with her, and I imagine it will be another long while before I can simply talk about my feelings candidly with her and not fear rejection.
And of course, it's hard enough talking about my anxiety when it's about something else; it hardly ever crosses my mind to say something to her when she's actually said or done something that upset or bothered me. That sort of "talk-back" simply doesn't compute with me, you know? I spent my whole life being taught that if my mom is hurtful to me, it's my own fault - and in any case, that telling her that will only bring me pain. I developed a very 'black and white' style of thinking, by which I judge my own actions and other people's reactions before they even happen. I'm either "wrong", or they are - and I don't do well with the thought that I'm within my rights to express myself, because I subconsciously expect everybody else to be as emotionally fragile as my mom was, and expressing myself = pain. I will jump through all sorts of mental hoops to come up with reasons why she is 'right' and I am 'wrong', anything to avoid talking about how I feel as a healthy and worthwhile adult in my own right.
It isn't so much a problem with new-ish friends or people I don't know very well, but when it comes to somebody whom I'm closer to (like my girlfriend, with whom I'm closest of all) without even knowing it, that's the dynamic I fall into: avoiding anything that makes me an individual and instead adopting an extremely dependent persona I learned from childhood.
My girlfriend very rarely hurts my feelings and never does so intentionally - but when she does, I really struggle with the notion that neither one of us has to be 'wrong', and I can simply tell her how it made me feel. Instead, I still usually stuff away any feelings of sadness and irritation, only being honest with her if she notices something's wrong and offers an apology - and even THEN I usually go "oh no it's fine!!! It's because I'm too sensitive, hahaha..." >o< Just the way I did with my mom, making myself responsible for HER emotional needs as well as my own. It's exhausting, and I hope one day I'll have truly gotten over these patterns and feel much more sure of myself.