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comment by ThatFanficGuy
ThatFanficGuy  ·  1725 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Selfishness and I

Well, it has the two most selfish parts of English language in the title. The point was for me to express what I think about being selfish, and as you may have noticed, all of it comes from experience, mostly personal, some observational.

For once, I was able to express myself and my darker side without the anxiety that comes with presenting oneself as not perfect. The way I see it, I allowed myself to care about myself, after years of self-pity, and I'm proud of being able to be so honest and open about this major issue I have. Consider it self-therapy.

    It might do ThatFanficGuy good to take himself a little less seriously.

Oh, certainly. It will take a while, but I believe I'm making progress. One of the steps I have to make was to talk about it honestly; I believe I've missed a few points, but overall, I did what I had - and wanted - to do. This was the most honest about myself I have ever been, because it touches upon the very essense of what makes me a bad person.

When you find yourself to be something you loathe, you're going to be very serious about it. It doesn't invalidate your statement, of course, and I understand what you mean. I hope to achieve it as a grow personally by putting others' concerns before my own.

    It seems to portray people as mere sources of validation.

I never intended to act in a way that would make it appear true. I did have such an outlook earlier (in fact, this is what made my first girlfriend break up with me), because I do have troubles with empathy. I've started training it, but doing so consciously is a slow and effortful process.

Thank you for the honest and constructive review. It is exactly what I could use right now. If you could be so kind, point me towards what made you say the latest quoted sentence.





mamchmal  ·  1725 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    The way I see it, I allowed myself to care about myself, after years of self-pity.
Self-pity and self-aggrandizement are two sides of the same coins: self-absorption. People with crippling insecurities are just as obsessed with their image and with themselves as people who feel better than everyone else. In fact, both tend seem think that they are special and unique, either in their qualities or in their brokenness. It doesn't seem to me that you've broken out of that cycle of self-absorption.

Here is what pointed me to claiming you see people as sources of validation. You never describe people as separate entities, with their own story and qualities, but always in relation to you, to your problems, to how they are judging you, you, you:

    a friend of mine noted that in this battle I became what I fought: a person isolated from others...

    my classmate - who was a clever girl, no doubt - rejoiced in making herself look smarter than me in class.

    other people, too, thought I was smart.

    their approval and appreciation I cared for far more than those of the adults who did shower me in compliments

    other than not accepting me into their social circles or even as much as talking to me most of the time, they also thought I was smart

    a pledge for caring

    I must be fit to someone's interests and expectations of me to be worthy of their appreciation, let alone love.

    you have no idea what is expected of you.

    there's rarely any sensible indication of what you've achieved, as people tend to stay silent about what they feel, no matter how much pain it causes.

    the rumours she heard about me

    Because a few persons couldn't hold up to what others truly think of them

    the world will never bend to one's effortless wishes.

    a few will have to go through learning about what some people really think of them.

    I have to make contact with people, reach out to them, which means - risk my ego's integrity.

    so do consider before you judge the closed one.

    wish that more people would respond ("How pathetic, Jesus Christ!..").

    I can rarely feel my own success.

    One sincere sentence - "You can do this" - from an Internet stranger whom I'll probably never meet in reality will do wonders to my motivation, for for once, someone has faith in me when I have none left.

Again, this obsession with judgement

    despite sounding completely ordinary to many of you reading it
Why do you claim to know how your writing sounds to us readers? Especially since you also mention being unable to relate to others. I quote
    I have no idea just how different people might be: not enough data on hands.
Which one are you, a telepath, or an alien?

    Ever since I realised just how selfish people around me - particularly my parents - are
Who are you referring to, other than your parents? You've mentioned friends and the groups of people you can't seem to fit in. What is selfish about them? Excluding you? Do you feel entitled to being approached spontaneously by people, when you don't approach them spontaneously yourself?

    I had very few friends, and this fact made me care deeply about each and every one of them.
It seems disturbing to apply the law of supply and demand to personal relationships. Friends are no commodity. Isn't the fact that they are your friends reason enough for you to care about them, regardless of how many they are?

    When the only person you can talk to daily doesn't understand stories and tales the way you do, you're only left to talk about the superficial - and you do, just to keep their company.

    This is how I learned to accept the company of people I hated - just because they payed attention to me

This strikes me as dishonest, desperate and manipulative. What is so valuable about their company that you keep it despite not enjoying it?

    for the first time in my life, I had control over somebody rather than being controlled.
How have you been controlled? It seems to me that what's mostly controlling you, or rather what you let control you, is people's (perceived) judgment of you. People are not judging you all the time. They have other concerns than you - themselves, for one. The truth is most people you'll meet won't give a shit about you, and will forget all about you as quickly as they noticed you - and coming to terms with this can be incredibly liberating.
ThatFanficGuy  ·  1725 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you for an insightful review. I must say: you've dissected my words thorougly.

I feel like you may be misunderstanding the purpose of this post, because you put much attention on the worse traits that I've described about myself. To show them, to talk about them with honesty was the entire purpose of the post: not to show how good or bad I am, but to show how I am. It has been my problem for years not to be able to talk about what I feel, especially the darker stuff, and as I do, I feel like I'm liberating myself.

If it still sounds self-absorbed, it might very well be because it is: I do put much attention to what I feel because this is what this post is all about. It may not be pleasant to hear, but I won't issue an apology for speaking up about my self rather than being bullied by my own mind again. It's a struggle I want to talk about, for it is important. I want to let my thoughts be known, and it matters not if it appears selfish to some: after 20 years of staying silent and serving others I must finally allow myself to be frank - with myself, foremost. If you're not interested in hearing it - by all means, don't give it a read; I just want to put my thoughts into words for it helps with visualising the ideas.

    Why do you claim to know how your writing sounds to us readers?

Because I've studied human behavior and others' reaction enough to understand what it means to others. I know often enough what's normal to others and what's not to understand where the border lies. Just because I can't speak your language fluently, doesn't mean I can't speak it at all.

    Which one are you, a telepath, or an alien?

I don't understand the purpose of this question.

    Who are you referring to, other than your parents? You've mentioned friends and the groups of people you can't seem to fit in. What is selfish about them? Excluding you?

I'm referring to the general population I happen to see most of the time. It can be daunting at times to see just how uncaring, entitled and judgemental people can be. It used to have a much bigger influence on me as a child when a concept of free will and personal responsibility were not known to me. I absorbed stuff from around me as if that was what I had to do, as if I'm not supposed to have a personal opinion.

    Do you feel entitled to being approached spontaneously by people, when you don't approach them spontaneously yourself?

I'd like to say that I don't now, but that would be a lie, for the feeling is still lingering despite me knowing full well that that's not how the world works. This is how my anxiety of contacts manifests itself: through wishful thinking. It's not to say it's a good thing, but it's what I have. I realise, too, that I must make an effort myself before asking something of others, but it can be a hard choice to make. Like I said, it's something I'm terrified off, and deep down, I wish everything worked towards me - don't we all? - but I know it won't, and so I'm making one step at the time.

    It seems disturbing to apply the law of supply and demand to personal relationships. Friends are no commodity.

It's clear to me that you haven't been lonely often. Not having many friends means that I spend my time absorbed into other, less than healthy behavior because there's no one around to share thoughts and emotions with most of the time. It's not a desired state to be in or a very happy one. As such...

    Isn't the fact that they are your friends reason enough for you to care about them, regardless of how many they are?

...I became obsessed with having friends. It's how every obsession works: you don't have enough of something for long enough, so you develop a dire craving for it to "save" yourself from the "deficit". It's not a good thing, either, but that's what I had. It's true that friends ought to be cared about regardless of how many of them there are for you, but for me-at-the-time, it looked differently. I've gathered so much craving for friendship that I'd become overly protective and controlling of my friends (which is exactly what happened and it's why I learned my lesson), which for me looked like "more caring than any other person could give". I was... friendshipstruck, if you wish.

    This strikes me as dishonest, desperate and manipulative. What is so valuable about their company that you keep it despite not enjoying it?

It was exactly that, for I never wanted to be alone. It terrified me - because, I believe, the thought of not having someone to validate me and my feelings was unbearable, so much I have depended on others' opinion of myself.

    How have you been controlled?

I was raised by a narcissistic mother and a father - otherwise splendid, hard-working man - who got into my mother's nets shortly before they got married and, with time, succumbed to her nasty behavior. So did I: as a child, you don't have either the will or the knowledge necessary to resist manipulation (especially that from own mother) or sustain oneself: she was a helicopter parent and prevented me from learning how to stand on my feet, figuratively speaking, so that I'd always be under her control. She did the same to my father: he has to work in a mine and has almost no personal finances - my mother took almost everything to herself, sometimes to spend it all to spite us. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

Until I was 18 - a year into university already - I had no idea how to deal with personal responsibility and was desperate when under pressure of the exams and the academic debts that followed soon. If someone was to have such a life by choice, it would sound utterly pathetic. Yet, kids under narcissistic parents don't even get a choice; a few friends of mine had such parents, and from the few glimpses into their private life that I happened to get, it ranged from very bad to fucking horrible.

It's a terrible childhood to have, and no person deserves it. Because of it, people grow indifferent to others' feelings, cheerful of others' suffering, manipulative (because in their house there was no other way to gain what you wanted) and utmost unhappy, with the weight on their shoulders that's often too hard to throw off. For some reason, I was lucky enough to grow as a person under the rock, and I can only wish for others in the similar situations to have enough bravery and strength to grow as well.

mamchmal  ·  1725 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Which one are you, a telepath, or an alien? I don't understand the purpose of this question.

What I meant was, I find it strangely contradictory that you both claim to have difficulties connecting with others, yet all the while make assumptions about them and what they think of you.

    It's clear to me that you haven't been lonely often.
Yet another assumption. You're mistaken.

It seems to me that you should beware of perpetuating the cycle of abuse started by your mother. I am by no means an expert on the matter, but your thinking strikes me as narcissistic. This might be of interest to you.

A last question, would you befriend someone like you? Or, how would you react to meeting someone that deeply reminds you of yourself?

ThatFanficGuy  ·  1725 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I am by no means an expert on the matter

Then you shouldn't by any means be talking about it when it comes to mental health. People often find themselves important enough to step over the intimate boundries of mental health which is far from the territory the person being told is comfortable with. If you have neither an advice to give or a way to help, you really shouldn't be there.

This link of yours... Tuck it deep under a pillow, keep it there and show it only to people you know aren't struggling with their identity and their dark sides. Jesus... Until I realised one very important thing after reading it, I was crushed by the possibility of the fact that all I did was for nothing, because apparently, this shit is just who I am and not the way I think. I have told you how much of this shit I've been through, bringing it upon myself until I knew better, and still, you've decided to throw the hammer at me by showing me an article that basically states "If you have that, you're a narcissist: here's the DSM to prove it". Granted, it was my fault not to look at it with more critique, but god damn it if you have no responsibility at all in this sutiation.

The important thing that I realised was - I did love someone, dearly and sincerely, and I will love again, for it's the best I can do.

Clearly, it was a mistake to open up to an Internet stranger the way I did. I appreciate all the insightful commentary you did, but this is way over the top, for both sides of this conversation.

To answer your last questions: yes, I would. I would show that person that the darkness they feel sometimes is normal, and since we're capable of utilising our free will - and there is free will for us - the best we can do for ourselves is to use it to make good decisions. I would tell that person that they already deserve love and that they deserve loving themselves. The world isn't the enemy; most of the times, we are to ourselves. Accepting that is the first step to making things better; having a person who has come through it as their guide, they're less likely to get lost, and I will do my best to share all of the knowledge that can be of any help so that their path becomes clearer, if just by a bit.

I will show them that people, though scary at times, are wonderful once you get to know them, so we have to do our best to overcome the fear and let others beyond our shells. We're not perfect, and we will never be; do your best and accept whatever happens, for it's the best you can do. I will give this person my most love and caring but will not be afraid to be firm when I have to; if I have to kick them off the coach or off the drugs, I will kick them - only to hug them afterwards, let them collect their strength once more and guide them through until they're strong enough to walk on their own again. If this person would have to leave me after they've gathered strength and have found their way, I will let go no matter how hard it may seem - and hope that they won't forget me and the love and care that I've given them. If they're indeed so similar to me, then by the time they're wise and strong enough to follow their own path, they won't: I know myself.

mamchmal  ·  1725 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I am not the first person here to suggest you might be a narcissist, and if you're secure in your knowledge of yourself, there's no reason to be appalled by an article about narcissism (not to mention you seem comfortable diagnosing a family member and your friend's family member with the disorder - are you a psychiatrist?).