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Not a bad life, but a bad self?


Well-Known Member
I have never had a bad life — no poverty, abuse, neglect, or any other such things as countless other people have gone through, including my own father — but have long been dogged by the feeling that -I myself- am bad and undeserving of the good in my life, because I am hopelessly defective at just being a human. I fail to process basic instructions, I cannot coordinate well in physical tasks or group work, I have long felt disconnected from and unable to relate to anyone (even family and my few friends), I make people angry with my stupid little mistakes that seemingly no one else makes, and I have essentially no relationship experience — all at 25 years old. Thus I feel shame, embarrassment, and self-loathing basically every single day now, and am in agony and want to die. I turn 26 next month and I feel utterly unworthy of the number, and at a loss as to how to measure up to it. Suicide has occurred to me several times, complete with various ideas for methods and notes.

I have been trying different ways to rectify my inexperience, such as bar mingling, meeting people through my friends, and even trying the online dating thing, but nothing really comes to fruition. I have even had a few promising leads on that front that seemed to vaporize at the last minute for no apparent reason — I actually managed to get a few numbers but no callbacks. I want to consult some kind of local coach to help guide me firsthand through how to navigate the world of connecting with people and getting socially assimilated, but there isn’t one here. That’s probably because there doesn’t need to be one, because most people are able to climb that millimeter-high curb by the time they’re in high school. Why haven’t I? What is it about me that’s always been so defective at this? Sure, I was diagnosed with HFA last year (something which my dad seems pretty fond of bringing up as like a hopeless catch-all explanation for my issues), but I don’t think that really explains it enough.

I’m also aware that I feel this way despite my not having a bad life, which in a way further feeds into the idea that I’m just not a good person. I’ll grant that I’ve never done a specifically awful thing, like abusing anyone, but I feel like my very being is like a plague upon the social cohesion necessary for good things to happen in the world. It makes me feel like I’m not a real human — humans can find their people and assimilate and do things and properly process what they’re told without embarrassing absurd trains of thought. The vast majority of people seem to just -get- that innately over the course of their lives. I never have. Even my earliest memories seem to involve me being the only kid in the room who just didn’t -get it-, for whom whatever we were supposed to be doing just could not register.

Occasionally I’ll be out and see even people as young as junior high kids hanging out together, sometimes even holding hands as couples, and I’ll hate myself intensely because I realize that even they know more about life and just being a regular person who does things than I do. I remember being at that age and dreaming of what it would be like, thinking that in the course of my life I would get that sense of human closeness and I could stop being this aberrant freak in the corner who’s so out of step with everyone and feels far away all the time. Now those dreams are in the advanced stages of decay right before my eyes and I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to just keep going out downtown aimlessly without a plan and “just get [my]self out there and talk to those people!” and hope I get something right — I want to be able to learn a solid gameplan to say and do the general right things. Right now I don’t know how to do that, or if there’s a way. Even if there was, I’ve lived so long like this that I kind of feel like I already ruined myself and lost my life; and besides, I feel like there’s a barrier between myself and the people I know anyway because I just can’t relate to people, so I would likely just be phoning it in and lose them anyway. I have hardly ever been able to hold a connection for more than a couple of years, and it takes such effort for me to forge a connection that I could find myself back at square one anyway and ultimately never get anywhere. I don’t think at this point that I can find and feel any form of love and I probably don’t deserve it anyway.

What’s more, in my teen years I insecurely developed a monomaniacal obsession with being a “good kid” and “good high school student” to redeem myself, and in the process I not only wasted my adolescence but totally lost sleep; and now I have irreversible eye bags that, when coupled with my residual acne, make me look shamefully awful even though I get much better sleep these days. So by the time I quit chasing that chimera, I had created a new reason to hate myself, one that is permanent and that I did to myself for stupid reasons and for people who didn’t deserve it. Somedays I just feel so ugly, dumb, weak, and totally incapable of assimilating into the world, and I just fail to see the point of my existence or why my parents even had me in the first place (I’m the sole and unexpected product of an ultimately failed and divorced relationship, and I’ve heard that I’m “stupid” and “retarded” from them and several other sources throughout much of my life).

Now I’ll give myself some credit — in a weird way, if you take away all the issues I’ve had just as a person among humans, I’m actually glad about myself. I finished college, I have a career, I have a creative life and joined a band recently, I have interests and a deep curiosity about the nature of reality, and I even have a solid physical life with running, weights, and martial arts. I know what I want to do with my life purely as an individual with ambitions, and I feel pretty secure about how to go down that path — in a way, I’m already doing that these days.

But if I can’t make myself be of purpose to others and stop being so embarrassing, I just don’t see the point. For that matter, I don't know how to juggle those pursuits with my need to undergo the long, arduous process of figuring out just how to be a real human (if that's even possible). Therefore I find myself self-harming and fantasizing about just ending what seems like this nearly 26-year-long error. This feeling may have seemed more oh so funny and cute and romantic or whatever when I was a teenager, but now that I’m starting to push 30 it just feels disgustingly pathetic.

I definitely don’t expect or want to be catered to by others. I just want to know how to even connect with them at all so I can stop this idiocy and not have a breakdown from shame. I really feel like I’m slowly folding in on myself because I’m just so embarrassed at what I am.

Thank you for reading this and I’m sorry if this is ridiculous or petty. But I think I at least did something right by just letting it all out. Shout out to the forum and its people for being willing to create a space like this.


Well-Known Member
okay I read it . the way you feel it . more like yu been stress to me . being a normal human isnt that bad . Take trip far if you can . or close if you cant . Being the feel like you . dont force yourself to do what you dont want to . you are better than me a lot : and the word "Friendship" . some time its stay as friend sometime it ship away . we will never known it . you have been play your role for too long . time for you to set sail and see the world and decide what to do mate . no more good son . no more feel ling why you are exist on this world . that is a miliion dolar question for you . that maybe the way to get what you want . Im here to help feel free to chat with if you need .


Well-Known Member
Hi Phuong, thank you for your kind and thoughtful post. Sorry for my delayed response.

It's true that I've been a bit stressed, but it's not so much anything happening daily as much as me wanting to fix my extant social problems but a) not knowing how to do that and b) being torn daily from that journey for many hours by other obligations. When I think about that and the fact that I'm getting older, it feels a bit like I'm rotting.

I will consider your advice though, like about taking some kind of trip. I've been thinking lately about ways to go to social gatherings on a regular basis, and the first thing I think of is to volunteer. I've only done occasional one-off volunteer stuff in the past and it seems like something I should do more regularly (like on weekends) for the intrinsic value of it all. I'm not sure how much that will do for me socially (which obviously isn't the main point of it), but it could help get me out there and at least kind of connecting with people who I should be connecting to (since volunteers are generally good people). I don't mean to be self-serving about volunteering, but my idea is that I can be more properly human if I just work on reaching in whatever way possible. I've realized lately that I've never really done any big significant thing for anybody and it's time I at least try, even if it's not with one person over a long term.

I hope my post makes sense. Thanks again. I hope you don't really think I'm better than you!
Dear Diesional,

I'm sorry that you're feeling this way and I am thinking of you and hoping you feel better. 26 years old is younger than you feel. Charles Darwin was 50 years old and an unknown scientist when he published his theory of evolution; JK Rowling was 30 and on welfare when she wrote the first Harry Potter book. There is nothing wrong with being a late bloomer and you have plenty of time to resolve these issues that you feel!

With that being said, you also certainly should not feel any shame about the issues you described. I am also an introvert and much happier with a book than in a crowded room. Researchers estimate that introverts make up 50 to 74% of the population! In addition, the qualities that you interpret as shameful are part of what makes you a unique and amazing person (it sounds cheesy but it's true! It seems you're being harder on yourself about your social skills than anyone else would be. Maybe you can start by establishing a better relationship with that pesky inner critic. :)

So, to address your concerns a bit, I think that you could start with small things (mini-goals) that make you feel more connected with others. Since you're interested in exercising, maybe ask someone at the gym about their exercise routine. Set a small goal like this for yourself and then reward yourself once you complete it! Then, you can build up to larger social goals, such as joining a recreational sports team. As an introvert, I always find it easier to form bonds when I'm working with other people towards a goal or have a clearly defined structure to the conversation. You spoke about trying to find a social coach - I'm sure there are some resources on the Internet that might be of help, given that no one is available in your area.

I wish you the best of luck and hope you remember your value! :)


Well-Known Member
Thank you for your kind outreach, suicidalperson. I seem to be ok now — I kind of go up and down. Most days, particularly workdays, I go through stretches of feeling some kind of vague optimism, stretches of thinking about other things, and stretches of despair and self-loathing where I fantasize about ending my life -- in no particular order and without much warning. For most of today I’ve been more in the first two categories.

I actually feel fairly secure about my own individual life ambitions, so I'm in glad agreement with your mentioning of late-blooming cultural figures. I just have a hard time feeling encouraged about it because my struggles have been in basic human matters like performing simple manual tasks, getting and holding onto friends for more than short periods, not feeling so impassably far away when I’m with them, and finding a relationship for once. I feel embarrassingly behind about these things, with a panicked uncertainty about how to fix them; and I know at times (like now) that I’m kind of overreacting and freaking out too much, but my god, I have a hard time not hating myself for it sometimes. I’ve taken some methods for trying to solve this — namely, going out to bars and trying to talk to people, spending time with my bandmates and meeting people through them, having a Tinder profile I worked hard to make good — but nothing has yet come together and I worry it’s because of some off-putting part of me that I’m not aware of. I don’t get mean, I’m probably just kind of vague and don’t know how to talk to people much.

Something tells me a lot of my longstanding struggles with self-hatred might have more to do with my struggles in solving those problems than I’m all that aware of, and I should probably seek help for that as well rather than thinking I’ll just get better by attaining those things without attacking any underlying issues. I called a hotline last month and was recommended a couple of CBT resources — I might use my work insurance to try that and see if it could be of help.

I will also be devoting spare time to studying cold approaches and seeing if I can bring myself to implement them. I have some anxiety and insecurity about a lot of social interaction, but I think it might be doable; and in the end, I realize that if you can do cold approaches well, virtually everything else is easier. I’m also realizing I should try to make my social interactive techniques as quick and simple as possible, because I’m frighteningly good at thinking and second-guessing myself into paralysis. Your bit about setting small goals and stuff where I ask people little questions is a good idea that I’ve happened to read a bit about and am thinking of trying.

There are a couple other steps I’m thinking of that I may address in a later post. Until then, thanks again for your kindness, and I hope your username stops being pertinent. :) Oh, and sorry that I get kind of long-winded.


Everything Zen
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Hey there, glad to hear that you are feeling a little better now. Keep posting ok?


Well-Known Member
I'm kind of struggling again. Just trying to find my own place to live and get an actual partner for once in my embarrassing life. Going nowhere.

When I lay it all out, I know that my inability to assimilate into humanity is just the one real problem I have that's really just internal, and I want to fix it and am taking measures to fix it, but I don't know how. Salvation from this issue just seems so fucking far away, and it's been so long, that I can't even really conceive of it as being possible for me. I went out with my bandmates and some of their friends recently and I could not help but feel distant from them and like I was just trying awkwardly to be a part of them but failing. If I wasn't their drummer I wonder if they'd want anything to do with me. They probably talk about how weird and awkward I am when I'm away.

The real rub of it all is that I've read from multiple sources that in order for me to be able to find the love I need I have to learn to love myself first, but I don't know how to do that. How do I get rid of the shame and guilt for being this way?

Ok, I'll grant that things have been getting better in some respects: I do have a peer group. I'm still exercising. I've also been practicing self-compassion like what Lara_C recommended (thanks again Lara). As of late the suicidal thoughts have been less frequent and severe, to where I've gone a few days at a time without feeling them. I don't feel like I hate myself these days, so that's progress. I just can't seem to conjure love for myself either.

I just have a hard time knowing the right time, occasion, place, and way to approach people and I'm so jaded from it all that the prospect of even doing so seems like a fruitless chore. I just feel so tired from all this and like I've let this go on for so long that suicide would just be better. And during those times I think of how scorned I've felt by my parents, school, and peers for so much of my life anyways, and how I'm an accident from multiple generations of divorce and dysfunction, and I just feel like I'm not needed on this planet.

I'm thinking of taking time this weekend to go out and just try to chat up about as many people as I can. That might help a little. I've tried number-getting, warm approaches, cold approaches, online dating, and speed dating, and I just don't succeed. There must be something I'm doing wrong -- I'm not rude, I like a lot of options, but I know that I don't have the best social skills or awareness, so I probably come off as rather vague, boring, and awkward. I might try some other things as well.

Today has been kind of bad for me internally. I get the day off from work, and I did some research and also went to the gym and showered, but I don't know. It just doesn't seem like this is going anywhere. My dad tells me I've been "doing all the right things", but that's just not true. He told me that years before and if he was right things would be different now.

Sometimes I just can't help but wonder: What will happen to me? Will I still be this way all through 27? 30? 35? How (if at all) will I manage to live with myself? I don't think I want to. I don't even think I want to stick around long enough to find out because I can't see progress. I never feel I come closer to seeing clearly.

I also really don't like the idea of aging, personally, and haven't for years. Maybe I wouldn't feel so conscious of it if I didn't feel so far behind and like I have the social development of a 12 year old, but as it is the thought of even living into my 30's seems very unappealing. I don't want to see myself get weaker and uglier, and I feel sometimes like dying young would be better and a way to help preserve some of my dignity. But that's another topic.

Writing this post was a bit of a chore and the result is no doubt less organized than usual. I even question the wisdom of submitting it, but so be it.

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