The Perils of Positivity

Discussion in 'Rants, Musings and Ideas' started by Menchi, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    This is going to be an odd one, need peoples take on it if nothing else, but wasn't sure where to post it.

    Basically, yesterday, was feeling fairly crappy, nothing new there. Just wanted to disappear and all that, and was talking to a really close friend of mine on msn at the time, who has been there for years and all, has struggled with plenty of stuff themselves, so gets it, gets how i feel at those times. They are always very supportive of me, as i am of them, and they told me that they knew that i would get through this. I didn't feel like it at the time, so i asked them how they could be so sure of that... Took a bit of time for them to put it into words, but they told me.

    Was just about the most powerful thing someone has said to me for a very long time. One thing in particular they said really hit me. I mean, we are all here to help each other, as well as get help ourselves, lend each other strength when we need it. But this person didn't just say that, they said that they would make me keep going... if by their willpower alone, they could stop me. Truth is, for some people, that wouldn't work, they'd say its their choice, their life, and no-one else could stop them. But for me... it was so comforting, that... well someone would fight that hard for me.

    Now, the problem is, and its one of the things i hate most about myself, that since last night, when they said it, my brain has been trying to deconstruct it, pull the words apart, and find some other interpretation of the words, i guess something that would let me think that they didn't mean anything, so i didn't have to take them and think about them, and feel good about them.

    So far... well its not been able to... which leaves me in the annoying position, of feeling really confused and conflicted in my head, over something positive, that my mind will just not stop and accept. And... well its the same each time it happens i guess, when someone says something positive, i try to deconstruct it, try to make it mean nothing to me, not through conscious choice, just through how my brain naturally works or something.

    So ladies and gentlemen, i'm in a fucked up state right now because i feel good, but my mind wont let me. :smile: yes, its completely odd, annoying, and probably not even worth making a post over, but... its something i would like to change somehow, and i am so so sick of my head being like this.
  2. SuicideIsTheWrongOption

    SuicideIsTheWrongOption Well-Known Member

    All i can say is that it sounds like you have a really good friend. And i know what you mean about deconstructing and trying to find alternative /hidden meanings to that. But really you shouldn't.

    I do the same thing alot, and it usually only causes more depression for me. Sometimes, you just have to learn to take people at face value, because in all honesty, you can't know what they're thinking and trying to assign a value to their statement, is making a huge assumption, and may often end up making things worse.

    Just consider yourself lucky to have such a friend and try to trust them that they're telling you what they know to be true, and aren't trying to deceive you in any way.

  3. Zoe

    Zoe Well-Known Member

    My take on it: you're not used to people caring about you, you're looking for a way to distrust them to protect yourself from them letting you down.

    Also, it may be that you're used to thinking negatively, in a depressed way.

    People being good to you is not what you're used to and we humans like to stick with what we know, hence the questioning and the feelings of suspicion.

    It's a sort of perverse self-defeating way of keeping onself safe, the urge to push people away before they can hurt you.

    I've done this a lot in my life and it has recently caused me problems in my love life.

    You're very lucky to have this good friend and you seem great yourself.

    If I'm entirely wrong about the first bit so be it :laugh: - just my view :)
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 2, 2009
  4. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

    Ok here's my tuppence worth.

    It wouldn't matter how incontrovertibly honest your friend's words were - you wouldn't allow yourself to believe their good intention towards you until and unless you saw yourself as worthy of having someone care that much about you.

    So maybe you could turn that analytic mind to working out what there is good about you, to deserve such good.

    And when your mind obligingly comes up with no reason whatsoever for that, stick the chattering monkey in its playpen for a bit and look to how you feel.

    Feelings don't lie.

    (Lucy will be open for business again tomorrow!)
  5. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    Its not that i don't trust this person, i do, which is very hard for me to do. Its just that i know that they are worthy of trust, but also would say whatever they could to make me feel happy, even if its not neccessarily true. Its hard to balance the two, as to which is likely truer... Which i guess is great progress from assuming that they don't mean a word of it (which is how i originally started out years ago).

    I'm not used to people saying nice things about me, mostly because they don't :tongue: . Its much easier to have it fit the pattern somehow, than to completely change my perception of things in general... and i know thats something i have to do eventually, but... well the flip side is that if you open yourself up to the good, then you start to expect it, and when things change again it hurts all the more. I've made that mistake before, and am living with the consequences.

    The truth is i feel... scarred i guess. Or stunted or something. I feel like i am capable of doing good, and truthfully, i have done good things. But who i am, rather than what i do, is wrong. Who i am is where the pain is, who i am is where the darkness is... so who i am is what is bad, i guess. I can make my actions good, but i can't find a way to change myself, which is why i can't accept other people saying good stuff about me, rather than my actions.
  6. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

    A bit like, please love me for who I am, not for what I do?

    I relate very much to a lot of what you say and your description of the inner darkness being who you are - that's me all over. I think that even if the whole world came up to me and told me that I was wonderful, lovable, wantable etc, I'd still not accept it because I KNOW what's inside.

    But (and I'm always saying 'but' - every time I reply to one of your posts I feel like I'm lecturing you) I've gotten to the point where I can't undo or change or even understand any of that darkness anymore with my rational thinking self (the same self that you talk about which deconstructs everything). My iinner core self of darkness is fundamentally feelings - a big black mass of them all bad all unacceptable and all unbearably threatening.

    And like you, if someone says something good or caring to or about me I end up 'deconstructing' it (I actually use the word 'thinkfuck') to the point where whatever good feeling it might have engendered not only disappears but I feel guilty and bad for having felt good about it in the first place! GRRRRR!

    Yeah and here I should be handing out the pearls before swine. Only I don't have a solution, not yet. I just have a sense, for want of a better word, that tells me going into and dealing with those feelings, somehow, is the way back to feeling good enough about who I fundamentally am. Kind of transform the demons in the darkness back into friendly pussycats.

    And I'm going to say something to you for which I have absolutely hated loathed and detested everyone who's ever said it to me - you think too much! (Told you, it's really irritating isn't it?) But the reason I'm saying it is that thinking, being rational and logical (all in the name of trying to understand let's not belittle it that much) eventually can lead to a cul-de-sac. Endless circles that seem like they're getting somewhere only suddenly you find you've been here before and it's all too too depressingly familiar.

    Well this lecture over for now. Hope it's given you something to think(!) about anyway.

  7. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    Not quite, just that i can accept that what i do can be good (or bad), but
    who i am is bad, and thats it. No shades of gray.

    I get what you mean about thinkfucking... i've heard dozens of variations on the same idea, and in the past i got to the same point, where i felt guilty that i should feel good. Now, i can just dismiss it as a magicians trick, and not feel too bad about it... say that feeling good was sleight of hand, not anything bad in it, but not real either. And i'm cautious of mental flooding (lots of people saying the same thing to me, to try and make me believe), as often its temporary. When the water disappears, the cause is there. Its most likely a war of attrition, as i know that i have improved in time, so can accept that in the future, things may be different, but have also been backwards, so don't know if they will be better or worse.

    The biggest problem i have though, is that in my mind, i am alone. When i've tried to face the demon (if i'm not just the demon myself, its still something i'm trying to work out), i come off worse, because there is only me inside my head. All the words, all of what other people have said feels like its floating on the surface, when i have to dive in (screwed up mixing metaphors all over the place :laugh: )

    And as for thinking too much, i've lost count of how many people have told me that :tongue: . Its not annoying, as i know its completely true, but its kind of a hard statement to do anything about, as there is no solution (besides alcohol, drugs, or other brain wrecking stimulants).
  8. Chargette

    Chargette Well-Known Member

    I'm one of those people who can get scared when good things happen because my fear is of the bad that may be around the corner. One day I decided to enjoy the good no matter where bad may be lurking.

    It takes practice to learn to enjoy the good when it comes. Enjoy the good feeling in the now. If it leaves, just remember, it will come back.:)
  9. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

    You've just said it all! I had to laugh because you're describing very much what goes on in my head (especially the bit about there being only me inside my head - too damn true).

    And I'm sitting here going 'but'... 'yes ok but ..' 'and what about ...' and there are no words, because I haven't got the answers (oh but I wish I did, home and hosed as they say).

    But some things: in my case I know I am the demon (though it took a lot of years to work that one out) and that's why the 'demon' always wins - I can never beat myself, never trick myself, never make myself do (or think, or feel) anything that goes against what the 'demon' knows, because the demon is me and I always know what I'm up to.

    And the deconstructing, I'd call it almost like a devil's advocate if it weren't so painful and terrifying, will ALWAYS end up telling me what the demon already knows. Circles again.

    You're right about the thinking too much being a hard statement to do anything about: no matter how much I tell myself, stop damnwell THINKING all the time, stop trying to UNDERSTAND everything, try CHILLING, try MEDITATING, try this that the other blah blah blah, it carries on all by itself regardless. My approach now is to work with it - it's been pretty valuable so far no matter that it keeps taking me into the same old cul-de-sac.

    I could go on and on - that's the fatal attraction of this thinking set-up, it's all so interesting, discussing these things in an almost philosophical way - certainly beats feeling any of it LOL.
  10. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    I wish it was that easy, simple because its not that i fear the bad, its that i expect it, i take it with me wherever i go, and is who i am. I don't think i've ever felt good for my own sake, in... i guess years. Its only ever others who have made me happy. Though i'm always able to make myself sad with no help.
  11. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    Last point first, thats the most annoying part, that i can even disassemble my own personality to a frightening degree, think it out, then talk about it, almost like in the third person, like i'm not the one who lives through it.
    But when the demon wants to have its own special brand of sadistic fun, and take me mentally to hell, no amount of logic or thought can change it...

    I think thats why its so hard to find an answer, because there are no revelations, there are no sudden new catalysts to change, something that can make you reevaluate everything, because every answer has been covered and dismissed.

    Though i have just come up with something new about myself lol. Not exactly helpful, but... well not sure how to take it. Basically, the only things that stop my thoughts (or at least me registering the thoughts), are either getting involved deeply in a tv program, computer game, or book, to the point that i'm mentally attached to what a character is thinking, feeling etc, that i feel it too, a kind of detachment from myself... or very strong external emotions (though positive emotions to a much lesser extent than negative emotions)... getting caught in someone elses emotions can blank out my own thoughts. I knew that already, but they seem so extreme (one a complete detachment from real emotions, and the other a complete immersion), i didn't have an answer.

    But now i think about it slightly differently... in both its a kind of external emotional submission... either submitting my mind to a completely fake and abstract reality, or emotionally submitting to someone elses feelings... but only externally. As in, if the emotions are directed in myself (either positively or negatively), about who i am, rather than anything else... its like a skewed response, like as soon as the emotions go inside to the thought demon (gah, in any other context that would sound so stupid), it all goes through the shadows, the darkest emotions just get darker, while anything light and good gets tainted, stained, until its dark too, before i'm allowed to feel it.

    I guess thats why i value attachment with people so much... maybe its completely selfish, but i hope that they will go so close, that i could pull them inside my head, and allow me to feel that emotion freely... and now i'm probably going to go analyse this for a few hours, and not get any sleep :tongue: . If i didn't want a solution so badly, i'd say it wasn't worth it.
  12. Chargette

    Chargette Well-Known Member

    I'm very proficient at making myself feel bad too.
  13. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    i was right, it wasn't true. guess i should stop being so deluded.
  14. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

    Ok now that last post has got my monkey going into overdrive. Which bit were you right about, and what wasn't true and wherein are you deluded?

    I've been thinking about your last couple of posts - and especially the bit about vicarious emotions - (as in, identifying so completely with another character or person that you can get to feel their feeling cleanly as your own - or something similar, that's how I've unerstood it.) There have been times when I've identified with a character in a book or a person on tv or even on here for instance - that I've felt their feeling, not just felt FOR them, but experienced what I assume is how they are feeling (ok the word for it is probably empathy, but sometimes I think it's different from that). Only that only lasts as long as I'm not aware of me feeling it. As soon as awareness kicks in, it all gets pissed on from a great height (I'm running out of analytical explanations and reverting to my normal way of describing things to myself sorry).

    But if it's anything to do with feeling FOR me, be it sadness or pain or anger or resentment or jealousy or even feeling good in some way, then all hell breaks loose in my head almost before I even get to recognize that I'm feeling something, and the anti-me mechanisms take over - I end up with something like you describe - whatever clean feeling it might have been in the first place becomes transformed into something altogether darker, murkier and outright threatening. This is actually quite difficult to talk about, because it's NOT just an intellectual exercise is it, this is all too bloody real, but it all SOUNDS like it's just philosophical waffle and I'm getting to the poiint where I think jeez I'm going to alienate everyone who reads this becaue it sounds so pretentious and unreal.

    So before I make myself even more paranoid that I usually am (could that really be possible I ask myself LOL) will sign off.
  15. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    Was just deluded about what they said to me in the first place... they managed to show me that, going against what they said... which puts pay to trying to accept it.

    It definately isn't empathy, because its almost as if you are that person, not just that you relate to them, or even just feel their emotions, but (at least with myself), i experience their thought processes as well as how they are feeling, like i was using their mind for a time or something. But thats the thing, once you see you are merely an observer in the world, rather than a part of it, then it goes.

    And as for when its directed at you, rather than external targets, or even at actions (the difference between who someone is, and what they do)... if we were talking physics or something, it would be like particles travelling through different types of atmosphere, their reactions are different, how they work in the realm of your own mind is completely different to how they work on the outside world, even if they are the same thing, apart from the target. But its not theoretical, and you're certainly not alienating me, its all ringing bells, making sense and all that... but again, its something that can be talked about and disected as much as you want from the outside, but as soon as you try to do it from inside the demons lair, suddenly different logic and different rules apply. But its hard to explain how it feels, as you have to be in it to realise that, and outside its only the process that you can see... fuck that makes no sense, its past midnight, so cut me a little slack, but hopefully its not too out there either.
  16. Tam

    Tam Well-Known Member

    No, it makes sense (though the very mention of the word physics makes my brain cells want to curl up and put a pillow over their heads).

    But you're right, it's late and it's hard to get stuff like this clear at the brightest of times. How about a stupid thread in coffee house or something instead?
  17. Menchi

    Menchi Well-Known Member

    meh, im not a physics guy either, just easiest comparison i could make (besides one comparing wrestling regularly, and wrestling in mud, but i decided good taste should prevail).
    Stupidness ahoy!
  18. theleastofthese

    theleastofthese SF Friend Staff Alumni

    It's a sort of perverse self-defeating way of keeping onself safe, the urge to push people away before they can hurt you.

    I understand this totally. It's like I make myself feel bad, or refuse to accept good feelings, cause I'm afraid of the let-down I'll just have later, from anyone else. Like pushing people away now keeps them from hurting you later. It's hard to express, but I understand it very well.