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Matthew

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  • #351496

    Matthew
    Participant

    Yes, I told them recently while being very down and crying, about my fears, about my lack of self-confidence etc. and they were surprised and said that I shouldn’t feel less than others because I have no reason to. I also told them how I envy people and they said they believe I could do anything I want, much more than others, and that they think others are envious of me for how much I’ve accomplished in my life, and how good I am at things.

    I didn’t tell them that I wished they had taught me to be tougher and to stand up for myself more, because I feel it would not help with anything. I cannot change any of the past now, so I don’t see where the point of it would be except for creating conflict, which I see no reason for.

    They’ve had a lot of stress during the past with problems and people and now they are in a state where even little things can change their mood, and I’ve noticed that my father prefers to get rid of problems quickly instead of talking about them thoroughly and going to their roots. I don’t want to make it sound bad, they care about me and they try to help me whenever I have a problem, but I sometimes feel that it’s better if I don’t tell them certain things because it would do more harm than good, and doing harm is in nobody’s interest.

    #351110

    Matthew
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

     

    I’m aware of the fact that my parents are not perfect, of course. I may tend to bring out only their good side, but whenever something comes to my mind that is bad or less good I promise I will mention it.

    I’ve been thinking more after re-reading what I wrote to you and I have to add something else: my parents have jobs that are valued by society. They are very nice and helpful people and many people like and respect them, but I think it’s very possible that all those people would not have the same respect for them if they didn’t have these jobs. So the fact that they are valued for the way they are and not for their achievements is actually not true. They are valued for who they are by close friends and family, just like I am.

    And now my answer to your request for the to elaborate on “my family has always valued high jobs and they’ve always talked highly about people who had important positions”: I meant that if the subject of our dinner chat was a friend of theirs or a son/daughter of somebody we know, who has gotten a high status job they would have talked about them with words of praise, saying how smart and diligent they were for getting there, talking about how good a life they must have in the future, and honestly I think the same way. I respect people who have managed to find their way in life righteously and are happy, but it also makes me feel very sad and empty because I haven’t, and I feel like a failure for not having been able to achieve things that other people who are even younger than me have easily achieved. I consider myself smart, but whenever I hear about or see these people I feel stupid for not finding a way like they had. I feel inferior to them and this makes me talk to them like they were some kind of chosen ones who know the secrets of the world.

    I am very aware of the fact that what I talk about is pure envy, because ever since I remember, I’ve always had in mind the image that I will become a successful person, I will find my way, I will move away to a great place, I will achieve high things, I will be an example for others, I will be respected and wanted (meaning that people will want to hang out with me), and the reality is that after I graduated from college none of these have become true and I became very disappointed, asking myself when or where I have made the mistakes that caused me to leave that path. And this resulted in me becoming full of sadness and envy when I hear about people my age or younger being successful and advancing. I know that being envious is not healthy, but it has become my natural reaction to these things, and I would very much like to get rid of it. I’m actually very happy for those who did it without cheating or doing anything illegal because they really deserve it, but then I remind myself that I deserve it too.

     

    And secondly: No. My parents never talked highly about nor they respected people who achieved things illegally or immorally. This is how I was also raised, but it’s been happening more and more often that I regret being so moral and righteous. I know I shouldn’t, but it stops me from imposing myself and from standing up for myself in different situations. My parents have never raised their voice against somebody except for situations when their reasons were very strong. And I am just like that. I’ve never shouted at anybody, I’ve never faced or took revenge on anybody who had hurt me in any way, and I’ve made my first official complaint to a company against an employee who didn’t treat my right for the first time when I was 25, and I actually thought about it a lot before sending the e-mail (I was too afraid to afraid and anxious to call because I thought I would not be able to think clearly when I tell them my reasons). I regret the fact that I’m not more “manly” because it would help me in my every day life. So here it is, one bad side of my parents, not raising me to be a tougher person But I also need to add something else here: It’s not only my parents who raised me like that. In the country I live in customer service is not something that people care about much, so even if the driver of a bus is rude to the customer without any reason, the customer will be afraid to say anything, they will just bow their heads and stay silent because if they raise their voice, if they are not a really smart and tough person, the driver will win the conflict and will kick them out of the bus.  The complaint I had made was against such a bus driver because he was very rude to me for telling him that he had made a mistake with my reservation, and I made the complaint only after I got off the bus at the destination because if I did it earlier he would have not taken me anywhere and the people from the company would have stuck with him. So growing up in a place where I didn’t feel entitled to be treated nicely by people was also a very strong factor which added up to my sensitiveness, my anxiety and my fears.

    #350738

    Matthew
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

     

    I think what you meant to ask me is to explain how the two contradict each other. You have made a good point by putting the two paragraphs next to each other as they are indeed opposed.

    Honestly, I have no idea how to explain it, but I’ll just write down my thoughts hoping that they help find the issue.

    In my family, I feel accepted and loved no matter what choices I make or how I spend my days. Of course, my family has always valued high jobs and they’ve always talked highly about people who had important positions, but I think this can be found in mostly every family. Even though it wasn’t a condition, I’ve been thinking that maybe indirectly all these things have made me want to be part of that category of people who are important and successful. In the outside world I’ve always felt that achievements mean so much more to people than the kind of person one is. You can be an amazing writer, but if you don’t become successful, you will never be regarded to as an amazing one. You will be perceived as a writer who wasn’t good enough to make it. And it’s not only the way other people perceive you, it’s also the way you perceive yourself.

    I’ve realized the fact that so many people who are regarded to as “important” have actually been involved in illegal things, and have done some bad things in order to achieve their success, which is something that I don’t like and respect. I couldn’t imagine myself pushing others down or hurting them in any way purposefully in order to get what I want. But I kind of notice that this becomes a more and more acceptable trend that I can simply not take part in. Nowadays, it’s normal to get a job not because you are good at it, but because you know somebody, which is very sad.

    So, I think that even though I believe I am a moral, smart person with many abilities and talents, I feel that I will not be valued based on these things by people, but rather based on what I’ve done, and how high I have climbed on the ladder of success and achievements. I feel that most people will not be interested in me (partners included) if I don’t have something to show. Therefore, I believe that I started viewing my own value based on my achievements because I want to feel accepted by the world, and that’s the way the world will accept me.

    On the other hand, of course, I’m trying not to look at or judge other people this way, because I think it’s wrong, especially given the situation in the world and the way so many people reach success, but at the same time, I’m aware that this will not make me be perceived differently.

    I’m the kind of person who usually doesn’t care about people’s opinion, but recently I’ve been more and more anxious and afraid about my future, including jobs, place to live, relationships, network, etc., and all these depend on many other people, not only on me. So, in other words, I feel that I depend on people, so I need to be accepted and respected by them in order to advance in life.

     

    This is the best answer that I’ve managed to come up with. Again, if I contradict myself or talk nonsense, it’s because this is how I feel my mind actually is now: confused, filled, pressured, my thoughts contradicting each other, worried, and afraid.

    #349142

    Matthew
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    First of all, Happy Easter!

    And now my new reply:

    Yes. The “all or nothing”/”black and white” thinking apply to me in many situations.

    “That bitterness blinds you to positive experiences, causing you to minimize and even forget those positive experiences.” – Yes, I can recognize this happening to me a lot of times. Often, when something bad happens I forget about all the good. But I’m always trying to change this pattern and to appreciate everything I have and have had, which is actually a lot.

    I’ve been often thinking that maybe the problem lies within me and I’m just trying to blame things on everybody and everything else, and I am only lazy and afraid, but if I dig deeper I still get to the conclusion that, of course, I have my own part of the problem, but not all of it. And even if I feel sometimes lazy and afraid, if I look back at my past years I have proven that I’m not. I have done things and have achieved goals that many other people would be afraid to pursue, and I’m proud of it.

    But I’ve also noticed that I see myself through my achievements, meaning that I value myself by what I have done (or not), and not by who I am. Whenever I feel that I’ve had a productive day I feel I deserve happiness, but when I feel I haven’t done anything “useful” I immediately feel that I don’t. My self-worth comes from my achievements and not from my self. And thinking about it more has also made me realize that this is how I look at and value many other people, which I believe is wrong and I’m trying to change. I’ve also asked myself whether this comes form my parents, but I don’t think so. They always encouraged me to try to achieve high goals and get far in life, but it was never an obligation or a condition. I just have a constant feeling that I need to achieve very high things in order to be content with myself, to feel that I’ve done things right.

     

    In the next reply I will continue with my story, with the high-school and college years.

     

    #348480

    Matthew
    Participant

    The point you made is interesting indeed. And, although I don’t feel so, you may be right. I’ve noticed that I’ve always had a tendency to exaggerate about things, using words like “never” where I am not supposed to, especially during moments or periods when I’m really down.

    And regarding how it feels to be loved, I think it’s in the little things. The simple fact that someone is interested about my well-being, the fact that someone wants to spend time with me, talk with me, do something together with me, these are things that make me feel respected and loved for who I am.

    And what I actually feel is the lack of these things with peers. If I don’t call, they don’t call, if I don’t text, they don’t text for weeks. If someone texts me asking how I am, if they want to meet with me, or if they invite me somewhere, I am often surprised (in a good way) thinking “wow, someone wants to hang out with me”. But it happens rarely and seeing how often it happens with others makes me feel sad.

    Writing all these makes me doubt what I had written before, and it makes me ask myself whether I am exaggerating with all this or not. What do you think? Do I actually have a great life and an average social life and I am just not able to see it? Am I not seeing the forest from the trees? Am I so preoccupied with comparing myself to others and chasing ideals that I am not able to notice and cherish what I have? I usually have these thoughts whenever I see somebody doing worse than me. Now I have them thinking about what I had written.

    #348462

    Matthew
    Participant

    And if you remember, I wrote that I stopped writing my “story” when I got to the age of 14. After that, in high school and university I managed to meet some people that I got on well with and whom I felt respected by, but they are only a few and they all live in different parts of the world now, on different continents, far from me, so I am not able to meet them in person.

    #348460

    Matthew
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    “any idea how you forgot such a significant experience as being loved?” – I wrote the text and I edited it afterwards. It seems like I forgot to add that part back because after I send you the reply I thought it contained this information too. Mistakes happen 🙂

     

    And I don’t need time to think about your question: I don’t feel that the world outside my home is hostile and dangerous. I never have. I don’t feel that my only place is here with my family. As far as I remember, my parents have always encouraged me to make friends and to have experiences. I have had opportunities to travel the world for longer times and my parents have encouraged me to do it, and they also supported me financially. They’ve always tried to offer me the opportunities that they hadn’t had when they were my age and I am grateful to them for that. Now, on the other hand, every time I was on the point of doing something or going somewhere, of course, there was the usual “be careful”,  “the dog might bite”, “you could be scammed”, etc., and sometimes they even told me that something I wanted to do was dangerous, but it didn’t affect me, as I still did it, because I felt I was right, and I was happy about my decision. I’ve lived for months in different parts of the world and I had no problems adapting. In some places that I liked I would have wanted to stay and move there, but it wasn’t legally possible or it didn’t work out. I’m still trying to find ways to do it, as I wrote in my first post that I deleted.

     

    I’m sorry if I deviate from the subject or if I leave anything out, but as you can imagine, there’s a lot to think about and analyze and it’s very easy to lose my thoughts. Thank you for understanding.

    #348414

    Matthew
    Participant

    Christyne:

    I’m sorry but not having been through anything like this I don’t feel I am the right person to answer your question. The only thing I can advise you to do is to talk about it with your fiance honestly as it should happen in any loving family.

    #348412

    Matthew
    Participant

    Anita:

    1. it’s a small town, and they go everywhere (they actually live in the center). It’s not like their purpose is to terrorize people, but it’s one of the things they do because they are enjoying it and they can. There are robberies sometimes, but not on a daily basis, and there are no murders.
    My parents would have wanted to move to a different country when they were younger but they spoke no English and they couldn’t afford moving. This is the place where they had a house to live in and jobs. Now they sometimes regret not trying to move. I wouldn’t call it a warzone, I think that would be exaggerated. From the outside it doesn’t seem to be a dangerous place. Maybe it only is to people like me who are not the “tough” kind.

    2. I don’t know of anybody in particular, but I’m sure they’ve also had such encounters. I believe some might have been afraid, but I’ve heard stories of classmates who had an aggressive attitude towards these bullies, some beat them, some scared them away, or became friends with them.

     

    And there is a correction to what I had written in my former reply. I forgot to mention that I’ve had two girlfriends for a short time each, and I felt that one of them genuinely loved me, accepted me and appreciated me for what I was, but the relationship didn’t work out and since then I’ve been single. Not having been able to find a girlfriend as easily as others do has also been a major factor that contributed for my lack of self-confidence.

    #348244

    Matthew
    Participant

    In order to answer the question properly, I have to clarify something. The person who poured a drink on me was not a bully from school. He was one of the many people (he was 4 years older than me, I think) who live in a “ghetto” part of the town. They haven’t gone to school, they don’t work, they live on welfare, they behave like the world is theirs, and the police doesn’t do anything to them because even they are afraid of them. There is a high risk that if anybody tries to confront them they will take their revenge because they are simply not afraid of anybody, having almost nothing to lose. I don’t think it would have been wise for my parents to tell me to fight back if this were to happen again, because it was obvious that I would have ended up beaten up. Other people my age weren’t so afraid of them because they weren’t “targets” for the bullies, as they were stronger physically and implicitly they felt strong enough to fight back if needed.

     

    Therefore, what my parents did was tell my teacher, thinking that the bully might have been a student, but he wasn’t. Some of my classmates though of somebody in the school who could have been the bully from my description and they told me to go with them to see if it was him (I remember feeling so good that they for them trying to help me). We went to see, but it wasn’t that person. When I left school 2 of my classmates also came with me (if I remember well) thinking that the bully might be there again, but he wasn’t. But the thought of him (or anybody else whom he represented) has always been there with me. Given the fact that nobody even knows where he lives, because they are always on the street, my parents couldn’t do more about it. I remember that all the time they kept encouraging me to do anything I wanted to, and the have been always trying to make me feel that I am a worthy and lovable person. But I never got to pass a certain line on that “path”, because of all these experiences that I’ve had with my peers. I didn’t feel safe on the street because of that experience (and some other similar ones), and I didn’t feel quite well at school either because I never felt genuinely respected or loved by others. Whenever there was a choice they would always leave me. I’ve always wished I had that friend like you see in the movies, who would always be on my side, who would defend me in conflicts and who would support me when I’m feeling down. I’ve been helped or defended a few times but as far as I remember I feel that It happened because they had a personal interest in it, they didn’t do it for me.

     

    Same goes for parties. I hated going to any birthday party or similar events because I just didn’t have anything to do. I didn’t like dancing and I didn’t drink or smoke. Everybody else seemed to be just fine without me so I had absolutely no interest in being there because I didn’t like anything going on there, not even the music. I rarely found a person whom I could have a genuine conversation with but it didn’t last long.

     

    And something else I remembered: I always tried to change myself in order to fit in with my peers. I wanted to impress them, but of course it never worked. And I feel that this has stayed with me even today. I still feel that I’m trying to impress every person I meet in order to be accepted by them, and it’s more like a reflex now, not a decision. The only place where I feel accepted for who and what I am is with my family.

     

    I remember something very strange from when I was around 10 years old. I don’t remember when it began or when it ended, but I know that every morning before going to school I woke up feeling sick because of nervousness and a few times I even threw up. It went on like this for weeks. It was a fear mixed with anxiety, not for going on the street alone, but more for going to school. My parents took me to the doctor but I was perfectly healthy. They also talked to my teacher and she gathered the whole class and said that one of us was dealing with some difficulties (she didn’t say it was me) and if anybody knows why this happened they are asked to say it, but nobody said anything. They didn’t have anything to say because it wasn’t anybody or anything in particular. I still have the exact same feeling whenever I have an exam, or anything important on a given day.

     

    If I think back now, I would say that anybody could have told me absolutely anything about how worthy I was, or how I should accept and love myself the way I am, because if I hadn’t seen it happening practically, I wouldn’t have believed it. If you keep telling me that I am a great comedian but almost nobody laughs at my jokes (except for my family) for years, I will gradually stop believing I am funny.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 2 weeks ago by  Matthew.
    #346182

    Matthew
    Participant

    My earliest memories are only short images.  The people in my family were all educated and respected but not for their job, but for the way they were as people. They’ve always been hard workers, and they’ve never fooled others for their own advantage. We didn’t have much but we appreciated and used everything we had. Growing up in this environment, I’ve learned the importance of all these values in life. My parents did their best to offer me a great childhood and they succeeded. I remember being a very happy child. I was loved by everybody. I was calm, smart, I loved playing with Lego, making puzzles, watching cartoons.

    I’ve always been very slim, I never liked eating much, and I haven’t had any health problems from it. I’ve also worn glasses from kindergarten. In kindergarten things were good, I enjoyed playing with others and I felt that they did too with me. But, in school I kept being mocked for both wearing glasses and being so thin. I’ve also been called names for it. That’s when I began feeling that I look and am weaker than others. If it was bad I used to tell on others to my teacher, but apart from her scolding them nothing else had changed. And “hitting back” was never an option because I was realistically aware of the fact that being physically inferior, I had absolutely nothing to win.

    One day when coming home from school, I was stopped on the street by a boy who is known for being a trouble maker and he poured a drink on me just for fun. That has made me become afraid of going out in the street alone for a few years, and even now I am kind of afraid of these kinds of people when being on the street. The police doesn’t do anything against them, so I feel I have absolutely no power over the situation.

    I went on class trips from school which I enjoyed, but once I went on a longer one (1 week) which I dreaded. I kept being mocked by others (especially by the older ones who chose me as a mocking object for being the universally called “looser”-type), I didn’t know how to swim (it was at a lake), and obviously others chose going with the group instead of me, so at one point a strong feeling of loneliness and helplessness struck me which made me cry and want to go home every day. The teacher tried to comfort me and help but it didn’t help. The fact that people around me (except for family) have always chosen to spend time or do things with others than me has stayed in my life for a very long time, and it added to my feeling of being unwanted.

     

    This is what came into my mind about the time until I reached the age of 10. I think I will stop here now, and I will continue after we talk what there is to talk about regarding this part. I’ve tried to write all things I remember, but if you have any particular questions maybe they would help me to bring out more. And something for all my future posts: you can ask me absolutely anything and I will answer honestly with (if you also don’t mind) because I know it’s the only way to go. I don’t mind at all, now that I am anonymous.

    #346078

    Matthew
    Participant

    Thank you, Anita.

     

    Honestly I have no idea where to start. Maybe it would be best if you asked me something.

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