Delusional or wishful thinking

I used to and still to a degree do, engage in a lot of delusional thinking. Basically what it means is the inability to accept the reality of your life through creating some parallel nicer version. This nicer version can involve either a picture of yourself which is far flattering than the current state of the art or some other external aspects of your life. And yes, it can also involve convincing yourself that this guy is totally into you or that you are the smartest person in the room although all the evidence confirms the opposite.

The book *Seven pillars of self-esteem* quite accurately points out that one of the signs of a person with high self esteem is the fact that they do not avoid facing reality. This definition is more revealing than it seems at first. It also namely points out why we engage in wishful thinking – because we deem reality too hard to accept.

I am constantly being faced with the reality that most of my friends at this point have families. Family was always something I wanted, albeit for questionable reasons, I admit. Engaging in some made-up relationships made it easier to accept this reality, because…soon I would be in a relationship that was far greater than anything else…

Wishful thinking is a coping mechanism and I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing. In fact I think it has helped me to survive one of the toughest therapy years. Giving it up at this point is in fact as if I was giving up this comfort blanket. It is almost like letting go of a parent as you mature. I think in a way since I never really felt like I had the kind of home I wanted, wishful thinking became my way to experience the kind of reality I desired. So whenever life went bad, I would use the same strategy…I would just imagine that I had a perfect life, like I once imagined I had a perfect family…

The problem is if your wishful thinking also involves some serious denial of reality and unwillingness to improve your situation. For instance do you refuse to engage in real life relationships because you still hold on to this one guy who you never went in a date with? Because maybe a dream of him is much safer and also much grander than this rather flawed guy that actually wants to date you. Or do you still dream of this grand career and paint your current job as a space filler once you finally get the job you truly desire….but you are actually too afraid of doing anything for getting this dream job?

Facing reality is hard and ungrateful job. No one even gives you an award for daring to do this. However if you are lucky you can finally take small steps to improve the actual situation.

Advertisements

Unhealthy and healthy people?

I used to find comfort in the idea that there are certain levels of health. That made bearing my therapy at least a bit easier – this notion that I am moving towards some magical higher level of health. Mind me, I still do think people have levels of health, but not really the way a lot of other users in internet seem to refer to them.

If you are a visitor of for instance discussion forums on Myers Briggs you see a lot of people referring to unhealthy ESTP or whatnot. Mostly those using the reference are categorized as other types though. Myers Briggs forums are just one example where I encounter such categorization – healthy and unhealthy. To be honest, I am growing increasingly vary of it. Mostly because I find it is very often used by users as a reference to their own innocence in certain situation. It is like saying – I cannot potentially have done anything wrong, because they are unhealthy. It is even better if it is used to describe other Myers Briggs personality type without sometimes acknowledging that yes people do handle things differently, just because someone has a different way of taking care of things really does not make them unhealthy.

I can give a personal example. I am annoyed with people who make their emotions everyone else’s business. It really rubs me the wrong way if someone is lashing out and expecting other people to calm them down. However, I do realize that there is also my assumption there that this person expects me to calm them down and there is my separation anxiety and my fear of conflicts. I would love to deem this other person unhealthy, indeed it would be much easier….

So, to me the distinction between unhealthy and healthy goes more in lines with, are you able to be in peace with yourself for who you are; do you feel you are moving towards your goals; are your relationships with other people the way you expect them to be? I believe there are many different ways of being and all of these different types probably have a different road to self-actualization. Deeming someone unhealthy just because they handle conflicts differently or are more detached or more emotional than you are, in my eyes refers to the lack of self- and other awareness. Furthermore, I argue that it is even more dangerous as it often translates into criticism towards other people for things which might just be their special way of functioning. If they wanted to, they could produce the same kind of criticism about you from their perspective….

Why don’t I get lucky in life?

I recently read a forum post which made me think about how we cope with life’s challenges. I used to think that somehow, I was particularly cursed in the happiness department and the fate was throwing all these difficult challenges to me. Now I know that most difficult part of these challenges was handling my emotions.

I am not saying I had objectively no reason to complain.  However, this is not really the point. The issue is something in my childhood made me engage in magical thinking where I thought if I only could sort out the outside world….everything would be fine. You know if only I would be popular….if only I had friends etc…Lets not go to the extreme and claim that these things do not matter, especially when you are 13, but….they matter all the more if you lack resources to handle life’s challenges.

Crappy childhood usually does not make you tough, but rather vulnerable. But working through years and years of emotional issues makes you tough eventually. It also makes you look at life’s issues differently. I know for a fact that loosing my job or the end of a relationship would probably be less of an issue for me than for a lot of other people. Simply because I know that these things are replaceable. It is how you deal with losses that is important.

I find that basing your happiness on getting this one job or this dream house is a risky road. I have the experience of loosing several things that mattered to me throughout my life and I know that this is survivable. Unfortunately I don’t think I have a good recipe for achieving the mentality where life’s challenges would not be such an issue anymore. For me it has taken years and years of therapy. So I am sympathetic to other people who experience the same as I did, but at the same time I am also aware that the major issue is not the challenge itself but in fact the attitude. Life is going to be tough for some more than others. It would be naïve to hope that everything you encounter in life is going to make you happy and satisfied. People who have it good usually don’t have it good because they have no challenges. They have it good because they know how to handle these challenges.

 

How you brought ghosting upon you

So there are quite a few articles on ghosters deeming those people lacking respect for others, lack of morals etc. I am not necessarily arguing with this, but as with everything there are two sides to ghosting. Every relationship, no matter how short lived, has two people shaping the relationship. If someone ghosts you, it is utterly unhelpful to curse the other person and paint yourself as victim. If this happens with you more than once, it seems to denote to a pattern in your behaviour. So what kind of pattern?

Since I have now been ghosted twice I am in the process of making some conclusions about my own behaviour. Although I have been ghosted only twice, there have been numerous guys I crushed on who did not respond to my feelings and I still kept hoping. In the event of ghosting we actually got into a more romantic relating but it was short lived. However, I think the habit of crushing on guys who obviously did not feel that way about me and unwillingness to let go are clear pointers to my problems.

So….I lack self-respect to accept the word no. Instead of just accepting that either guys are not interested in me or what I want, I just somehow convince myself that they are not ready to see their feelings, they are intimidated by my insightfulness or whatever. The two guys that ghosted me were sending me clear signs that they were not interested in anything more than just a casual relationship or flirt. Granted one guy was not really vocal about it and confused the hell out of me with his behaviour, but that should also be a sign. If someone cannot make up their mind about you do you really stay and try to convince them that they should want something more with you?

It is somewhat scary to discover that the message I have been broadcasting over the years is that I lack self-esteem. In all these occasions I wanted to convince someone to like me who either did not like me or did not like me enough. From the opposite side, when someone has tried to endlessly pursue me and I have already rejected me, it either freaks me out or just makes me look at this person with pity. I assume that the objects of my affection also saw me in the end as somewhat desperate.

Now my ghosting cases are not as clear cut because obviously both guys had feelings for me. However again, my willingness to put up with their ambiguity clearly sent a signal that I don’t value myself enough. If you keep sending this signal long enough, the other side is going to be less and less interested because they will see how little value you put on yourself.

This is a sensitive topic for me because I do not value myself highly. Never have and still don’t. Realizing how everyone around me can see it freaks me out to a degree. I am not sure how long it will take to fix this though. It might be years and years of work still to be done.

We get what we think we deserve

So, I have spent quite a lot of time recently thinking about my previous relationships as well as my work experience. By relationships here I don’t only mean romantic relationships, although I am going to use those to exemplify my point.

So, I have been recently ghosted by two guys. I hate to admit this but in both cases I was hoping that the guy comes back. In one case I was pining over him for one year thinking we had something special. This kind of pining is nothing new for me. I have done it several times before. I am guessing partially I engage in such behaviours because it is safe. I mean if the object of your affection is far enough he cannot hurt you right? But partially it has been because I have always felt that these guys were something special, that we had some special connection, it is just that they had not realized it yet.

The thing is, even if we had something special, I was totally willing to look past the obvious lack of respect which was shown to me upon their disappearance. I think I have also done the same with friends….You know you are this one friend that keeps contacting others and they never contact you…I always thought that there was something wrong with me for ending up in such situations. In a way there was…me thinking that somehow I needed to convince others to hang around me. Me thinking that I needed to show to some reluctant friend or partner that I am really worth spending time with.

The thing is, I cannot imagine someone else trying to win my approval like this. I think it would probably be off-putting, someone thinking they have to jump through hoops to spend time with me. But this is exactly how I have functioned most of my life, thinking myself was never going to cut it – I needed to put in special efforts in order to keep people around. And I did. And it never quite worked. Mind me, being me is not yet working well either, but at least I feel less disappointed when someone rejects me.

I have always felt that it was me being judged and not me evaluating whether other people are fit enough to be my friends or partners. I never thought I was even in the position to choose. And no, this is not one of those posts which describe how bad I was and how I have miraculously recovered and now apply selection process upon other people. That would be a lie. It is never such an easy process. However I have gotten to the point where it makes me sad to realize how other people have treated me over the years.

My conclusion thus far is that it is also about the treatment I was willing to accept. I would have willingly taken back those guys that ghosted me just because they came back and it somehow boosted my self-esteem. It would have not been their luck to get me back, but instead my luck to have them back. I would have felt validated because they decided to return after all. Rationally I am starting to understand that this is the main problem in my thinking, but oh boy, emotionally it still feels like nothing is wrong in this mentality.

So overall, I know rationally that I accept subpar treatment, but it will be quite a struggle to get there emotionally….

People that don’t want to marry you…

So I might be threading on a thin ice here, but…..I think if you feel like you don’t want to marry with your partner after a reasonable amount of time, they are probably not the one with the big letter. Sure there are also commitment phobics, but statistically it is a small population. Naturally there is also another extreme – the ones with five, six whatever marriages….. but lets assume most of the population is in-between those two extremes.

I have never truly wanted to marry with any of my previous partners. There is a high chance that I had also issues with commitment phobia which I can describe in the next post. However, now when I look back at these relationships it is easy for me to see that none of these guys was really right for me. Yes these relationships worked somehow, some more than others, but there was never this great feeling and the idea of spending my whole life together with these guys made me feel somewhat uneasy. Still, I had a high need for approval, so I wanted to know if those guys want to marry me.

Interestingly I think that these guys felt the same way as I did, but they did not have an immense approval seeking and need for love clouding their decision making. So they were probably more upfront with me which let me tell you, I did not appreciate at the time. It hurt my feelings and made me wonder if I am so unlovable….

I would make a comparison between holding a regular job and being in an average relationship. About 50% or more people do not particularly enjoy their job. Yes, it might provide some sense of security and occasional gratification, but if someone asked them if they want to stay in this job for the rest of their life, they would clearly hesitate. I think there is a great proportion of people who feel the same way about their relationships. Those people might or might not be married at this point. Marriage is not the determining factor, but I think someone doubting whether they want to marry you or refusing to marry you for years to an end, might as well be.

I have always been an idealist. I think I have managed to find myself a job which I enjoy and which I might want to hold on to till the rest of my life. I think from a perspective of relationship I err to the same idealistic thinking, meaning I would want to be with someone with whom I don’t doubt and this other person does not doubt either. It should feel right for the both of us (mind me I am not talking about the occasional rough patches down the line). Being with such a person without marriage would not be a huge issue with me, so it is rather the doubting and indecisiveness that is a relationship killer for me.

Of course a totally separate question is why marrying is important for you as a person since as I said, I have wanted to marry for questionable reasons myself…

People that cannot make up their mind about you

So….I have spent my life running after wishy washy guys. The interesting part is that for most of my life I was blaming myself for their wishy-washiness. You know…if  I would only be better looking, more functional, more feminine whatever….they would not be doubtful…..or better yet, oh if I had not said this wrong thing or done this, they would be completely willing to be in a relationship with me.

I guess I am in the midst of break-through because for the first time in my life wishy washy guys are starting to annoy me. The motivation goes like this….I am a rather persistent person, meaning I can work hard for the things I want and furthermore, it never feels like super hard work for me. Others can wonder and tell me that I must have no fun in life, but for me working towards things I want has always come natural. I am this one person who achieves things not because they are most talented but because they are most hard-working. But….the drawback has been that I have also invested way too much energy into things which I should not have…

Take my previous relationship for instance. According to my ex for him the relationship was dead years before we broke up and he secretly hated me for not breaking up with him. Needless to say that throughout this period he behaved badly with me and really did not make any effort. Somehow I still kept on working because I simply did not want to give up. Whether I loved him or not was not even relevant at this point because I simply thought that if I work hard enough I can still get this thing to work. Alone…

I have held the same belief with wishy-washy guys…You know if I only work hard enough they will see how awesome I am and will want to commit to me. Needless to say that I also hold a secret anger when they don’t. I was angry at my ex for all these years he did not make any effort anymore.

I think it is starting to dawn on me that you can actually invest your energy on fruitless goals. My ex relationship for the last years was this fruitless goal. All these guys that cannot make up their mind are a fruitless goal. It is hard to work against the current. It is much easier to work for something in team. If you are trying to convince someone who is wishy washy to be in a relationship with you, you are working against the current. Why to make your life more difficult through this? The energy that you are wasting on trying to make things work with such people can be used for some other things in your life.

I think I have spent a lot of my life working against the current because this is how I was schooled. People kept telling me how I could never achieve things. My teachers never had much belief in me, my trainer was reluctant at first and I proved them wrong. But it is starting to dawn on me that if people do not believe in you, it is wrong people. My life goal should not be about convincing people to invest in me or believe in me.

Picture perfect lives and the death of intimacy

Modern life is screwed from the point of view that everyone is competing with one another for having more things, having better Instagram pictures….etc. I think the really screwed up message this sends is though – it does not matter how you really feel, it does not matter how your life really is….as long as your pictures are nice.

Such attitude makes people hide. Where I currently live, depression is a huge issue. I get the feeling that at least partially because people don’t even dare to talk to one another about anything really meaningful. Instead they spend all this energy trying to prove that they are normal. As long as the society and your ‘friends’ deem you to be normal, you are fine…

This is how you get these stories….but he seemed to be doing so well, I simply do not understand why he would kill himself. Or, but she had such a perfect life with such well-behaved kids and handsome husband.

Ever more I am noticing my role as a person to offer the alternative view. Not because I would want my random acquaintances feel for me for my difficult life….Quite the contrary, I think it is important that someone head up admits that they have issues. It actually takes soooo much more courage to admit that you have problems than to talk about your ideal life. This is true courage.

So I want show people that you can talk about problems, issues in your life etc. without necessarily having to feel mortified about it. Having issues should be normal. Struggling, for the lack of better word, is completely natural. If people made it less of a taboo, I would argue we would all have it easier. I think that the whole idea that having problems is something shame worthy and for god sake should not find its way definitely not to your Instagram page, but probably even not to your common dinners with your friends actually exaggerates the whole issue. I mean, yes I drink wine couple of evenings during the week as a coping mechanism, I should not be wanting to hide it because I am so afraid of being shamed or, yes, I still struggle to get my finances together, again, I should not be so worried about hiding it. But the truth is that I think most people feel highly insecure talking about any of those issues, be those their own or these of their friends.

Feeling like there is something wrong with me

So apparently I have spent my whole life feeling and believing that there was something wrong with me. You know I always felt like somewhat of a misfit wherever I went. I spent good part of my twenties believing that if I look hard enough I will find some environment I belong to. Then I spent other part of my twenties addressing this feeling of misfit in therapy never quite understanding the deepest reasons for it. I feel I am finally getting it….

The thing is I never felt like others around me….They always seemed to find it easier to manage, to adopt, to work for their dreams, whereas I felt like there was some deep seated reason as to why I will never be like them. Almost like there was a reason why should have never been accepted to this world….

I have not yet explored the core reasons for feeling that way, but I suspect they go back to my mum comparing me to everyone else and finding me lacking in every aspect. She even regularly told me that she wishes X or Y would her child and that I should have never been born. So I am guessing there is quite easy connection to be made there…

But interestingly I never acknowledged the amountof self-punishment in me. Namely I punished myself for believing that there was something horribly wrong with me. I found different ways of punishment starting from eating disorder and ending with pinching pimples. It all felt satisfying. I know it must feel pretty bad as you are reading it.

I never really fully understood that this was one of the main issues. I just thought that if I spend enough energy to be like everyone else, I would somehow escape this feeling. This included trying to become what several ex boyfriends wanted me to be. I thought that as long as I am what they want me to be, I cannot be wrong or dysfunctional because someone else approves of me. Well I mostly failed because, oh surprise, you can never fully become what others want you to be. However there are different ways of interpreting the situation and of course I chose the one that entitled me feeling bad for myself.

So this is my current struggle….facing my feelings of wrongness and admitting that I have felt defective my whole life….

 

Emotional growth is a real thing….

So if you are the rational kind then the talk about emotional growth sounds like some new age bull…. Someone is trying to sell you. I mean, I am amongst other things highly skeptical so all the people that talk about spiritual enlightenment get screened thoroughly. I am not saying there cannot be any spiritual enlightenment, but someone who suddenly renames themselves Holy Grail and claims it is the beginning of their new self gets a very suspicious look from me. The reasons for that are complicated, but the most obvious reason is that change takes time. People that claim to have suddenly become a new person overnight….well I have not discovered such possibility yet…

That being said, something as fuzzy as emotional growth is starting to feel very real to me. Mostly because I look at the situations with other people from few years ago and I look at how I reacted. Take the situation with my ex best friend. I fled…I had plenty of reason to, because she was dominating and selfish but still I fled because I was so scared of her reaction. Today I would probably face the situation head on. I still think I made the right decision by distancing myself, but did not really execute this correctly.

My emotional growth is also visible from my interactions with my ex. We have contact due to our work. Every time we meet, my ex is trying to make things sexual. I used to feel flattered by it. I was so insecure that someone paying attention to me and sexualizing me was beneficial. Nowadays I just look at my ex and think that he should grow up. I also see the utter selfishness in his behavior.

Finally, I am starting to notice that other people are not as aware in social situations as I am these days. But my higher awareness has created certain standards which I hold people accountable for. I recently had someone disappear on me. I cared about this person and they just disappeared. Me, today, finds this behavior highly disrespectful and immature. I can understand disappearing on someone you have casually dated for couple of weeks and you cannot master the energy to have a talk. However, disappearing on someone who you have had two years of contact with, without explanation, that I find highly questionable. To me this means that you are not emotionally mature enough to have a decent conversation on what the problems in the communication are. Furthermore, I could understand the disappearing act if I was someone who is prone to making scandals, getting angry, being vindictive…I am none of those things. These days I pride myself for being quite reasonable in conflict situations. So it is hard for me to find excuses for someone disappearing. I know I would solve the situation in a different ways today….but maybe not two years ago though…

So what I am trying to say is that there really is such a thing as emotional maturity or intelligence…call it as you wish. But the good news is, you can develop it and grow emotionally through both your experiences as well as conscious effort which I have made during past years. Interestingly, never before has it seemed so relevant to be emotionally aware, I can see so many clear benefits for my life…for everyone’s life really.