I'm an emotional mess right now. I just had a terrible weekend filled with shakes, bursts of tears, and mental/emotional anguish. Although I'm capable of day-to-day routines at work and whatnot, I'm a mess at home. And I have to admit that I created the mess, that I took an active role in it, and that people have been warning me about it all along.
I'm a "nice guy." I like to get along with people. I like people to like me. I like to make people feel good. From the outside, most people think I have it all together because I do my best to keep on everybody's good side.
But it's starting to look like my "nice guy"-ness might be hiding deeper mental problems. The psychologist suggested that I'm codependent; another person suggested that I'm a narcissist; another suggested that I'm a people pleaser. I don't care whether I fit the bill for any of these labels, but they all point to similar root problems, mostly related to authority figures.
Each of these sorts of problems stem from problems in childhood, it seems. They each show a bit of obsequious determination along with a deep lack of self-confidence. In regards to narcissism, for example, I may have learned how to make people like me by making myself look good to them, and then I've identified with their respect and admiration; or perhaps in regards to people pleasing, I've tried to please everybody over and over again, even bullies and jerks. I really want people to like me, and this hasn't been a problem.
Until now. Now that I've alienated most of the people I've tried to please in one way or another, I have nothing to identify with. Over the last few years, I've hurt more people than I ever wanted to. And it makes me feel worthless and expendable, makes me want to hide in a corner and disappear. I feel like I can't handle intimate relationships, that I poison every relationship I get close to. Because I can't please everybody and I don't know myself well enough to know where to place myself in relationships.
I have no idea how to stand up for myself because I don't know who I am enough to even start.
I got bullied a lot as a kid, and I've tried to set it behind me. But I can't think of a single time I ever actually stood up to a bully. I walked away; I tried to counter with reason; I cowered. But I never stood up for myself. Whether it was those skaters at camp who would surround me saying "Are you gay? Are you gay?" or whether it was the kid it school who stole my plastic lunch bag, I always tried to acquiesce.
Oh god, how would I know? How do I know I'm not just making up some new narrative about myself to make me feel better about whatever's happening to me today, right now? How do I know I'm not just recreating some sort of narrative as a justification not to change, or not to get uncomfortable? Maybe I stood up for myself at some point but I forgot all about it. Maybe I wasn't bullied as much as I remember. Maybe I'm a far more independent person than I imagine I am.
Who knows? Maybe even these changes that I'm all worried about are just ways for me to acquiesce more, ways to please people and continue in my own unhappiness. I can't imagine doing anything if not to make some people happy. And it's impossible for me not to see negative consequences when taking chances that might lead to said consequences.
I can't help but wonder, however, how many of these problematic traits, these bad habits, are merely extensions of unhealthy relationships more than an unhealthy state of mind. If your disorders aren't hurting anybody, they aren't seen as disorders, but if you have relationships that highlight various habits as faulty, they become disorders. Sort of like how we label students as "ADHD" because they can't handle the artificial environment of the school classroom.
But there I go again. Justifying, overthinking, "getting in my own head." I've been accused of that before (but I can't find the Tweet to show it).
I'm a mess. A 35 year old mess.
The Internet Archive
YouTube: ephemeral ideas