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Old 11-07-2019, 11:53 PM   #1
DSM-3.1415926
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Trig What if Self-Esteem ISN'T the Answer?

*** LONG AND POSSIBLY TRIGGERING *** -- sorry.

Greetings. I hope there's still a place for me here after a long absence, 'cause I don't know what to make of my current malaise, and regret to report I'm far worse than before.

What do you do when every mini-delusion you cling to to fancy yourself a good and worthy person is ripped away by life and reality, and you stand exposed as a 100% fake "man," fake American, and even fake human?

Current background: About 2.5 years ago I took a prime job transfer (for reasons I can't get into here) from one butthole town to what turns out to be a worse one. My depression has worsened, and I've gained 40 pounds from sheer compulsive stress eating. My verbal self-abuse is considerably louder and angrier, and I've started self-injuring again (face-slapping and ear-boxing, and the temptation to punch myself is getting stronger). And I still can't silence the ghosts of my dictatorial rightful betters.

As to those delusions:

(1) All my childhood dreams were so divorced from reality they bordered on psychotic; adult life crushed them out of me and left no room for any more. Right now my only dream is a slow crawl to the finish line with a few shreds of sanity intact.

(2) I once fancied myself a good husband; of late, my temper with my wife has gotten far worse and we're fighting more than we ever have -- and no, she's done me no wrong, and sometimes it does indeed take only one to wreck a marriage. (She has severe issues of her own; need I mention I've been no good at helping her with them?)

(3) I once fancied myself a good worker; thanks to my job duties being stripped to assembly-line levels of boredom since the move, and much friendly contact with co-workers no longer a part of it, I am becoming apathetic and can barely concentrate, so my performance numbers have dropped sharply and my annual "raises" are now so low as to be almost unmeasurable. (Yes, I know I should be grateful to have a job at all.)

(4) I once fancied myself a moral person; over the past few years, I've been both self- and other-challenged on every virtue I once held dear, and perhaps was never doing anything but "virtue signaling" to everyone (including myself) all along. I'm now inches away from giving up and becoming a liar, cheat, adulterer, and all-around (rhymes with "crass troll") like so many others -- and even if I don't, what good is that if my mind and heart are still sewers of wishing I could?

(I know I'm not supposed to place blame outside myself, but HAVING A "PRESIDENT" WHO CELEBRATES ALL THESE BEHAVIORS ISN'T HELPING!!!)

(5) I once fancied myself an intellectual and thinker, expecting my former love of reading to lead me to the answers in life. For any number of reasons, I simply can't focus or absorb anymore, and looking at a book page is like staring at a wall.

I now have no purpose in life other than to serve my wife, serve my pets, and serve my company. If I existed, I'd kill myself, except that would be gross dereliction of duty to the foregoing.

There's still only one med that doesn't turn me into a zombie and put me at risk of losing everything, and since 90% of my job depends on memory, I don't dare risk ECT. As for psychotherapy? Only one place in this town doesn't require payment in full (then later reimbursement from one's insurer), and I lasted only three sessions there. The guy was so quiet and nonjudgmental and nondirective, he was one step away from orthodox Freudian. Compassion level zero. The sum total of his great therapeutic wisdom, for which he gets multiple hundreds per 45-minute hour? "Be nicer to yourself."

Bringing me to my question: what if the answer is not more self-esteem, but less? What if I should hate myself even more than I do? What if shame really is the first step to reform?

To be rich, thin, beautiful/handsome, and successful is what it means to be an American. If I haven't the gumption to seek and get all of these, I am a fake American and should be given a one-way ticket to North Korea.

I've been so obsessed with accepting myself as I am that I haven't lifted a hangnail to better myself in sixty years -- physically, mentally, morally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, aesthetically, or sexually. Self-improvement is what it means to be human, as we are the only creatures who can choose better than to blindly follow the so-called "dictates" of nature. If I haven't the wherewithal to better myself, I am a fake human and belong not in apartment and office, but ZOO AND CIRCUS.

I'd be grateful to be disagreed with, assuming I so deserve.

Thanks -- DSM-3.1415926
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Old 11-08-2019, 02:47 AM   #2
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Default Re: What if Self-Esteem ISN'T the Answer?

I hated myself also and was a self-loathing drunk for many years. I wrote an article on how I got better.


It comes with a trigger warning, so you know.

UPDATE** This is What I Have Learned About Recovery and Personal Growth
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Old 11-08-2019, 09:22 AM   #3
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Default Re: What if Self-Esteem ISN'T the Answer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DSM-3.1415926 View Post
. . .

I've been so obsessed with accepting myself as I am that I haven't lifted a hangnail to better myself in sixty years -- physically, mentally, morally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, aesthetically, or sexually. Self-improvement is what it means to be human, as we are the only creatures who can choose better than to blindly follow the so-called "dictates" of nature. If I haven't the wherewithal to better myself, I am a fake human and belong not in apartment and office, but ZOO AND CIRCUS.

I'd be grateful to be disagreed with, assuming I so deserve.

Thanks -- DSM-3.1415926
So sorry you're having these difficulties. They sound like pretty real difficulties, not fake. So probably you're not fake, either, though you may fake it sometimes as the best way you know to get through the days?

What would it mean to you, now, try to better yourself? The American dream you described -- that's a mirage and ideal for many of us, something to shoot for, maybe, but then if/when we are disappointed that we didn't achieve what we wanted, that's something else to deal with.

Nevertheless, something to shoot for, to improve your life and yourself? What would you start with?
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Old 11-09-2019, 09:47 AM   #4
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Default Re: What if Self-Esteem ISN'T the Answer?

The expensive advice—“Be nicer to yourself”—sounds fitting to me.

Advice can be both expensive and fitting.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:01 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSM-3.1415926 View Post
*** LONG AND POSSIBLY TRIGGERING *** -- sorry.

Greetings. I hope there's still a place for me here after a long absence, 'cause I don't know what to make of my current malaise, and regret to report I'm far worse than before.

What do you do when every mini-delusion you cling to to fancy yourself a good and worthy person is ripped away by life and reality, and you stand exposed as a 100% fake "man," fake American, and even fake human?

Current background: About 2.5 years ago I took a prime job transfer (for reasons I can't get into here) from one butthole town to what turns out to be a worse one. My depression has worsened, and I've gained 40 pounds from sheer compulsive stress eating. My verbal self-abuse is considerably louder and angrier, and I've started self-injuring again (face-slapping and ear-boxing, and the temptation to punch myself is getting stronger). And I still can't silence the ghosts of my dictatorial rightful betters.

As to those delusions:

(1) All my childhood dreams were so divorced from reality they bordered on psychotic; adult life crushed them out of me and left no room for any more. Right now my only dream is a slow crawl to the finish line with a few shreds of sanity intact.

(2) I once fancied myself a good husband; of late, my temper with my wife has gotten far worse and we're fighting more than we ever have -- and no, she's done me no wrong, and sometimes it does indeed take only one to wreck a marriage. (She has severe issues of her own; need I mention I've been no good at helping her with them?)

(3) I once fancied myself a good worker; thanks to my job duties being stripped to assembly-line levels of boredom since the move, and much friendly contact with co-workers no longer a part of it, I am becoming apathetic and can barely concentrate, so my performance numbers have dropped sharply and my annual "raises" are now so low as to be almost unmeasurable. (Yes, I know I should be grateful to have a job at all.)

(4) I once fancied myself a moral person; over the past few years, I've been both self- and other-challenged on every virtue I once held dear, and perhaps was never doing anything but "virtue signaling" to everyone (including myself) all along. I'm now inches away from giving up and becoming a liar, cheat, adulterer, and all-around (rhymes with "crass troll") like so many others -- and even if I don't, what good is that if my mind and heart are still sewers of wishing I could?

(I know I'm not supposed to place blame outside myself, but HAVING A "PRESIDENT" WHO CELEBRATES ALL THESE BEHAVIORS ISN'T HELPING!!!)

(5) I once fancied myself an intellectual and thinker, expecting my former love of reading to lead me to the answers in life. For any number of reasons, I simply can't focus or absorb anymore, and looking at a book page is like staring at a wall.

I now have no purpose in life other than to serve my wife, serve my pets, and serve my company. If I existed, I'd kill myself, except that would be gross dereliction of duty to the foregoing.

There's still only one med that doesn't turn me into a zombie and put me at risk of losing everything, and since 90% of my job depends on memory, I don't dare risk ECT. As for psychotherapy? Only one place in this town doesn't require payment in full (then later reimbursement from one's insurer), and I lasted only three sessions there. The guy was so quiet and nonjudgmental and nondirective, he was one step away from orthodox Freudian. Compassion level zero. The sum total of his great therapeutic wisdom, for which he gets multiple hundreds per 45-minute hour? "Be nicer to yourself."

Bringing me to my question: what if the answer is not more self-esteem, but less? What if I should hate myself even more than I do? What if shame really is the first step to reform?

To be rich, thin, beautiful/handsome, and successful is what it means to be an American. If I haven't the gumption to seek and get all of these, I am a fake American and should be given a one-way ticket to North Korea.

I've been so obsessed with accepting myself as I am that I haven't lifted a hangnail to better myself in sixty years -- physically, mentally, morally, emotionally, spiritually, financially, aesthetically, or sexually. Self-improvement is what it means to be human, as we are the only creatures who can choose better than to blindly follow the so-called "dictates" of nature. If I haven't the wherewithal to better myself, I am a fake human and belong not in apartment and office, but ZOO AND CIRCUS.

I'd be grateful to be disagreed with, assuming I so deserve.

Thanks -- DSM-3.1415926
I'm sorry that you are struggling right now.
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Old 11-09-2019, 03:15 PM   #6
unaluna
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Default Re: What if Self-Esteem ISN'T the Answer?

Yup life sucks. But its better than the alternative? Count your blessings? Join the club? Is the glass half empty or half full? Seriously im not kidding, thats all i got.
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Old 11-14-2019, 12:31 PM   #7
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Default Re: What if Self-Esteem ISN'T the Answer?

I don't think you're fake at all.

I wonder if removing cultural expectations would be helpful. I certainly would not like to live up to expectations of being rich/thin/successful in order to feel I was worthy.

We are all worthy - just by being born. It's not a competition IMO.

As for your wife - I think if she is still with you and still willing to make a life with you then that is a good place to start. You can do it together a bit at a time.

Wishing you peace.
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