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#208341 - 03/01/08 10:14 PM accepting friendship
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1996
Loc: durham, north england
Recently, i've realized something, but have no idea how to deal with it or what I should do.

I have a number of friends, some incredibly close friends, three in particular who I have recently disclosed to, ---- as I said here a while ago.

the thing is, I've always percieved everything as coming entirely from them. If they invite me round, phone me or ask to do something together with me, I feel honoured and pleased that they're willing to spend their time with me. If I contact them, then I feel it's great of them to take the time to bother with me. I feel as if I'm taking from them all the time, and they are so wonderfully decent good human beeings as to continually give, and particularly now when I've asked for and recieved help from them, I'm just amazed they continually put up with me.

with my very closest friends, I've actually raised this. They've all assured me that they enjoy being with me, even when I'm as wrecked as I am at the moment, and that they get something out of it as well.

my friend the counceler in particular has been really helpful over the phone, ---- in fact it was through talking to her that I discovered this feeling myself. I half heartedly offered to send her some money, sinse she'd helped me so much (partly due to her expertees), but she declined absolutely, and tole me she actually got something out of things as well.

But despite this assurence, I'm finding it really hard to believe, and everytime I finish spending a good time with friends I think "wow! how did they ever put up with me"

Of course, when i fall in love, this problem increases 100 fold and I really! feel worthless.

What have I got to offer anyone else? how can I avoid just beeing a parasite? I'd really like some advice on this.


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#208346 - 03/01/08 10:45 PM Re: accepting friendship [Re: dark empathy]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
Dark, You are listening to bad tapes playing in your head from the old abuse. Tapes that say something like "they have to want something?
"no one can possibly love me" Etc.
See my post on Deeply held beliefs. These are things we all have to fight. Trust me your a good person and I can understand why people enjoy helping you and loving you. You have had to really bad stuff happen to you and that has made you cynical and probably a little paraoid. But if these people think so much of you then you are probably worth it at the very least. Relax DE and enjoy the ride. It is wonderful to have people love anc care for you and listen to you. Just like here!!


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#208350 - 03/01/08 11:27 PM Re: accepting friendship [Re: Freedom49]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1996
Loc: durham, north england
I can rationally see why you might be right. One thing my counceler friend helped me realize is that for years I was literally told I was nothing, and was worthless, in very crude and unpleasant language on a dayly basis everytime I walked down a school corridor, but I have no idea how to get rid of this idea, ---- even reading your comments about me being a good person made me feel wrong.

The sense of people wanting something I have isn't the sens that everyone is always out for something, ---- in fact in my work on ethics one of my key ideas is that it's just as false to say that everyone is always selfish as the reverse. It's that I feel I have nothing to give, no value, no input.

If someone asks me for a favor, it feels so good, so fantastically good. One of the things I love doing most in tabletop rp games is having my character jump in front of another players' to take the attack aimed at them, even though it's only a game with no relevance, and my character certainly isn't me, it feels so wonderful that I can do that for another person, and I have fantasies about doing it in real life.

But most of the time i just feel I can't do enough for people, ---- particularly my friends who are always doing things for me.

I'll check out the other post you mention, thanks.


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#208491 - 03/02/08 04:14 PM Re: accepting friendship [Re: dark empathy]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1962
DE,

I have some similar problems. In my past, I was made to feel pretty worthless. This started a couple years before I experienced the SA, which of course pushed things over the edge.

I struggle a lot to feel worthy of affection and friendships, and I often feel I do not deserve either. Yet I know I have a lot of good qualities, things that have been part of who I am for as long as I can remember, way before all the negative messages and abuse. And I think the friends I have seem to enjoy me, though they also are aware that I have been pretty screwed up, which is getting better though. But they have stuck by me and I'd like to think people like me, but also sometimes I think the opposite.

I myself am starting to open up a little about the SA, and all the other crap that I experienced when I was younger. I am working to heal, and I know one of the issues I will need to continue to face is being able to accept the positive attributes that I posses. The hard part is that the negative messages I received from others, and especially the SA, can make it very easy for me to get real down on myself and not see the good but instead focus on the bad. But I am getting better. Not sure if this helps, but just wanted to let you know I can relate.

Eric


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#208495 - 03/02/08 05:39 PM Re: accepting friendship [Re: ericc]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1996
Loc: durham, north england
thanks eric, it is good to know people have a similar problem. How exactly do you start focusing on your good qualities? The second I begin trying to formulate any good thoughts about myself or my achievements, I start thinking only of how arrogant I must be.

Again, this is something I was very much told for years, ----- "you think your better than anyone else, ---- but your not" but I have no idea how to begin getting rid of this feeling at all.


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#208531 - 03/02/08 10:08 PM Re: accepting friendship [Re: dark empathy]
ericc Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 1962
DE,

I have been doing a little thinking here. First, I think when I post I try to be optimistic in regards to what I am saying. I don't think it is always easy for me to focus on my good qualities, it is just I am working on that happening more and more. I definitely still slip into thinking too much on some of the garbage. I think it sort of comes and goes, where some days are better than others. But it is my goal to make that more the norm. But I do think it is important to recognize one's good qualities and give oneself some credit for these.

I know what you are saying about your fears of feeling arrogant. At least I can understand your fears. But I think if you know you are not being arrogant, you shouldn't be too hard on yourself in regards to this. It sounds like some more negative programming that occurred when you were younger, which seems to be pretty normal with abuse survivors from what I am learning. I remember an incident when I was younger and a friend told another friend I was showing off in regards to something, and I know I clearly wasn't, well that made me feel pretty crummy. Not that I never showed off, but in this case I wasn't doing so. I can understand not wanting to come across as arrogant.

Anyway, keep working on it. I wish I could give you some better advice, but I know I struggle with all this stuff as well. I think I am starting to learn that I can't just flick a switch and make all the bad stuff go away, but that it can get better with time (I hope so at least, but I think it really can; the hard part for me is letting go of so much, which is a work in progress.)

Eric


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#208560 - 03/03/08 12:36 AM Re: accepting friendship [Re: ericc]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1996
Loc: durham, north england
thanks again eric. I deffinately understand the cyclic business, unfortunately I only post on this forum at times when I'm feeling really mysserable, and thankfully there are times when I'm not feeling like that.

The problem with arrogance is that there are times in the passed when I've deffinately been arrogant and interlectually snobbish with other people, and I really detest myself for doing it. I often feel that I'm walking a narrow path and a misstep will drop me into arrogance, which will then make me really and truly detest myself. If I realize that I am behaving in that way, I resolve to try and avoid being like that in the future, but this is another reason why I really can't begin formulating compliments about myself, sinse I know the sort of person it will turn me into, and it's a person I really don't like.

So I stay away from complimenting myself as much as possible, sinse it's the only way I can avoid feeling worse.


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#209033 - 03/05/08 08:41 PM Re: accepting friendship [Re: dark empathy]
chris6709 Offline
New Here

Registered: 08/25/07
Posts: 5
This is a concept I can relate to quite well. I too have often wondered why others 'put up with me'. The fear of becoming arrogant is also one that is quite familiar. In fact I was going through one of these fun moments just the other night.

One of the hardest things for me to acknowledge is that while arrogance in general is seen as a negative, we all need just a little bit of it to stay functional. I do not mean arrogance as in looking down on others, but more of a sense of, I suppose you could say tempered self-importance.

It is forcing yourself to see that there is a reason your friends want you there. That there is something you can offer them, otherwise they probably wouldn't be bothering with you. Obviously this is a concept that is much easier to understand on a rational level compared to the emotional.

On top of this is forgiving yourself for your transgressions. Think of when a friend did something arrogant. Unless it was a serious ongoing problem, did you even believe it worthy of dwelling on? While many people hold themselves to a higher standard, there is a limit, one that I too often forget. I have to ask myself "if someone else had done this, would I even be worrying about it?". Once again, this is where the dichotomy of rational and emotional understanding becomes an issue.

One last thing (I realize I am going on quite a bit, I need to learn when to just shut up), you mentioned how you feel when others come to you for help. How good it feels to know that someone can trust you and come to you. Remember, the other people feel the same way. They feel good when others are able to open up to them. This includes you opening up. I know there is the argument that you do not want to do this too often as you worry about alienating your friends, I use this one a lot myself. But it is mostly a false 'rationalization', it only works to keep you where you are emotionally.

I hope some of this has made sense, and I'm sorry about the overly long post.


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#209044 - 03/05/08 10:29 PM Re: accepting friendship [Re: chris6709]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1996
Loc: durham, north england
Hi chris. Please don't worry about long posts, your post seems quite to the point to me, especially compared with my usual babble.

While I've certainly come across a few people who are arrogant, none of my friends ever are, ---- and I have lot of friends (though only a few very close friends). I also would be quite happy with a cryticism, ---- from others or even from myself. it gives me something to think about and work on in the future, ---- it's praise and compliments I find difficult, just as I do accepting friendship.

What you say about interlectual vs immotional understanding is absolutely true, and I've felt it more keenly than ever lately.

I was talking about this feeling that I'm just a parasite while everyone else is being wonderfully kind to One of my best male friends, someone who is in many ways similar to me, though without the same history or the same lack of self-value.

He said that just like me, he believes everyone else is being uncommonly decent and nice to him, which he does not understand sinse he is simply being himself. but equally, he's certain that everyone else will think the same way he does, and perceive him as an uncommonly nice person, while just being themselves as well.

sinse he is certain people have this perception of him, he sees no point in worrying about compliments or accepting friendship from others, sinse it's simply part of the way they are and the way they perceive him, and from his perspective he's stil just naturally being himself, which is fine.

i can interlectually see how this might work in the abstract, but as soon as I try to apply it to myself it just doesn't fit, sinse I find it very hard to believe that others will perceive me as being as good a person as I perceive them to be, even if they tell me so, it's only because they are being so nice as to compliment mme, and on the few occasions they've managed to make me believe certainly that their not saying such things for my bennifit, it has hurt, ---- a lot!

at the bottom line I just feel like a great black hole sucking up other people's affection and decency. I know for a fact this is from my experiences, ---- both those as a teenager and before, but knowing this does I have no idea what I am to do about this feeling at all.

Oh heck! talk about long and rambling posts, sorry for going on for so long here.


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#209252 - 03/07/08 12:53 AM Re: accepting friendship [Re: dark empathy]
chris6709 Offline
New Here

Registered: 08/25/07
Posts: 5
You were not going on for a long time. Even if it were rambling (which it is not), it would still serve the purpose of getting the message across as well as getting the idea onto a more physical medium which has its own benefits.

I believe your friend is a good example of arrogance versus confidence. He is displaying, from what I can gather from your post, a kind of innate confidence in himself. He might not be fully aware of this, however most people with this kind of confidence are not. They see their actions as so normal that to even classify them as 'confident' seems odd. To an individual without this innate trait though, it seems more abstract.

Not being used to this innate confidence and fear of ones own wrong doing leads to an inaccurate correlation between this confidence and arrogance (but usually only in yourself). In others it is fine and natural (although still enviable), but in yourself it seems out of place, even dangerous.

I too have an issue with accepting compliments from others. It is not as strong a negative reaction as it used to be, but it is still there. Some of the things that have helped me combat this problem is forcibly reminding myself that if I was such a leech upon those around me, they would not be there. If I was as much of a worthless bastard as I believed myself to be, no one would bother being my friend.

I tried to 'rationalize' this contradiction through the concept of pity. I would tell myself that people only had me around because they pitied me. But this ignores a simple fact, people are not that nice. It might sound cynical, but I have found it to be quite accurate. While there will always be exceptions, for the most part, people will not inconvenience themselves for someone they pity.

Another thing that I have found to be helpful is asking myself, what do I want out of my friendships. Instead of asking 'what do others see in me' or 'what can I offer others'. This goes back to the confidence versus arrogance. While the former question, when self applied may seem dangerously arrogant, it has a legitimate use. If you know what you want and need, you offer yourself a chance to feel more fulfilled as well as be able to more readily identify similar needs in those around you. While their needs will not be identical to yours, there will be some overlap. If you can see it in yourself and find a way to fill that need, you can see and help others fill it as well, sometimes before they see the need themselves.

One last thing, a lot of people (including myself) latch onto what they consider a guilty pleasure that is shown to the world. This is something that may be seen as slightly out of the norm, but gives you happiness or makes you feel safe. This is a great jumping point as it gives you a small space to develop your self-confidence within that will permeate your life. As it grows, so will your confidence in yourself. Mine has been my slightly, shall we say, eccentric mode of dress. I started out small, a little something out of the ordinary here and there, letting myself grow confident in each thing. Eventually I have become someone who can wear anything, anywhere and only feel better about myself when others compliment me on it as I allowed myself to become confident in it before there was anything for others to even notice. Obviously there are other ways to go about this then style of dress, it is all about finding that little thing that you like but always shied away from showing. It may just be the thing that allows you to start breaking out from the fear of compliments and perceived arrogance (or it will leave you like me, seen as certifiably insane to most of the world).


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