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#433548 - 05/04/13 07:02 PM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3322
Loc: somewhere in Africa
Luke -

i see a huge difference in what you write nowadays compared to when i first started reading your posts here. i see that as change , progress and growth. we are often the last to recognize it in ourselves. try not to be frustrated and discouraged. i think you are doing much better!

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#433553 - 05/04/13 07:51 PM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1938
Loc: durham, north england
Rocco, I can't say I've cried often even through recovery, but reading your reply, even in the emotionless voice of my synth absolutely hit me.

Thank you!

On the disability issue, I'm certainly not! one of those people who sits around and says "I'm an X so nobody can understand me" indeed that attitude and similar cleaquism and living of highly subscribed lives is why I don't particularly have anything to do with other visually impared people or organizations, since with the majority, (though by no means all), even those who are my age, I find I have little to nothing in common and that I become frustrated at their over all outlook on things.

One thing I've noticed about ms is that whatever a person's abuse experience there is a shared level of imaginative empathy, which is as much a reason why ms seems to work as the actual shared experience, if not more.

i really can't say how my resolution affects my interactions with others, indeed I'm not even sure if it does since from my perspective nothing has changed in the way others react to me, indeed I! managed to fall in love again in november, this is precisely why I tend to think these "natural processes" people talk about with couples just don't work for me. I am quite aware people who are in! relationships have problems (one look at half the topics on this forum), however it still seems they have the possibility at least for something else, where as I pretty much don't.

What bothers me far more is that as an adult, people always seem to react to me the same way. Once I've got them to recognize I'm actually a human being and we've had the "blind" conversation, people start telling me things, ---- especially girls. The amount of times people have told me things about themselves they wouldn't share with others! I get the complements etc, but that's as far as it goes.

One thing I've realized is that I only ever interact with people when there is some external reason, a production to be done, a lecture to be attended, my weekly tabletop roleplay game or the like, during! those commitments, even immediately afterwards people are fine, but then they leave and that's pretty much that, I don't see people again. I! can contact them, but that always feels forward, and even if I just phone or E-mail for a chat, that's as far as it goes, even from people who tell me the most intimate details of their lives!

All of my close friends are people I met in my first year of uni, and that was pretty much the only time I remember people visiting me! not the other way around, indeed I remember one evening just before christmas when quite by chance six people, including one Russian, one Pole and one American all! wound up visiting me in my room at the same time, that was unbelievable, and at that point that's how I thought life was going to be, ---- how wrong I was.

I don't think it is that people have used me in the past, indeed if anything my biggest problem is being disregarded! rather, it always seems people treat me like some sort of outside expert on their lives, a doctor or a therapist, someone who is great to talk to about your problems when you have an apointment with them, but not someone you want to spend time with after hours.

indeed, the only people I tend to speak to regularly (since most of my close friends who I met at uni now lives miles round the country), are my brother and one friend, and while I get on with my brother and we spend time together, there is still something missing, the same goes for my dad.

It also doesn't help that I've recently grown rather distant from my mum who I did! have a very close friendship with, due to some issues she's having currently which have sort of escalated, mostly due to her tendency to throw too much into trying to help people, ---- or rather to change people who don't want to change which universally ends badly.

the problem is none of these are things I know! how to change, especially as regards everything connected to my genophobia. I am not being false in my interactions with others, neither am I cutting people off, indeed one girl during the production commented on how open and approachable I was. Since I don't know how it's supposed to work, or even how I myself was so different back in my first yer as opposed to nwo since that's the closest I've been to what I'm looking for, I can't particualrly practice or try anything else, ---- just like I feel stuck with genophobia since I've got too good at avoidance, and if I let myself actually try to experience the idea of s/x or the actuality of physical touch, I shatter.

I'm tempted to call myself a coward for this, but I have a suspicion that is my worthlessness again not an objective judgement.

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#433564 - 05/04/13 10:27 PM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
genedebs Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 285
Loc: MO
Dear Dark

You know your feeling of worthlessness is A LIE. You also feel that sense. The idea is further promoted by your inability to accept sexual or sensual contact with anyone. The more you "get good at avoidance," the more isolated you become. You also have a strong capacity to use this isolation as a demonstration of negative judgement by others that your sense of worthlessness is justified.

I too feel worthless. I have a long history of performing my work and responsibilities well. I have four grown children and five grandchildren and am on speaking terms with all of them. Yet this gives me little sense of worth and is unlikely to change.

However, I know that the basis of my belief in my worthlessness is untrue. I know I have worked diligently to acknowledge my vulnerability, and to experience that vulnerability. I have accepted that I am human, and all humans are vulnerable. For me this required letting go of a variety of psychotic delusions.

As has been presented in many of the posts, your sense of relationships which permit me to experience some safety, is the process which permits my acceptance of the good will toward me, is how I begin to feel I can survive my vulnerability. The acceptance that I can survive is necessary if I am going to believe in my value. (If I can't even survive, I probably do not have sufficient value to survive.)

I think a similar process is going on with you. Since you are concentrating on the isolation you fail to see the progress just acknowledging your vulnerability demonstrates. No to mention the steps you take to reach out and extend that vulnerability to other people. Yes, you can always measure your success in the response to your reaching out. But you have no power to control their reaction. Also, you sound as though they fail to follow up with you. But, have you invited them? Have you examined how much your arrogance is a turn off. I was 50 years old before I even understood my arrogance enough to acknowledge it was one of my strongest defenses to chase people away.

We all have different stories, and we all ARE JUST THE SAME/

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#433600 - 05/05/13 06:19 AM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1938
Loc: durham, north england
Hi genedebs


You may have a point with vulnerability, yet it almost seems the other way with me. I rarely if ever acknolidge any of my achievements at all to anyone, indeed accusing myself of "arrogance" is my usual defense, which is why the above message where I admited facts about myself was so hard to write and so uncharacteristic. If for example someone asked me what I was doing at university I'd quite hesitantly reply I was a post graduate, and only if someone specifically asked would I say I was doing a phd. I don't hide those sorts of facts, but admitting them to others makes me guilty and feel! as if I'm being exceptionally arrogant.

You are correct on vulnerability, though that's something it's hard to admit, since yes, i do have a fear of appearing vulnerable, or incompitant, at moments when I'm not working hard enough with my people skills I've often reacted badly to people's thoughtless attempts to "help" or people's assumptions, though at the same time I do know this is a failing in myself and tend to feel guilty when it happens.

As regards contacting and pursuing others, welll that's something I have! been doing. I can think of half a dozen people I have met thiss year who I could phone today and get the "oh hi! great to speak to you" response where upon we'd have an in depth conversation "---- have I already been on the phone half an hour?" and that would be it again, only next time I would be even less likely to contact someone again since I'd then feel as though I was being clingy.

Pretty much the same thing happens if I go out socially with people, this is indeed why I say I've been "out" with girls innumerable times, but never once been on a date, though even with male friends it tends to be the same, a once only thing, --- "oh yeah, it was fun" and that's it.

I'm not sure if it is a question of survival at least for me, rather it seems to be one of independence and compitancy, yet at the same time there is a perfectly good reason for me to maintain those priorities, since the trap of falling into a totally subscribed, prohibited life revolving just around what is "expected" of a blind person is quite a real possibility.

To give one example, when applying to university one so called disabilities adviser said to me "why don't you do computer science, everything is prepared that's why blind people usually do" I replied somewhat asserbically that I wasn't "blind people" I was me and I was dam well studdying philosophy! Needless to say, that wasn't eh university I ended up going to.

The problem howeer is that there practically isn't a lot I can do about this. Ignoring, or at least being aware of my sense of worthlessness is the best compromise I've come to, focusing on what I experience not what I am, and that took several years of coming to ms to achieve, and I have no idea how to remove the actual feeling itself at all.

I've tried various techniques such as saying positive things to myself, but they just don't fit, or I feel that I am being arrogant again.

Genophobia I have tackled more fully, trying various desensatisation exercises, but I just don't seem to be able to change that on my own, it's hard wired into the way I respond, which is again frustrating since I do sincerely think it is osmehing i could! change with another person, since it is always easier to do things for someone else than for myself, and also because I have actually seen! quite literally the sort of experience of connection which I need betwene people, and that is so catagorically difference from all my previous negative experience of s/x or even physical touch that it might as well be something completely different.

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#433605 - 05/05/13 08:56 AM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
Casmir213 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 845
Loc: Northeast, USA
Good Day Luke,

It's good that we can feel emotions between each other through these computers. You've impacted me much the same way I have you.

I have to agree with genedebs when he talks about survival as being a basis for value. You seem to have disagreed with him on that issue. Independence and competence in living in society is the definition of survival in modern societies, so I don't understand why you would disagree. Although, none of us are completely independent in society, because we all rely on each other in numerous ways for survival (carpenters to build our homes and apartments, maint people to provide us our utilities, supermarkets to bring us food, farmers to grow our food, police to protect us, educators to educate us, etc.). In this sense we are all in the same boat. To walk with a seeing eye dog if you are blind is no different than a non-blind person relying on a supermarket to provide them with food. The two people are equally as dependent upon either someone, some living creature, or something for their survival, and neither has the right to look down upon the other for what it is they are relying upon for their survival.

Your resolution must in some way effect your interactions with others. People can sense things that we may be unaware of them sensing, but they do pick these things up. The way you perceive everyday life must in some way be effected by your resolution. You cannot separate your resolution into a neat comparment of your mind and not have it impact your behavior and interactions with others. That's not the way people are and that's not the way life works. You are no different from anyone else and these rules apply to you also.

I also have to disagree with you when you say that people aren't using you. If the girls and others who are coming to you with their problems were paying you some money, then they would not be using you. But you are not getting anything of equal value in return for them troubling you with their problems, unless you are getting rewarded by being someone in their lives who is privy to information that others in their lives aren't. But after awhile I would imagine that you'd become tired or so burdened by other people's problems that you wouldn't be able to handle that role anymore. Eventually, this will happen you know. You are relatively young now, but imagine another ten years of being everyones therapist without getting anything in return or without these interactions blossoming into something that can fulfill your need for intimacy or connection. This is a recipe for depression if I ever came across one. I don't say this to try to scare you. I'm saying it to say that you don't have to play the therapist role in society. You can, and should, expect to be treated equally and to not expect your needs to be disregarded. Again, we are back to worthlessness though. If we are feeling or believing that we are worthless, then we won't be upset for not being treated equally. We will be satisfied, and perhaps grateful, for what crumbs can be thrown our way. Does this not ring true when you think about it. It does for me. I'm tired of this though. I'm sure you are too. You sound to me like you are getting tired of things, but also that you will persist regardless. Is that the way you want to go through life? Persisting in a circle where you know exactly where you will end up each time you start out. I don't think you do. That's why you are here at MS talking about these issues. And that's why I'm trying to help.

With regard to genophobia, again this is something about you which I can relate to. We've talked about this in the past you'll recall. I have an idea of how difficult it is to be phobic of the word sex coming up in coversation and the possibility of intimate touching. You do realize that you are not alone on this issue either? It doesn't make it go away, but perhaps you can be more accepting of yourself if you are aware of others having the same difficulty. This is what I was talking about earlier when I was saying acceptance by others begets self-acceptance, which in turn helps us to change. It's just a matter of letting others in. You are not so different from others as you may think Luke. Perhaps your "arrogance" makes you think that you are though. I hope you can see that you really aren't different. It may be difficult to accept such a common place in life, but it also is what is needed for healing.

Take care Luke,

Rocco
_________________________
I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.

WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009

My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.

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#433609 - 05/05/13 12:08 PM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1938
Loc: durham, north england
Hi Rocco.

A lot of hard stuff to think about Rocco.

It is true that it is difficult for me to feel acceptance or in the same sense, want to admit that I am "like someone else"

I can quite freley admit that I am not "better than anyone else" (quite the opposite), but "like" is harder it's true. One of the intrinsic problems however is that quite simply nobody does treat me "like" anyone else!

Either I am simply a walking example of species blindus maximus and people's interactions are characterized by avoidance, ---- something I have to work hard with all the emotional sense, conversational skills, openness and humour I can command to avoid, or I am some how exceptional! My abuse, and experiences before it indeed showed me what it is like to be exceptionally hated, experiences since then show me what it is like to be other sorts of exception, but there is! always some sort of distance of one kind or another, which i suppose is exactly why people treat me like a doctor, ---- after all they're supposed to be independent.

Your also worryingly accurate on taking on others problems, indeed the scary thing is that my mum has had the same thing happen to her, and that's one of the things that is now causing her problems, (my mum also has self esteme problems thanks to pretty extreme emotional abuse as a child at boarding school).

the problem is I don't know! how to change any of these things. I do genuinely feel as if I am somehow honouredwhen people tell me their various issues, ---- and I can't say "just piss off!" neither do I know how to change others perceptions about me. Yes, I can get people on my side, get people to think well of me, but actually getting people close I don't know, since I don't know what I'm doing to push people away, which as I've said before is the basic route of my relationship issue.

How can, when people already describe me as open and approachable, I be more open? how do I alter this idea of distance? it's something that has troubled me ever since I finished my first year at uni, ---- why did things change! I believed that during the recent productions I'd discovered whatever it was and things were changing again, which explains why I was able to give someone a hug or feel accepted, but obviously I was wrong!

It always feels like this, if I am in a group with others, there is the group, ---- then there is me! I do confess some of this is willfull and that I do have a desire to remain independent, but equally some is not since even on occasions I may want! to identify myself with those around me I can't. At Mike Loo's recovery meeting in 2010, at the end he congratulated everyone. I'd shared a lot during that afternoon, said things I never expected to say, I even met some people from this board. Yet still, a voice inside me said that Mike Loo was talking to everyone except me!

Yet, at the same time, so often I've had bad experiences groups of people who identify themselves. I've been alone in more crowds than I can count, and of course there was what happened as a teenager where i really! learnt what not being a member of the group meant.

As to independence or survival, that might be a terminology mistake. "survival" to me is simply persistance, continuance without change or even without what was good. Even during the worst times of recovery, the times I've felt the most depression, the most clear sense of worthlessness, I've "survived" simply because I keep going, to me at least survival is a completely personal context. we talk about people "surviving marooned on a desert island" or "surviving a shark attack" it doesn't say what sort of stat ethey're in, it just says they're still hear.

Independence and compitance for me is something different. I'm quite aware that we do live in a society where people interact with each other, and much as I would like! to live on a desert island that would not be possible, indeed I wrote a major section on this during my phd when talking about assistance and disability.

To take one example, I have an audio labelling machine, however obviously I need to know what I'm sticking the lables onto first. My friend, who I also pay to read me articles connected with my thesis offered to do this for free, but I insisted upon paying, since if she did it for nothing, I would never be able to ask her again.

If I simply demand! from others and give nothing (as unfortunately many blind people do), what does that make me? This isn't in the right wing "everybody has to work" sense, ---- heck I accept bennifits from the government albeit I do charity work and what I can for others, it's simply that accepting such things hurt, plus of course there are many people who treat me simply as! something to perform their moral duty upon. I've had people attempt to manhandle me across the street, treat me as though I have the intelligence of a four year old, grab my hand and put an object in etc. This is not me! such people are interacting with, it's not a gesture of kindness or decency, it is simply a standard, expected behaviour. "good citizens don't run across the road", "good citizens help the poor blind man"

It is wrong to think everyone behaves like this but certainly far too many people do for me to want to become that object of duty on a regular basis.

Ultimately however with genophobia or any of these things part of the problem, the frustration you've sensed roco is that I do! feel stuck, since I don't know how! to deal with this, indeed the best method I've found is simply to ignore it and go and do something else, namely music.

The problem however is that that can only go so far.

Btw, rocco, One thing I realize, quite ironically in discussing independence is how much I'm investing in yourself and members of this community, though of course being online helps.

I can only say thank you for that and for being there while I work all this out, and for saying the things that I might not want to hear as well.

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#433765 - 05/06/13 01:39 PM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
Casmir213 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/14/09
Posts: 845
Loc: Northeast, USA
Luke,

I think you are investing in me and others at MS because you are trying to seriously work on your issues, and not ignore them, which we all know if you ignore something it doesn't go away. MS exists so that we can be here for each other. As I mentioned before, our issues and experience of life seem to be very similar. I truly meant that and mean that now. If anyone can believe this it is you...I've avoided people and life in general most of my life simply from the fear of the topic of sex coming up. It is almost tragic when I think about it. So much of my life unlived because of this one fear. And what else can be the root of this issue but beliefs about my own worthlessness and extremely low self-esteem. Why else would I allow a fear of such insignificance to rule my life so thoroughly and do so much damage to my life. And fears/phobias of touch I can also relate to. Many times I've jumped as if there was a poisonous spider crawling on me simply from a light glance from someone unknowingly brushing there hand against my knee. I say these things not to burden you with my problems, but to show you that I really do have personal experience with the issues you have been discussing here at MS for quite some time. These things (phobias, worthlessness, low self-esteem), as I'm sure you are aware, don't just go away with time. They need to be worked on in some way.

Everything I'm saying about myself here is the truth. I'm not just saying these things in an effort to make you feel better. If you can get something in the form of motivation from my being older than you and having had very similar experiences, then that would be a good thing though. If one MS survivor notices another survivor struggling with similar issues, then it is our duty to both ourselves and that survivor to raise our hands and say "Yes, me too!". This is how I feel about you and your experiences. This is how we help each other heal. This is how we come to accept ourselves. This is how we can find a way out of our struggles. This is how we work on our feelings and beliefs of worthless and low self-esteem. Working on the root causes of a problem will help us in most areas of our lives. So obviously this should be taken seriously.

There's nothing you or I can do about how our respective societies views and treats people with physical disabilities. To be brutally honest, societies have their expectations and prejudices of people with disabilities which will have an impact upon everyone's behavior and how we act and interact with each other. If one is physically disabled, these expectations could influence how one thinks about oneself or how one views oneself too, especially if there are no counteracting influences in the form of subcultures or groups we belong to that don't have these prejudices and that have different and counteracting expectations of us. So, I understand what you are saying when you talk about how you are not treated like others and feel like an exception to the rule in life. Your title is now doctor too, so there are expectations that come with this title that may reinforce the distance you already feel from others. Is your PhD in philosophy, which you've earned, an effort to counteract the negative influence your society may have had on you? Your body is disabled in some way, but your mind is far above average obviously. I have an issue with having to get a master's degree to prove I am worthy. Why am I so compelled to get this degree? If I have a sense of my own worthiness or adequate self-esteem, I'm sure I wouldn't be compelled to get this degree, which I keep putting off anyway. My brother, who is gay, has a law degree. I'm sure his second class status as a gay person in my society has influenced his choices in life with regard to becoming educated and studying law.

Being on-line does help with our interactions. Also, being a part of a group in which our expectations are that we are here to help each other heal helps too. We are trying to do what we are expected to do here by discussing and sharing these issues and our personal experiences. These expectations have influenced our behavior in our lives in a good way.

One thing that has always puzzled me about you Luke is how you write off the visually impaired community almost completely when you talk about it. I know you have your reasons, which in a good way you've used to motivate you to perhaps achieve things that you wouldn't have if you had been insulated by that community. You deserve much credit for that from where I stand. The thing that puzzles me is that it seems to me that you would have a good chance of finding someone in that community who understands your experience the way no person without a visual impairment ever can, which may be a good stepping stone to getting your needs met. But you almost shun that community to the extent that you cut off all possibility of a relationship with someone within that community. The question you asked about pushing others away? Well, can you see how you could be doing that by neglecting to involve yourself more with that community? Please don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that "you should stay with your own kind". Not at all. I admire your courageousness to try your best to fit in with normals of any kind. You've done far more than I have in that regard. But don't feel that non-visually impaired people are all that special either. Holding up the non-visually impaired community (if you can call it a community) as a standard of measurement is to forever keep yourself in a one down position. You may feel comfortable with this, but it won't get you what you want, need, and deserve to have in the long run. You have obviously outdone most non-visually impaired people by getting your PhD, so what's the point in continuing with that course. Accomplishment on top of accomplishment won't add up to the value and self-esteem that you are looking for. But I'm starting to repeat myself here and to go on and on. My apologies if I've overdone things.

I'm sorry about your mum and her struggles with depression. Not having her around like she used to be could be a part of the reason why you are now trying to move forward. I know that kind of motivation, as my mother is in her mid-80's and won't be around forever. I hope that we have both been helped in some way by our presence in each others lives. I appreciate your presence in mine.

Rocco
_________________________
I see recovery as a lifelong journey rather than a final destination, a journey, though, which can have many successes along the way.

WoR Alumnus - Hope Springs, OH, October 2009

My avatar is the farmhouse at the Hope Spring, OH WoR. It's a nice place.

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#433773 - 05/06/13 02:53 PM Re: There's no point denying anymore, I'm still hear! [Re: dark empathy]
dark empathy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 1938
Loc: durham, north england
Well rocco, again much to think about.

I certainly do! appreciate the similarity of experience and perspectives on that experience, which as you said is why i'm hear, heck I try to do similar things myself if another person on the board has an experience I think I might be able to offer some advice or at least empathy about.

As regards the "visually impared community" well it is true that I do bare something of a prejudice, however it is equally not the case that I avoid visually impared people entirely, indeed I have a voluntary job working for the game accessibility special interest group, which involves writing about, testing, and cataloguing games accessible to visually impared people, and one thing which being around those sorts of people has taught me is that there are indeed compitant people with visual imparements, I also occasionally meet such people at guide dog events.

Two things to bare in mind about "the visually impared community" however, are A, %75 are over 60, B, even of that remaining %25, a good percentage have grown up with extremely subscribed lives, often not interacting with anyone outside their own community, not trying anything they aren't certain of first, expecting others to help them and maintaining a strong us/them mentality.

This is far more common in the Uk than the states, but it does mean that a good percentage of functions, societies and gatherings of vi people involve lots of people I have little to nothing actually in common with, often who are literally antagonistic towards me, ---- one person for instance once claimed that I'd lied on my bblind registration since I was using my remaining vision, while another said "well it's okay if you've got the money to pay for people to help you do these things" when refering to the fact that I lived on my own.

That is why I try to limit my interactions to the vi community to only those segments where I will meet people who are intrinsically less insula, and actually likely! to find someone will have a similar experience to mine.

This is indeed something else I raised in my phd, that just because you might share a disfunctional bodily organ with someone doesn't necessarily mean you have any common experience, and while I'm quite willing to admit that there are with whome I do, that is only a small percentage of the hole group.

this is why while I have been to the local society for the blind, I ended up feeling just as alone and out of place.


Quite ironically however, in terms of intimate relationships, any blind ladies I've ever been attracted have also already been married, simply because all the sterriotypes of dating go in their favour, for instance even if they are totally blind and unable to make eye contact, men will approach them, (there are universallly far more unattached visually impared men than women).

this is generally why the blind people I do considder friends are those I have met through my work on the audiogames.net website.

As regards achievement, I'd also totally agree with you that it's not necessary to have any achievement to feel a level of self esteme, however for me at least none of the degrees I've achieved has made me feel any different about myself at all.

Initially, I pursued education simply for pleasure of learning and love of what I was doing, plus the hope of meeting like minded people. As time has continued, I've realized, particularly with my phd, that actually I am doing it because! it is an important thesis to write. the deffinition of disability I've created is actually one I hope will help, and I say things that ought! to be said.

There was a time that I sincerely wanted to pursue a career as an academic, and for that the title was necessary, but now I realize that what I am doing needs! to be done, and that even if I didn't get the title I'd still need to continue with what I write.

Performance on stage is the one thing that does! change how I feel about myself. Neal Jenkins, a very great tenor once said that someone who sang just to be admired was totally selfish (he said that wasn't a singer, that was karioki artist), where as for him, and he recommended for anyone serious about music, that he sings because he loves! the music he is singing, and he wants to give that love of music, that appreciation, that good experience to the audience. It's certainly true, he's one of the most enthusiastic and yet intense men I have ever met, and I feel honoured to say that he's ersonally tutered me on several occasions.

What he said about love of music really! hit me, since when i sing I am giving something I love to a lot of people, showing things about myself that are positive, yet I don't feel aragant or guilty since I am doing it not for myself, or even for the audience, but for the beautiy, emotion and joy in what I'ms singing, I'm singing for the love of the song, acting for the love of the story, and it's that love, that appreciation that I am trying to give to others.

That is perhaps the best explanation of why I have pursured singing so doggedly, and why i feel once I've got my phd formally I want to go to music school.

I don't want to be the world's greatest tenor, or perofrm at the Royal Albert hall, I just want the chance to sing!

This also explains why I have been so angry and upset by all the people who've told me varients of "bugger off we can't have a visually impared person on stage" as well, because! it is a threat to what I love, indeed this is why I am convinced that if I could sing more regularly and seriously than I do now I could avoid all those feelings of isolation and lack of intimacy that trouble me when I'm lone.

no, it is not the same, not in any sense the same, but it is still a method of communicating my love of what I am doing to others.

Ultimately I suppose part of the problem in terms of relating to others is to do with my emotional sense. when I try (and I don't always have the energy or openness to try), I can very easily pick up what another person is feeling, ---- one thing which I'm sure makes me easy to talk to and is the reason people so often tell me their problems.

However one thing I can't! pickup is how people feel about me.

I can tell when a person is happy, sad, stressed, even sometimes what a person feels about another, but I can't! relate any of this to myself. I empathize, I respond to people emotinally, I make people comfortable, but none of this helps me determine what a person feels about me!

If someone is interested in what I am saying, ---- well it is the conversation! they are interested in. If someone is happy, they are happy with no reference to me. If I manage to make a person feel better, they feel better with no reference to myself, responses towards me are just not things I pickup at all, ---- heck when I'm performing on stage I couldn't even tell you if the audience applaud or not, or how much applause there was.

Somethig in myself makes it very difficult to understand another person might actually feel something about me specifically.

It's sort of ironic, given my emotional sense and all the skills I've developed really, but thinking aabout my self isteme it does seem likely, heck if I! ask someone say to go and get a drink and they accept that is fine, but if they! asked me I'd feel absolutely honoured.

This is perhaps again why i feel so much resentment over female sterriotypes, since in social interactions, even those of friendship it often seems that women get just this attention, where men have to push others, which is something that I just don't feel happy with.

This probably also explains why a lot of my close friends tend to be female.

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