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I'm doing OK I think. Mature student doing a degree in psychology and my grades are good, and my teachers and the students I work with seem to like me. And some people here seem to like me for some reason. That should make me feel better. It doesn't really because I still think so negatively about myself. We were looking at attachment theories a while back. Harlow's monkeys and that sort of thing. Without a loving upbringing the monkeys didn't know how to relate to their fellow monkeys and were just scared of them. I wonder if I'm too broken to have a relationship. I don't mean to over-dramatise my childhood. It was crap, but others have been through worse. Just somehow taught me to never trust anyone, because they'll only hurt you in the end. I like them and they like me. But if they really fucking knew me they'd see what? How pathetic and worried and scared I am? Not very manly but manly can fuck off. It does come back to thinking everyone hates me, because in some ways it's easier than thinking that people like me. Why would they? We were looking at childhood attachment a while back, and how important it is in forming a template for future relationships. My mother was rubbish. Taught me all the wrong things. Probably a narcissist. Nobody is ever going to love me and I'm incapable of love anyway. Bit dramatic but I am going to die alone.

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[Drums fingers on table]

Was this buy-one-get-one-free day at the rubbish tip? Because you hauled in a great big steaming pile there.

Look, you. MI isn't subtle. It treads around your head with its boots on and leaves tracks all over the carpet. It's not at all hard to detect when disordered thinking is at play because it waves itself around like a flag. You can't possibly miss it - if you look up from staring at the ground/your feet/the bottom of the Abyss.

Let us observe the flags.

4 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

I wonder if I'm too broken

Flag. People are not made of Waterford crystal. People are amazingly resilient and adaptable, and they heal from all manner of misfortune and adversity; indeed, were it not for this ability, no one would experience transcendent personal growth. In making this statement, the disordered mind is responding to a false self-assessment that assumes an inability to respond and adapt, or even cope, but that ability is inherent to the human condition. Therefore, such a though is obviously disordered. (One might also point out that, regardless of what one may think of Harlow and his theories, you are not a monkey, and cross-primate analogues can only be applied so far. That said, I distinctly remember a visit to a zoo once in which I observed a man watching a gorilla, and noted that they both picked their noses at the same time.)

4 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

How pathetic [...] I am?

Flag. Pathetic could be interpreted a couple of ways: It could mean the quality of arousing pity in others because they see you as vulnerable or compromised; or it could mean miserably inadequate. In either case, the disordered mind makes the error of assuming that what is going on in the heads of other people is the same thing that is going on in its own. You cannot know how other see you unless they signal it through action or direct speech, and as you explain, the signals you are receiving are not consistent with this assumption. An assessment of miserably inadequate fails on two grounds - first, the disordered mind assumes that it automatically knows what another mind considers miserably inadequate, and second, it assumes that the other mind is thinking precisely that. But it can actually know neither thing. Therefore assigning the label 'pathetic' to the self immediately fails the test.

4 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

Nobody is ever going to love me and I'm incapable of love anyway.

Flags! And the rubbish is starting to nif. The big ol' red flag here is the choice of absolutist terminology. "Nobody is ever" is a form of "never", and any time the disordered mind tosses off one of the absolutist terms like never, always, every, none, nobody, everyone, and so forth, not only are there flags, but trumpets sound nearby telling you that the statement is almost certainly wrong. Absolute statements require extremely high standards of proof, and one can generally count on there being an exception that disproves, and thus undermines, the statement. Nobody is ever going to love you? Fine, but what happens when you run into the person who falls in love with you tomorrow? That'll be egg on your face, won't it? What's that you say? Not going to happen? How much are you willing to wager? And what's this "I'm incapable of love" business? If you were incapable of love, the concern that another person might not ever love you would not occur to you. It is the need and desire to love that begets the need to be loved in return. The disordered mind turns this on its head and interprets the absence of returned love as an absence of desire to love; this sort of inverted thought process becomes a very evident flag if you're observant.

4 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

Bit dramatic but I am going to die alone

Flag. You are not (as far as you have indicated through your body of posts to date) a brilliant and gifted clairvoyant. Therefore, your statement may essentially be taken as something you have pulled out of your ass. You may be saying that, if all factors of your life continue as they are at the present moment and do not change, the statistical probability that the state of isolation you currently occupy is therefore the state in which you will ultimately expire is relatively high. But we live in a quantum universe in which change is a constant, whether we like it or not, and the chances of your status quo remaining quo are not likely. Moreover, if you actively take steps to change things in a positive way - which indeed you are doing by going to college, interacting with others - you make that likelihood even less. Therefore, any prognostication you might make on the basis of disordered gloom you suffer as a baseline is worth less as a predictor than a simple coin toss because you're actually tipping the odds against it.

Here's the thing about cognitive defense against MI - the key is to spot the flags. Once you can spot the flags, you can sequester disordered thoughts and set them aside for analysis. The important step is getting to the point that you're able to shunt the thoughts aside as they arrive, rather than let them process through as though they're actual thoughts. You see a thought like "I'm incapable of love", you've learned to recognize its flag, so you think, 'flag that,' and make an alternative space for it in your mind to shunt it off to. Don't process the thought at that point. Go back to it as though it were an object, and try to take it apart to understand why you thought it. Or don't - if you can let yourself shunt it off into oblivion, so much the better. That's the ultimate goal.

 

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9 hours ago, Fluent In Silence said:

Harlow's monkeys and that sort of thing.

Do I need to pick through your fur and pull out the twigs and leaves and eat those little bugs again? Only they’re better with salt, and there’s nothing in the cupboard but garlic powder. But I know you’ll feel better once your coat is all fluffy again, so I’ll take my protein where I can find it.* Everybody wins!
 


 

I found this fascinating. I need to get out more. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23039342/

 

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10 hours ago, Cerberus said:

Look, you. MI isn't subtle. It treads around your head with its boots on and leaves tracks all over the carpet. It's not at all hard to detect when disordered thinking is at play because it waves itself around like a flag. You can't possibly miss it - if you look up from staring at the ground/your feet/the bottom of the Abyss.

I get that. I've slowly been proving myself wrong in my negative bullshit over the past few years, but it's always been a struggle. That was a load of rubbish that I wrote, but I do unfortunately still believe it a lot of the time. "Everyone hates me" like a parrot on my shoulder saying the same shit over and over again. No they don't, and I don't know how much evidence I need to disprove that. Who hates me? Well probably some of the people I've replied to on YouTube but I don't give a fuck about their opinions. It's stupid really, though I shouldn't use that word because just kicking myself again. Where's the evidence that people hate me? I'm working on a group project for my course and people respect my opinion and went with my idea for a research proposal, which we can't actually do because of the lockdown but they got on board with it and our tutor said it was an interesting idea. It's about providing experimental evidence of the chivalry hypothesis. Anyway, I posted my proposal and made a joke in it, which someone said was hilarious and that she showed it to her family because she found it that funny. And this all sounds quite narcissistic talking about how great I am. It doesn't sink in though. The fucking parrot starts up again - you're worthless and everyone hates you. It can be easier and safer to think like that. Never try, because trying brings the risk of failure. Just assume that you're going to fail and it's all going to go wrong. But that's shit. It would be nice to wake up next to someone but I worry that there may be too many people in the relationship - me, her and that fucking parrot.

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56 minutes ago, Fluent In Silence said:

"Everyone hates me" like a parrot on my shoulder saying the same shit over and over again.

Why should you believe what a parrot says? Even the parrot doesn’t believe what it’s saying. In fact, a parrot doesn’t even know what it’s saying.

What the parrot says: Polly wants a cracker, whee-hoo

What the parrot thinks: pollowannacrakkawheehoo (followed by: Why do they keep feeding me these goddamned crackers?)

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