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How to learn to want things

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I feel like my identity is hidden from me. It's hard for me to have an opinion about anything, no matter how small. Those thoughts just aren't there. Everything seems equally okay. I'm not ambivalent, I'm empty. I can't grasp what it would be like to care.


I don't watch the news. I don't go on Facebook. Nothing like that. I feel guilty and hounded if I do, because there are all these people I know, all the news, that I can't face because it makes me confused and overwhelmed.


I'm afraid that if I start digging into this in therapy, I'll drown in all the things I've pushed away.


This is probably better discussed with a therapist. But has anyone else made any progress with anything similar? If so, can I ask where you chose to start?


I feel alone a lot. I think this is partly why.


I'm afraid this won't even make sense to anyone here.

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This makes sense to me.

I started with Maslow's hierarchy of needs. Which turned out to be a good place to start, because apparently it's true that when you're underhoused and live in a precarious housing situation, that you won't get anything else done.


So first, I found a place to live and way to pay for it (which meant having a job). This meant that I ate a lot of hot dogs for a while, until I figured out how to make it to a grocery store. So I started there.


Once I had those things then people in my community started introducing me to their friends. So I had to learn how to be sociable. I did that by volunteering. So now I had a place to live, food to eat, and I guess a hobby (if volunteering can be called a hobby). So when it came to Facebook and the news, I could filter it through 'how does this affect my hobby?' and if it didn't matter I didn't have to pay attention to it.


Then I decided that I really needed therapy because I couldn't get past there. I'd plateaued on self-help by that point. But that's how I filtered it, generally speaking. Needs, and then wants. I find the DBT skill "needs vs wants" to be helpful, if backwards. I understand that for the people it's designed to be serving, there is too much need and not enough want (I think?). I found the opposite to be true for me. I had no needs, and everything was a want. I needed to relearn that it's okay to have needs, and what might those be, anyway?

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We were taught

at a very young age

to take on only

His opinions 

about everything





when We began 

to grow a bit


and have Our Own opinions

there was 

a lot of guilt

and fear

to wade through

(still is)


i'm not sure

how to advise you, DG


i did want you 

to not feel 

so quite alone


and rosie's advice

is always


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Thanks for the advice and the support. 


Psych wise, I think I'm stuck on the "safety" rung of Maslow's hierarchy. I have safe circumstances. My living arrangements are safe. I have an income (SSDI, but still). But I don't feel safe. There's something inside my makeup that's blocking that. I don't trust my family not to desert (or hurt) me. It's hard for me to accept favors or goodwill from anyone at face value. Working on trust needs to be a higher priority item in my treatment.


I get what you mean about moving through the hierarchy, though. That sums up what I have going on well.


Yarn, I think, like you, my experience is tied into the experiences I had when I was young. I learned not to have an opinion because my dad was critical of everything. It all had to be explained. I grew up feeling like I had to justify everything. The rest of my siblings learned to be the same way. I'm not sure why, but I didn't pick up the knack for being critical. I just started being relativistic instead. Relativism and depersonalization combined makes a pretty good reason why it's hard to have an opinion now, I suppose


Thanks for replying. :)

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It's hard to have wants (and therefor needs) if those are very unsafe things. It's ridiculous to expect someone to desire putting themselves into a situation that feels unsafe, or where they feel that they'd be exploited. So I think that you're absolutely correct when you say that you need to be able to internalize a sense of safety in order to know where to go from here. Stability and safety are not the same thing. It seems to me that your living arrangement is stable, which is really good! But internalizing that stability into safety, yes, that could be a good priority. Maybe you can try asking about that at your next session.

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