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Spiny

pathetic baby ego wants my potential enjoyment of any other human to perish

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I hope this is the right place to put this, sorry if not, feel free to move...

I've been lurking here for awhile. This is my first post.

Basically, and this is super embarrassing, but... I just have the worst inverted ego in the world. It's like inverted narcissism or something. Like I fancy myself an artist, right. And the person I live with, who does not have my self-hating / disordered / egomaniacal messed-up-ness, whatever this is, looks up cool art since we're quarantized and shows it to me. And literally all I can think is, I hate myself for not being X-person-on-youtube or whatever site, I hate that person for existing, I should erase myself from existence, etc. The amount of self-hate and envy is so intense it feels physically debilitating. It feels like I am going to collapse on the floor and have a tantrum. The insecurity makes me want to cry. It is only with supreme effort that I can try to appreciate whatever-it-is I'm being shown, smile and be like "that's so cool!" And the thing is, my housemate has impeccable taste, so it always is. Cool. Way cooler than anything I am doing or could ever do. You can probably start to see the mental spiral this goes down.

After I can get away, then I'm treated to all the self-hatred of a big load of Why Oh Why Am I Like This.com . It feels like depression and I think about death. (Over, say, watching a music video, mind you.) I'm an alcoholic, so my mind does a bunch of flips about the "alcoholic ego" which I relate to as described in texts like the AA Big Book, but the part of me that knows about PDs and trauma feels like it's more than what those books describe - but maybe that's my ego! Aaaugh! One thing's for sure, doing inventories in programs like AA about how much it sucks that I'm like this never seems to help or make anything better. The best it does is make me able to fake being a pleasant human sometimes, and I honestly wonder how much I'm passing/failing at the acting job.

The really awful part is, friends of mine actually do think my art is worth something apparently, not that I make too much of it, and so they are always sending me stuff - like, look at this cool thing, maybe I'd be influenced by it or it could help, or whatever. It's so nice of them. A lot of people don't have friends like that. I should be so grateful. And, I really, really, wish that thinking what I was receiving is cool, and being filled with admiration, or basic gratitude, were my reactions. Instead I just hate that it feels like everyone in the world other than me is worthwhile, producing cool stuff, and has a purpose. I can barely appreciate art or listening to music, my level of envy is so bad. It sucks, and I'm aware that it sucks, and I feel like I suck, and I can't do a friggin thing to change it seems.

The only thing I can think to do is ask:

Has anyone else ever felt like this? Been through this? By some miracle of effort gotten over this and care to share how? Gotten help for this in therapy and if so what did the T do if you'd care to share?

Thanks for existing and being here.

I have like half an hour before I can do to sleep I hope, gonna just try to act like what I imagine a decent person would act like until I can get away from everyone other human in my house.

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I am an artist. It took a long time for me to stop comparing myself to other artists. I used to feel so inferior and useless. Some part of me just had to accept that there are always going to be amazing artists who are unreachably better than I am and that’s okay. I can even look at amazing art now and not feel depressed by it. It’s not an attitude that came easily though and I still think my art is pretty mediocre most of the time. I don’t think that will ever change.

I think it’s natural to have an inferiority complex when you are an artist. 

Also, welcome! 

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Thanks for the welcome and for writing back! Yeah I totally feel inferior and useless. I think it would be a lot better for me if I could accept there are heights I won't reach and just have fun. It's very hard in my hyper-capitalist productivity-as-worth culture.

Also yeah I think you are right, a lot of artists and writers seem to have had inferiority complexes, that is helpful to think of.

One thing I am having trouble accepting is that I always wanted to be a musician, but it is turning out that I am a much better writer than I am a musician. This is hard to accept, as the person I love wants to have a band together, and I feel like I am just holding them back.

Part of why I posted this in PDs is because my difficulty has a lot to do with how intensely sensitive I am and how painful everything in life is for me as a result. It is exhausting. Part of this for me is hyper-empathy, which I guess some people think makes you more compassionate, but for me it seems to have the effect of making me less compassionate because it hurts so much to feel everyone's feelings or what I project their feelings to be or both all the time.

Anyway I really appreciate you writing back and again thank you, I have lurked for a long time and now it's time to post and try to know people, so I guess that's progress in a way.

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hi spiny, welcome to the boards!

i'm a person who does art and diagnosed with obsessive compulsive personality disorder. i have a terribly hard relationship with my art in that i constantly feel that i am not good enough to bother making art, like i'm too stupid to make the art that i think i should be making. at the same time i feel that i'm worthless because i don't make enough art, and how can i say i like drawing when i haven't drawn anything in a week? it's a weird and exhausting push-pull of "i must do art or i am worthless" and "i cannot do art because i am worthless." whenever i make something that i think is good, i feel that nothing else is worth making unless it is better than the thing i've just made.

it comes up when i look at the art others have created. their accomplishment makes me feel my perceived lack of accomplishment acutely. i see the creativity of others and wonder what i have to do to get myself to make something like that. i feel as though i am worthless because i didn't make that cool thing that someone else made. it's an ugly mindset to be in. it helps me to remember that art is often very personal -- the skills and techniques of each artist is individual. i can't make someone else's art, and nobody expects me to. i have to make my art. and my art has value because it is mine. 

i'm in therapy right now doing EMDR to try and lessen the intensity of my core belief that my achievements are the only things that give me as a human being any value at all. EMDR is usually used for trauma, but since my PD is very tied into the dysfunctional family i grew up it, my tdoc thought it had some application. it has helped, in some ways. i'm getting better at remembering that any art is better than no art, and that there's still value in doing something just because i want to. i'm trying to put "want" into my vocabularly, as in, i want to do art instead of i need to do art.

 

do you have/are you seeking a PD diagnosis? obviously i can't say whether i think you have one or not, but some of what you've written rings true to my experiences with OCPD. what does seem apparent to me is that you are having some issues with outside influences colouring your perception of self-worth. that's definitely an issue worth bringing to a therapist should you choose to go that route.

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I am not an artist, but I just wanted to say I'm sorry you feel this way.  Something that helps me with my feelings of self-worth (or lack thereof) is having the people around me pointing out that I would never judge other people the way I judge myself.  It's hard to be gentle with yourself though.

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Hi echolocation and jarn,

Thanks to you both for replying. Yes it is very hard, and it is helpful to hear that other people go through something similar, even though I am sorry that any of us feel these ways. For me at least, the feelings are very unpleasant.

Quote

do you have/are you seeking a PD diagnosis? obviously i can't say whether i think you have one or not, but some of what you've written rings true to my experiences with OCPD. what does seem apparent to me is that you are having some issues with outside influences colouring your perception of self-worth. that's definitely an issue worth bringing to a therapist should you choose to go that route.

echolocation those are all good questions. I don't know what I "have" - I think ultimately, I'm a highly sensitive person who was severely abused and there were certain results. One of those results is that when I look at typical "checklists" for BPD, they fit, and the ones that don't fit anymore are things I resist doing.  What's for certain is C-PTSD, "regular" PTSD (whatever that even means...), a dissociative disorder / multiple experience, depression but not necessarily because I "have" depression, if that makes any sense, and some other stuff. I've read about "Developmental Trauma Disorder" / infant trauma at the root of some BPD and other PD stuff, and what I've read makes a lot of sense to me / feels like the "shoe fits" as it were.

The biggest symptom that bothers me currently, that seems related to what everyone has said, is this thing where it's as though I lack an "objective evaluator." I realize no one is perfectly objective, obviously, but what I mean is it doesn't seem like I can see myself from the outside at all, no matter how hard I try, and the result of this is that if an outside person has a reaction to something I've done, said, created, or even indicated that they might have a reaction to information they can't know without an indication from me, such as how I feel, then my perception of what I've done or how I feel will alter depending on my perception of or information about the other person's reaction/feelings. Sometimes, some part of me knows this isn't rational - but I can't separate from the experience, which is often quite physical. Other times, my reaction to a situation like this can be extremely disoriented / disassociated, and can look borderline psychotic. Psychiatric abuse and abuse from police officers is a part of my life history, so the disoriented / psychotic thing is very scary to me because I am afraid of consequences if anyone sees. Because of this, I went from being a person with literally thousands of facebook friends who were all known to me in real life, to being an isolated shut in with (thank god) two people regularly in my life.

When I say "I don't know right from wrong" to therapists, they give me the "are you a sociopath" look which I've come to recognize. Usually I can explain myself. (I also worry quite a bit that I'm a sociopath, not that it's someone's fault if they are.) But the problem of knowing right from wrong, "objectively" as I can, without being pulled by the perceptions of others, is a real life-destroying issue for me. One of the areas it shows up in is perceptions about my art, but it even manifests in an impaired ability to think.

I see the different categories on the boards, and many of the descriptors are very funny to me and true to my experience. Yet the "PD"-ish aspects of what I've got going on seem to go hand in hand with, for example, the "dissociative disorder" stuff - like part and parcel of the same overarching 'thing,' not separate things that compound each other. If that makes any sense.

Anyway thanks a lot to everyone who posted here and is with me in this. I really hope we can all end up with more and more positive relationships with our art and our selves.

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Posted (edited)

I just wanted to stop back in here having given this whole thing some more thought.

The thing I'm really conscious of is how self-hateful the whole framing of "pathetic baby ego" is. It's like, of course I feel inferior to everyone and obsessed about it. My whole babyhood, childhood, and teenage years, not to mention adulthood, I wasn't good enough for the abusive people who were literally my gods. There was no respite from my parents. The entire community was just as bad or worse. No wonder something very small and ashamed in me feels threatened any time I think I might not be "the best" - being "the best", in my mother's eyes, was the only time she acted like she loved me. (As long as I wasn't "better" than her - then things went badly.) And that'd just for starters. We won't even get into the rest of them, here.

I think part of what's hard is that it seems "narcissist" is bandied about on the net and elsewhere like it is the worst thing anyone can be. So that if I think some part of me is one, or an inverted one, well, I'd better hide that. Otherwise, Goodbye to Ever Being Loved, right? Except... except I'm sorry, but just no. Infants are narcissistic, and it's healthy of them. It's not bad. And my inner infant cries in the dark all the time, and was never good enough for any of Them, Then... and isn't good enough for Me, Now.

Well, that's gonna change. I don't care what anyone who hates thinks about it. I'm done calling that child things like "pathetic." It's going to be a very hard habit to break, and I'll probably do it again, and I'm leaving my original title on this so people can see how my thinking moved. I have a narcissistic part inside me. It's a true story. Or, as some might call it... abused infant and child personalities. And I'm done hating on them.

That part / person in me wants to be the best. That part / person thinks that's what makes them worthy of love. We need to work on this, but the first thing I'm going to do is just accept it. Be like, okay, that's how you feel! I'm not going to argue. I'm just going to listen. And I'm not going to hate. Except when I mess up. And then, I need to apologize.

Those kids dealt with enough bullsh*t in their lives. I don't want a whole other lifetime of it to come from me. I can't see things getting better that way.

Obviously, I don't need to act on the edicts of children. But I do need to listen, and be kinder. I hope I can lift my own shame enough to start doing that.

Edited by Spiny

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Just a short thing, but first, welcome to the boards. There are plenty of smart, funny, wise and of course crazy people here. But I just wanted to say, very simply, that there has been a bit or a lot of narcissism in everyone I have ever known, including me. I think it's just part of being human. 

I look forward to reading more of your posts. Glad you are here.

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21 minutes ago, Spiny said:

I'm done calling that child things like "pathetic." It's going to be a very hard habit to break, and I'll probably do it again, and I'm leaving my original title on this so people can see how my thinking moved. I have a narcissistic part inside me. It's a true story. Or, as some might call it... abused infant and child personalities. And I'm done hating on them.

this is a really, really important step to take in learning how to treat yourself/selves with compassion. i'm proud of you for coming to this conclusion, and recognizing that it's something that you need to work on. i also struggle with my emotional reactions to things, and calling myself demeaning names because of it. it's hard work to have patience with the parts of you that frustrate you.

i was encouraged by my first pdoc, who diagnosed me with OCPD, to view my reactions to stressful/upsetting situations from two different perspectives: the emotional/instinctive schema of my childhood, and the more learned/logical schema of my adulthood. we called these two points of view the kid and the adult. note that this is coming from my experience as a non-multiple person -- it might be more literal for someone with alters.

the kid in me also has some narcissism. when i was little, i was academically ahead of my peers, and eventually it became the only thing i was ever really praised for. what the kid took away from that was that if i am not the best, i'm not worth anything at all. as an adult, i know that there are shades of grey between best and worthless, but the kid doesn't understand that. the kid knows that when they're not the best, they're nothing, and no amount of an adult saying "well, second place is still good" is going to change the fact that the child never got praise for second place.

taking care of children is difficult work when the child is a material being, sitting in front of you. it's even harder when that kid is inside you, because that kid exists simultaneously with all the things you've learned as a more adult sort of person. it's easy to forget that there are parts of you that don't even know how to parse adult reasoning. it's especially hard when you're trying to talk yourself down with adult reasoning, and it's not working, because the kid in you doesn't want to be talked down, they want to be held.

kids don't always make a lot of sense, which can make listening to them hard to do sometimes, but forgiving the kid inside you for being messy and emotional and imperfect is an important step to being able to communicate better with them.

 

i hope i'm making sense, i don't feel that i'm articulating myself very well. either way, i relate to what you're going through. it's far easier to beat up on yourself than it is to be unconditionally compassionate to yourself. i'm still working on it. always will, probably.

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@echolocation I think that was very well said, and it rang a lot of bells for me.

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I grew up with a highly narcissistic parent and I don’t think you have narcissism. My father would never have admitted anything was wrong with him, least of all narcissism. The fact you admit to it is a sign you are not. Narcissists will never admit to being narcissists. 

 

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