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  1. #91
    Senior Member wedekit's Avatar
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    It's kind of relieving to read that other people go through the same things I go through. Because of that I feel inspired to write some of my thoughts and experiences related to this, though they are a little personal.

    My parents used to verbally fight a lot over the smallest things. They were of course fighting with each other, but sometimes the fights would stem from me. I didn't really realize at the time that they were just wanting to fight with each other, and that I was just the excuse, not the real reason. Sometimes I would just ask for my week's worth of lunch money, and my parents would find some way to fight about that ("I gave him lunch money last week. It's your turn!" etc.). It got to the point where I was afraid to ask for things when they were in the room together. The spontaneity of their fights scared the hell out of me. I think that's one of the reasons I became so sensitive to negative reactions and tension, and now I have learned how to defuse it quickly.

    In fifth grade I had a close friend tell all my other close friends lies about things that I supposedly said about them. They all stopped talking to me until High School, and I had no one. I remember 5th grade was probably the most awkward year of my life because I had no friends and I distanced myself from everyone else since I didn't want to go through something like that again. That of course made me the perfect target for bullying, which always caught me off guard and left me not knowing what to do. Once I was sitting on the school bus and a kid spit a mouth full of coke all over the back of my head for no reason at all. I was shocked and honestly scared; I had done nothing to him. I of course turned around and looked at him and noticed that there were two girls across the aisle from him that he was probably trying to "impress". I remember another time a friend I had sat with me on the bus in 7th grade, and another girl that was closer to her told her she couldn't sit with me because "he don't look good". What do you say or do when things like that happen to you? I didn't learn to defend myself until later in life, and I'm sure the severity of these instances are what caused the delay.

    I ended up retreating into myself and filling myself with fears and insecurities that have never really gone away. I stopped volunteering to answer questions in class (I started doubting if I knew the right answers), I read books during recess and lunch (even during class!), etc. I basically turned into what psychologists call a "slow-to-warm-up learner" because I became so hesitant stepping into the unfamiliar. My grades dropped severely too.

    I'm still quite hesitant to be friends with new people.

    I am currently experiencing some anxiety about the school year. I am an RA and I was (unfortunately) assigned to the Freshmen Boys hall. Honestly, I am even more hesitant about being friends with any male because I'm gay. I have also had people I thought were friends act differently around me as soon as they found out I was gay. Being on a hall full of guys really fuels my fear of unexpected negative reactions. However, I am determined to face this challenge as just that... a challenge. A test to see if I am going to really let all of the people who didn't like me in the past hold me back. The more I challenge myself like this, the more esteemed and confident I become. Sometimes I envy people with an inflated ego. It is amazing to me that some people can be so confident in themselves, even though I know it essentially is a negative thing when it comes to their relations to other people.

    All of this makes me think of Karen Horney's theory about Neurosis. It comes in three flavors: 1) Moving Toward Others 2) Moving Away From Others 3) Moving Against Others. Moving towards people is normally characterized as "The need for affection and approval; pleasing others and being liked by them.".

    I try my best to be less sensitive to these kinds of social fears. I actually force myself to be involved with things that require a lot of social interaction as it makes me more desensitized. Examples of this: joined clubs and ran for officer positions, joined theater, became an RA, only worked jobs that require some form of customer service, volunteer for things in class, and the list goes on. Every one of these situations mark times when I was able to release my grip on my insecurities and fears... even if it was just a little, it was noticeable.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]
    Enneagram 4w5 social

  2. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by wedekit View Post

    My parents used to verbally fight a lot over the smallest things. They were of course fighting with each other, but sometimes the fights would stem from me. I didn't really realize at the time that they were just wanting to fight with each other, and that I was just the excuse, not the real reason. Sometimes I would just ask for my week's worth of lunch money, and my parents would find some way to fight about that ("I gave him lunch money last week. It's your turn!" etc.). It got to the point where I was afraid to ask for things when they were in the room together. The spontaneity of their fights scared the hell out of me. I think that's one of the reasons I became so sensitive to negative reactions and tension, and now I have learned how to defuse it quickly.

    .
    My parents were the same way when I was growing up. When they got divorced, it only got worse. Every purchase that would require them to work together & both pitch in money ended up with me talking between the two of them and a screaming match between them once they finally talked face to face. I have a deep fear of asking my parents for anything financial and blamed myself a lot for their fights since *I* was the one who needed school clothes...

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I can relate.

  3. #93
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    wow it's amazing to me that so many people navigate life in this way. i can honestly say this is the most relevant thread to my life out of anything i've seen on this site. (i literally dropped my jaw when i read the OP, especially the comment about therapy.)

    i've been thinking about this for days now. i think i have a lot more to say, but i have to process a bit more.

    thanks edahn.

    p.s. a lot of people have brought this up already -- i'd like to agree that being in a job situation where people are guaranteed not to like you is quite helpful. the intensity of this problem in my life has definitely decreased from working in food service . but i still find myself looking to my coworkers for approval in an angry-customer situation.

    notice how everyone with this problem is an Fe user? (sorry edahn, i just couldn't help it. hah)

  4. #94
    Senor Membrane
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    Quote Originally Posted by toonia View Post
    I've spent my introverted time analyzing these types of social interactions and misunderstandings. I have come to realize that when you offer people a blank slate, they paint their fears on it.
    This explains a lot. Never thought of it that way.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZiL View Post
    It's like, in a strange way I'm covertly patronizing to most people I meet. I may even consciously recognize that others are painting their fears onto me, but even this realization does not stop me from looking at others as "children" in the midst of an overreaction, that I need to be "responsible" for by not showing my own emotions/reactions.
    Even if I haven't consciously thought about them projecting on me, I have done this also. For me it feels like, if I don't keep myself in check, no one will and it's going chaotic. Sometimes it might seem like I don't care, but it is just me trying to maintain at least some level of prudence.

    The flammable child-parent relationship sound way too familiar to me too...

  5. #95
    Senior Member bluebell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dissonance View Post
    wow it's amazing to me that so many people navigate life in this way. i can honestly say this is the most relevant thread to my life out of anything i've seen on this site. (i literally dropped my jaw when i read the OP, especially the comment about therapy.)

    i've been thinking about this for days now. i think i have a lot more to say, but i have to process a bit more.

    thanks edahn.
    Freaky. You keep writing what I'm thinking, but with better words than I can come up with.

    Agreed. I'm still processing various insights from this thread. I was somewhat concious of some of this, but I've been able to articulate it more. Named fears/insecurities are easier to deal with than when they're hiding and pulling the strings without you realising.

    p.s. a lot of people have brought this up already -- i'd like to agree that being in a job situation where people are guaranteed not to like you is quite helpful. the intensity of this problem in my life has definitely decreased from working in food service . but i still find myself looking to my coworkers for approval in an angry-customer situation.
    I had to go to a meeting last week when I was the focus for most of it, with most of the reactions ranging from lukewarm to outright hostile. I had to keep stopping myself going with the impulse to be liked - that wasn't the purpose of the meeting. So, I was juggling negotiating, defusing, doing conflict resolution and and having to follow complex technical discussions while also having to watch my own emotional reactions objectively and let them wash over me, instead of giving in to them. No wonder I was exhausted by the end of the day...

    Anyway, that was my roundabout way of agreeing that desensitising while being concious of reactions and the motivations behind them are the way through it.

    (I'm a bit drunk while writing this, hopefully this isn't too garbled)
    ...so much smoke pouring out of each chromosome.

  6. #96
    Member Buds of May's Avatar
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    Benevolence? Not that there's anything wrong with analyzing shades of motive, but are you really as hard on yourself about this as you sound? Be realistic. It's not all greed for approval.

    Quote Originally Posted by ThatsWhatHeSaid View Post
    Teach her how to laugh at her situation without feeling embarrassed.

    See yourself doing it and laugh?

  7. #97
    Member Kleinheiko's Avatar
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    I'm thinking about the five love languages right now. If you feel like nobody likes you, that's a lie. People do like you, it's possible that they're just not speaking your language.

    If you speak using acts of service and they are speaking to you using quality time, you probably won't even notice that they are befriending you by sitting and talking to you. You will just notice that they aren't doing anything for you, and your relationship will suffer.

    Learn how to make them feel liked, and then bring up how they could make you feel liked. Explain everything to them if need be. If they like you, they will readily try.
    I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

  8. #98

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    when someone reject me in an obvious way i would go and sit down and talk to them directly about what's going on.

    anything can change, but for worse or for better, its the choices you have to make

  9. #99
    Senior Member INTJMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchitectofFate View Post
    when someone reject me in an obvious way i would go and sit down and talk to them directly about what's going on.

    anything can change, but for worse or for better, its the choices you have to make
    I really admire the way ENTP type typically face problems this way. I am the opposite, and it's not a very helpful method!

  10. #100
    Senior Member locke's Avatar
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    Well, I've posted not much more than fluff on this site, including my severely lacking introduction. So this post will double as a re-introduction. You may want to get a snack, or just ignore this post completely. There's a life story coming up. Apologies in advance.

    I could really relate to wedekit's story. My parents would fight all the time over fairly stupid things. Sometimes it would get violent. My father was an alcoholic and was verbally abusive towards me. They separated a few times and got back together. My mother even started divorce proceedings once, but then cancelled them.

    I eventually got sick of it all and purposefully picked a fight with my father. I kept him distracted and told my mother to call the police. After this they separated again.

    During the separation my mother met a man she loved, then started divorce proceedings again. My father found out about this and went to harass and threaten him. This man's ex-wife also found out about this and began wooing him back. They eventually re-married. My mother was devastated.

    The divorce proceedings went through this time. My father argued that my mother was seeing someone during the separation, but before the actual divorce proceedings and that this should be considered an affair. He won the case and got away without having to pay alimony and having to pay little child support.

    At this point my mother had a breakdown, lost her job and had trouble holding any subsequent jobs. My brother began acting more and more erratic and eventually got involved with drugs. During this time we all had fairly angry and violent outbursts. The violence wasn't directed at each other, but at dishes and walls. I was the first to overcome this, then my mother. My brother was still punching holes in walls before he was sent to prison about a year ago. I think that's because his drug of choice was methamphetamine.

    That was when the verbal abuse from my mother began. She'd often compare me to the men she's hated in her life. She'd sometimes compare me to my father's sister. My aunt had managed to make a pretty decent life for herself. "Perfect" in my mothers eyes, so she blamed all my father's problems on her. My brother, she'd compare to my father.

    I think this was because I was the least visibly affected by all this. But my problems were social and mostly manifested at school.

    I was teased and bullied early on in school. In second grade a kid would sit behind me on the bus and pull my hair. This is when I began my habit of sitting in the very last seat on the bus. Even so, one time he managed to get my shoe somehow for a game of "keep away." The teasing continued in various forms up until about the middle of 9th grade.

    Around that time I discovered how to project what I would call an aura of intimidation. I would say it was the kind of vibe that goth kids were going for, except I didn't need the black nail polish, piercings and mascara. In fact, this actually worked at keeping people from messing with me rather than just provoking more of the laughter and teasing that was usually directed at the goths. Since then I've learned how to get the opposite effect and have gotten comments like, "You're one of the quietest people I've ever met, but I feel strangely comfortable with you," a few times.

    Early 10th grade is when my problems at home were beginning to get at their worst and my social anxiety began to become unbearable. I began cutting school and the frequency would increase as the year went on. This would reinforce itself. I would feel embarrassed over the number of days I've missed, and so I wouldn't want to go to school. I dropped out early in 11th grade. I finished school through independent study.

    May, 1999. I would be finishing 11th grade if I had went. My mother hasn't held a job in a while. My brother and I are behaving like delinquents, although he hasn't gotten involved with drugs yet. The rent is due. We end up using the last of our money to take a Grayhound bus across country to stay with my grandmother.

    From that time until about a year and a half ago, I spent most of my time to myself. I've held jobs, they were in IT except for one brief period in 2003/2004 when I worked at a Subway. I left Subway for another IT job, even though I knew I needed to social experience and wanted to stay (that's another story). I tried college a couple of times, but my anxiety wouldn't allow me to focus. People still tell me I should go to school, but I've already decided that's not my path.

    Last year I met a guy who got me involved organizing a Powwow in Northridge (Nov. 29th this year at CSUN by the way) and I've since gotten involved with other activist organizations. I've even started an activism project of my own.

    Well, on to the topic! When I'm concerned about people liking me I tend to want to be exciting, witty and spontaneous. I usually end up failing at this, embarassing myself and offending others, or focusing so intently on this that I make myself a nervous wreck and still can't think of anything to say. I guess if I could pinpoint my anxiety it's that I'm afraid I'm boring.
    I want something much more different
    Not these factories or prisons
    I wish that the Earth was green again
    I wish I had a gun in my hand


    --Blackbird Raum

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