My Demons

  • Feelings of inadequacy and chronic self-doubt
  • Feeling I am physically repulsive
  • Feeling I will never have more than friendship with women
  • Feeling I am not good enough for my chosen career path

My bottom line thoughts according to the tasks from the self-help book:

  • Rejection: I am unattractive to the opposite sex in every conceivable way
  • Criticism: I am not good enough. I will never be good enough
  • Lack of praise: Because of the above, I do not deserve praise
  • Lack of interest: I am a boring person. My interests are not worthwhile
  • Being the odd one out: I am weird

And my rules for living as figured out through the same book:

  1. Do not fall in love. I will only get my heart broken again. If she (any “she”) likes me, she will tell/show me. If she doesn’t, then she is clearly not interested. Do not say anything or display body language that might hint at my attraction
  2. I must attempt to achieve perfection in everything I do. Only then will I be good enough. Ignore being ill, plough on through it when feeling low because otherwise I have failed and I am already a failure so let’s try some damage limitation here
  3. I must already know what I am doing. To ask for help or clarification is a sign of failure. It is a sign that I am too stupid to understand what is required
  4. I will receive praise for the things I do. Ignore it. Shrug it off. They are mistaking my knowledge of one particular thing for competence. Let’s face it, it’s pretty minor stuff that anybody can do when they’ve been shown how
  5. Don’t talk to others about my interests. They might interest me but other people will and do find them boring. I am boring. And I am weird for being into that stuff anyway

Truth is, I don’t feel those things any more for the most part. I still have my moments of self-doubt, self-criticism and self-punishment. I still sometimes end up blaming myself for the results of certain events where no blame need be apportioned. I don’t want to say “mission accomplished” because I am under no illusion that I am cured (if that word applies) of my life-long mental health issues and I am under no illusion that they will not one day rear their heads. I am under no illusion that I will never again need anti-depressants.

This page will stay up for posterity and serve as a reminder just how far I have come but also as a warning to be vigilant and remember the tools and methods I used to fight back.

8 thoughts on “My Demons

  1. Wow.
    The universality and humanness of those traits that underlie our self-perceived unique “flaws” never ceases to amaze me.

    Your demons and rules are mine exactly.
    The being perfect part…yep, that’s me. I’m addicted to exercise and body-building because I think I’m physically repulsive. At the secret core of my ambitious career and academic achievements (I’m a med student) is a desire to be worthy of a woman; not *the* reason that I want to become a doctor (there are highly personal reasons that are more important to me), but it plays a significant part. People are always impressed and complimenting me on how I’ve done academically, but I feel like a phony, an impostor who’s not really as smart as everyone thinks I am.

    The *REAL* problem is, I’m a 30-something virgin who’s never even so much as held hands with a woman before let alone been on a date. As the years pass, I’m increasingly resigned to the fact that my brain has developed and matured enough that this is who I’m going to be for the rest of my life (however long that may be), and that I should just “let go” and embrace a life of asceticism because I will very obviously *always* be alone [insert “foreveralone” face here]. And the scary part is that no matter what else I achieve in life, being alone is unacceptable to me. I’m sure you can relate to where this pattern of thought often goes…(yes, I’ve taken antidepressants/gotten therapy for over ten years; none of it helps in the slightest).

    Though I can identify, I think I’ve had it worse!…
    You’ve said guys love a girl who can make them laugh; NOT ME! I despise that. I’m also not humorous and generally dislike humor (unless you’re the ghost of George Carlin), and I have no intention of being funny with someone unless I were a sycophantic con-artist trying to get into their pants.

    I don’t care much about that; it’s not so much the “virgin” thing, it’s the “not being wanted/loved, being alone” thing.

    I’m a newcomer to the blog, and I realize that your life has since turned around.
    I’ll make my way through your posts and see what I can glean. Thanks for sharing this, btw. Really. Thank you. Perspective helps.

    1. Hello, thank you for your thoughts. Yes, your story echoes mine in so many ways.

      but I feel like a phony, an impostor who’s not really as smart as everyone thinks I am.

      That is absolutely the main point of low self esteem… no matter how much you succeed, you are never going to be good enough. It’s a vicious circle.

      I’m sure you can relate to where this pattern of thought often goes…

      Absolutely, you have my deepest sympathies. When my now ex-wife told me that she had never been in love with me, I sank to rock bottom. Here was the only person I had ever had a relationship with… the only person I ever thought would ever be attracted to me and love me, never had.

      You’ve said guys love a girl who can make them laugh; NOT ME!

      I should probably clarify that if you are not naturally a person who enjoys making people laugh, or that it doesn’t come naturally to you, then you shouldn’t do it. Never try to be something your not, especially for a woman.

      As for that comment about being “worthy of a woman” – this is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to male self-esteem. Society in particular, and a lot of women especially, ask a lot of us in pursuit of the “Real Man” fallacy. We are objectified as appliances, we are valued for our utility. If the MRA wanted to do something meaningful, they would be challenging society’s norms on this and pushing the fact that male suicide is three times that of women.

  2. I do not suffer from depression. If anything I’m a bit full of myself (although I try to keep myself in check in social situations– I don’t brag). But like anyone else, my life is comprised of success and failures. I realize I remember all my successes and forget my failures. I characterize myself only based on my success. Yes I’ve suffered and been rejected. But even when I failed, I never see as a fault of mine — more like they are wrong about me or bad things are happening to me. Maybe a coping mechanism.

    If I were you (regarding ubergeek):
    She doesn’t want me? Her loss– I am awesome! I am kind, loving, etc, everything you want in a partner *scoffs*

    Yea, so I guess I kind of have a superiority complex.

    1. Thanks for your comments – it’s always interesting to get the opposite perspective.

      As for ubergeek, she’s not even an issue right now because I am in a relationship 🙂

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