The cycle of negative thinking

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The cycle of negative thinking

Post by Glides on Sat Apr 30, 2016 2:54 pm

Not exactly a rant (I think), just my attempts to approach my mental state from a more constructive viewpoint than the normal onslaught of how much I hate myself/how disgusting I am/how no one will ever love me/etc.

Conversation with the shrink yesterday went in an interesting angle when she kept on trying to role-play as my now ex-girlfriend and I kept on refusing to participate.

So she says "pretend that I'm someone that you're deeply in love with, someone you're willing to argue with in order to save this relationship."

Already an uncomfortable idea because the shrink is quite attractive and I don't need that reference point.

But instead I simply say without thinking "I would never feel that way about anyone else. There isn't a single human being on this planet, alive or dead, who is worth that kind of pain."

Silence for a little bit. "You can't really believe that."

"Either nobody is worth it or I'm incapable of feeling that way. Same result."

"You know that your problem with your ex was refusing to open up with her."

"When I did, she exploited it."

"Not every person is going to be that cruel."

"It doesn't matter, I can never tell when someone could be that cruel or not."

"You're not going to be happy if you continually close off."

"Sure I won't be happy, but I'll be safe, and that's all that matters."

It was probably the first time we had a genuine conflict in session, and the first time the shrink hasn't even bothered trying to be diplomatic. Not that I can blame her, we've been going on like this for almost a year with no real progress to speak of. I am relentlessly cynical and nihilistic and my only redeeming quality in her sessions is that I'm perfectly willing to admit to my flaws. Whenever she calls me arrogant or cynical or negative or whatever, I immediately and very enthusiastically agree with her, and that's what makes sessions with me so confusing. I don't have the normal issue most clients apparently has, which is refusing to admit their flaws.

But on the other hand I refuse to acknowledge that I have positive qualities of any kind, because I'll never really believe that I do, and it's my self-sabotaging nature that ended my last relationship. The second the sexual aspect of the relationship stopped, I was out. She was absolutely furious about this (the ex, not the shrink) but I had told her from Day One that it was never going to be serious, that my interest in her was primarily sexual, and if she didn't want that she better fucking tell me.

Clearly she had lied, thinking that through sex she could convince me into a more traditional relationship. She had mistakenly believed I was capable of empathy and compassion and intimacy when all I wanted was to fuck her brains out and nothing else. Any other kind of relationship seems pointless to me, though obviously I can see why other people would like it.

It's also no surprise that her favorite book is Fifty Shades of Grey, where the exact same thing happens in a much more extreme light. Virgin girl gets inducted sexually by a seemingly sexually experienced man who is also traumatized and does not share her Christian faith. In the end, her unfailing love for a psychopathic abuser tames him into a good Christian god-fearing man.

So I surmised that she was trying to re-enact the book, not realizing that I was not the sexually experienced lothario she had mistakenly believed me to be, but in fact a nerdy Jewish virgin who can be very confident for selective periods of time when he's drunk and/or horny.

Naturally things didn't go as expected, her little fantasy world broke down, and I cut her out of my life without a second thought the second we had an actual argument.

Needless to say, the shrink thinks this is a ridiculous theory.

Obviously there was no BDSM, I am not a billionaire or muscular, she wasn't nearly as goddamn adorable as she clearly thought she was.

But that's the cycle that emerged, and I think what started it back up was that I had a really fantastic time last night, got good and wasted and even talked to an attractive girl I didn't know and had a fantastic time, and was essentially the best version of myself last night.

Since positivity and happiness are so unfamiliar to me, my mind backlashes and brings up all these horrible negative things to bring me somewhere safe, somewhere familiar. I could be hurt in the land of happiness, but in negativity land I'll never be hurt or surprised or betrayed.

My ex made me happy briefly by wanting to suck my dick for three months? Oh god this isn't familiar, better sabotage the whole relationship so you're sad and safe again!

The sad part is by recognizing that my mind doesn't actually want to hurt me, that my jerkbrain isn't a jerk at all, and is instead mistakenly pushing me into a negative place whenever I go anywhere it doesn't recognize (positive emotions, sexual experience) and forcing me back into a place it knows, where it feels safe.

I only feel safe when I am hurt and despondent. I haven't applied to Sundance because I am afraid of rejection and as long as I never apply, I will not take risks, because risks are unfamiliar and I don't want to do what I don't know.

I don't know how to push myself out of this feedback loop. I don't know how to be brave enough to try to make my own films, without being petrified of rejection. I am so goddamn scared that I'll get the reaction I got in film school, which unanimous disgust. I haven't made a film since dropping out, all I imagine is my classmates' laughter and taunts and lose all energy and inspiration. My time at film school still haunts me to this day, keeping me from ever taking a chance. It's comfortable in the land of fear, but I will never accomplish anything as long as I stay there.

I don't know how to overcome my demons. I don't know how to be able to maintain a relationship and not sabotage it, being convinced that the other person doesn't love me. I don't know how to feel like I deserve anything other than constant torture and torment and death.

I'm very lost and I don't have the foggiest idea what to do. I am so goddamn scared and alone and helpless.

Glides

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Re: The cycle of negative thinking

Post by Enail on Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:15 pm

Sorry you're feeling scared and alone and helpless.

I think that cycle is actually pretty common, I've heard it from several people, and I think it's quite normal to be afraid of things that are deeply unfamiliar. It seems like practice can be helpful, trying to acclimatize to small risks and small units of happiness, noticing when it starts to feel uncomfortable and trying not to follow the jerkbrain path, staying with the discomfort to see if it lessens and to build up familiarity. Maybe find some ways you could push at the edges of what feels safe, make a film that you promise yourself you don't have to show anyone, or apply to a really really minor film festival that doesn't feel as important?
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Re: The cycle of negative thinking

Post by Glides on Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:21 pm

Enail wrote:Sorry you're feeling scared and alone and helpless.

I think that cycle is actually pretty common, I've heard it from several people, and I think it's quite normal to be afraid of things that are deeply unfamiliar. It seems like practice can be helpful, trying to acclimatize to small risks and small units of happiness, noticing when it starts to feel uncomfortable and trying not to follow the jerkbrain path, staying with the discomfort to see if it lessens and to build up familiarity. Maybe find some ways you could push at the edges of what feels safe, make a film that you promise yourself you don't have to show anyone, or apply to a really really minor film festival that doesn't feel as important?

Which requires actors, and a crew, both of which I'm petrified of.

It's one of the reasons my professors hated me so much: I would refuse to hire actors and crew because I knew that none of them would ever want to work with me and there was no way in hell I could get any crew to do what I said. So I would make little tiny films with a couple friends because those were the only people I knew would listen to me.

I am that scared of directing. I literally have never worked with a crew before with me as director, I've done everything by myself. They would judge me on set and determine that I wasn't worth it and would walk off within minutes.

The one thing I've always wanted to do requires skills I literally don't have, nor can I learn. I am that scared of actors and crew. It's a literal phobia.

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Re: The cycle of negative thinking

Post by Glides on Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:24 pm

I almost posted this on facebook, but I figured this was more example of jerkbrain ranting:

"I haven't bothered filming anything since November. That was the last project I made for film school, which received an unanimously negative reaction from the audience who saw it (an actual audience, not just my classmates). To be fair, it wasn't good at all, and I honestly had no idea what I was doing, and it was apparent to everyone who saw it.

My professor very accurately summed me up like this: "you can never learn how to be a filmmaker. Either you're born as one or you're not." It doesn't matter if you want to be something, no matter how hard you try, some people just don't have the necessary skills to be that thing they want. This is why the majority of human beings fail at everything they try: they are literally incapable of achieving anything of substance.

Either way, I think the best lesson I learned from film school was that the one thing I had wanted since I was five years old, to be a film director, was impossible to accomplish. It requires charisma, of which I have none. It requires persistence, of which I have none. It requires an innate ability for storytelling, and judging from what I've made so far (and if you ask anyone who has seen my work, they can agree), I don't have that either. I could argue that I have no talent or ability of any kind, but that's just negative self-talk and not objective facts.

For two years I trudged on with the delusional belief that I could be a director, I could be one of those great names who could change the world with my images. This delusion fueled every rejection, every insult, every snide comment from professors and classmates alike. The professors would publicly insult my work and show them to the class as "direct examples of what not to do," and my classmates would talk trash behind my back at how utterly incompetent I was at all aspects of the filmmaking process.

My classmates thought of me as mentally retarded, my professors even more so. Upon dropping out, my GPA was the minimum required to attend. I had graduated high school in the honor roll, with a 3.8 GPA. Once I left film school, walking off with my tail between my legs to the jeers and laughter of the entire student body (not literally), I had made the worst grades of my life and had lost my scholarship within the first semester. I had gotten the scholarship for how good my previous GPA was, and literally in a semester it was gone.

A good assessment of my ability as a filmmaker is "if Tommy Wiseau knew what a shit director he is." Film school showed me the light, showed me that my dream could not be accomplished, and that society at large has no use for me, does not want to hear what I have to say about the world, and to assume otherwise was unbelievably arrogant of me.

This is not the kinds of stories you hear about Spielberg or Nolan or Tarantino. You don't hear people describing them at my age as retarded or morons or idiots, you hear them describe them as almost otherworldly talents. They were born geniuses. I was not. I could never hope to get even a millionth of the way to their level.

And now that my greatest desire, the dream I've harbored for fifteen years of my life, is over, I have nothing left. Nowhere to go, no goals or aspirations. I just sit and wait for death, because without cinema, I am nothing.

As much as I desperately want cinema, as much as I worship it and pray to it and absorb as much of it into my soul as I can, it does not want me back. It's the worst unrequited love.

Basically, if I was a film character, I would be Salieri from the film Amadeus. A composer who wanted to create the greatest symphonies in the world, but could barely compose a single note to save his own life. A talentless hack who knew how pathetic he was. That's me to a T, i can't direct a single short film properly.

There's nothing left, no hope, no nothing. I am less than nothing, because I was cursed with the inability to do what I want most in the world."

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Re: The cycle of negative thinking

Post by Enail on Sun May 01, 2016 12:11 am

I hate to break it to you, but probably half of all people with creative aspirations see themselves as a Salieri. Despairing about one's own mediocrity is a pretty mediocre thing to do Razz And Salieri was not in fact someone who could barely compose a note, he was a talented and influential composer who just happened to not be Mozart. Get the skills down first, then worry about whether you're mediocre or not.

On the practical side, look for smaller steps in the direction of the things that are too much. What about teaming up with someone else who wants to direct and being assistant director or shadowing them, or even taking another role in the process? Whatever seems manageable. Even if it's not directing, it can probably help you improve some of the skills, and maybe expose you to enough of it that it could become less frightening over time.

Btw, "retard" is a pretty nasty slur, maybe don't use that one in future?
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