[Rant / Advice] Attention - The Double-Edged Sword (from comments of 'Yes, It's Still a Creeper Move if...')

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[Rant / Advice] Attention - The Double-Edged Sword (from comments of 'Yes, It's Still a Creeper Move if...')

Post by Guest on Mon Nov 17, 2014 1:10 am

Okay, this all started in the comments section of http://www.doctornerdlove.com/2014/11/yes-still-creeper-move-if-brad-pitt-does-it/. I had a bad night, spilled my guts and ranted like a bit of a loon, but it was cathartic. I was invited here to discuss it more, so here I am. The conversation, in order, for context:

MapWater wrote:It's already been mentioned in the comments (rather horribly, but anyway...) but I'll frame it differently. I have no idea how men get this sort of attention. At least from women. I mean, I get it. With regards to lust and the like, women aren't much different from men. Skeevy bastards gonna' skeeve, right?

But I'd be lucky to even be noticed by anyone ever. Not even talking some skeevy arsehole of a woman trying to get a root for the night - I mean anyone period. I'm caught between my default state of wanting to be alone and my sexual lust. I honestly want the latter to not exist because I'm about as appealing as skeleton with makeup on it. It's bordering on arrogance to even think someone could see me and think 'huh, he look alright'.

I feel horrible because I almost WANT this kind of pervy, horrible, disturbing attention because I'm not going to get it any other way. I'm just not. I know this is wrong, I know it, but I can't help but feel this way. What the fuck am I supposed to do when the only way I see myself being accepted sexually and romantically is to be taken advantage of? I'm almost in fucking tears thinking about this because I don't know what to do any more.

I don't care, but I do care. I want it but I don't want it.

I'm a hypocritical mess and I'm losing my fucking mind worrying about bullshit like finding someone I'm supposed to love. Because it's bullshit. Am I supposed to look? Most good relationships I know consist of people that happened upon each other by chance, not by any dating advice or planning. If I look I'm immediately saying "I'm fucking desperate", but if I don't look I'll be lucky if I go through life without someone even looking at me.

I'm fucking hopeless.

kleenestar wrote:MapWater, what kind of response would be most helpful to you? I can listen and help you pick apart some of the different feelings going on here, or I can help you try to look at some of the places you're making assumptions, or we can collectively try to figure out how to help you be as successful as possible given your situation.

For what it's worth, I don't think that there's anything wrong with wanting to find love, and I would totally support you in trying to find it if I can. I will also say that I absolutely went out looking to find the right partner; I didn't find him in exactly the way I'd planned, but if I hadn't been looking I wouldn't have been in a situation to find him serendipitously, if that makes any sense.

I'm really sorry you're feeling so bad.

MapWater wrote:Hm, I replied to this at the same time as my reply to Enail below but it seems to have been eaten or not approved. Whatever, second verse, same as the first...

Okay, first off, I'm in a much better state of mind right now than I was when I said the above. That's not to say it's not how I feel ,but I was having... an off night. Now, I'm tired but lacking in that much self-loathing and self-flagellation.

Anyway, I'm not sure what the best answer to your question could be, Kleenestar. I suppose challenging some of my assumptions is a good place to start, if only because solving ignorance is a good way to make further learning possible.

To start, maybe my assumptions about actively searching for someone appearing 'desperate' is a facet of my reluctance to look 'weak' or accept help in general. There's also the vulnerability component which is unavoidable and terrifying. I don't know if I'll ever be ready for that kind of thing. It' sound terribly pretentious, but I have been called 'aloof' before. Or at least I seemed that way to one or two people. I think they incorrectly conflated being a loner / quiet with myself thinking I'm above others or something. Honestly, I'm a scared shitless individual most of the time, who runs on the very stress that all his anxieties produce.

On a small tangent, I think that outward appearance for a lot of shy or loner type people as having strong traits by default can be harmful overall. There seems to be this resistance from friends when I mention I'm worried about things or stressing out that I'll handle it, there's no need to 'help me', I'm fine etc. Couple that with the fact I don't really like to display my emotions or ask for help and it's a recipe for loneliness. Even when I do indeed like to be alone.

I don't know if this is making sense, I've just caught my Dad's cold, work has been killing me and my head feels clear as mud but... I'm trying, hah.

Thanks, by the way, for reaching out to help. I literally cringed half way through my shift at work today when I remembered I posted this and worried what exactly the response would be. I was more than pleasantly surprised.

kleenestar wrote:I'm so glad you're feeling better!

I think if I had to pick one assumption to challenge, it's the idea that searching for someone is "desperate" - meaning, that it is even about asking for help or looking weak in the first place. I suppose you might need to ask for help with some of the practicalities of meeting people, but when you meet someone who likes you and wants to be around you, you aren't asking for help from them or looking weak to them. You're doing them a wonderful favor by making them happy with your presence - at the very same time that they're doing the same for you. I'm curious how you react to that reframing. Does it seem feasible or totally off-base?

MapWater wrote:Hm. While it's certainly true I'd need some form of help with specifics of meeting people and the like (I have gained a lot of good insight from here already, which is awesome), I do find that framing strange. At least on face value.

I've never really considered relationships from that point of view. If I met someone, I figured they were doing me the favour by putting up with me. I wouldn't be their first choice, I'd just kinda be the one the bottle landed on, so to speak. But that comes with the big if of whether or not someone would be interested. I gave up on that in high school when I was totally not interested myself. Now, post University, there's obviously some conflicting part of me that wouldn't mind finding someone but I'm stuck thinking it's not going to happen anyway.

So, back on point, thinking of meeting someone as doing them a favour isn't natural to me. It's certainly feasible, but it's not how I've thought for at least nine years straight.

kleenestar wrote:What I'm hearing in what you're saying is a comparative mindset - as if people ranked their dating preferences and either "got their first choice" or had to settle for some lower number. I think this can come from one of two places, and where it comes from will determine how I can best respond to you. First, you might actually apply this model yourself; you're just assuming that other people are like you. So, take a few minutes to reflect. For the people in your life you care about, did you choose them because they were your "first choice?" Or did you have some other kind of process for getting to know them and engaging with them? Second, it might not really be about "first choice" - it might come from a sense that you are so undesirable that no one could want you for any reason. In that case, I'd like you to think carefully about why you see dating you as someone "putting up with you." Is that because you feel physically unattractive? Are there other things you do - note, I am NOT asking about traits you have - that warrant "putting up with?" Do people in other relationships to you see you as someone who must be put up with? I'd be very curious about the answers to these questions, and I think they will help both of us see the assumptions you are making around this issue.

That said, would you like to take this to the forums?

That's the main bulk of the conversation thus far. My answer to the last questioned posed by kleenestar is that it has more to do with the latter - lack of satisfaction with the self than with applying that logic to myself and others as if that's how humans operate when it comes to relationships.

I just wanted to make the thread now so people can put in their opinion on the subject. So, yeah, if anyone else wants to jump in along with kleenestar, go for it.

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Re: [Rant / Advice] Attention - The Double-Edged Sword (from comments of 'Yes, It's Still a Creeper Move if...')

Post by kleenestar on Mon Nov 17, 2014 5:52 pm

So, I'm going to encourage you to answer the specific questions I asked about self-dissatisfaction!

Your original post mentioned physical appearance - is that a major focus of the dissatisfaction you feel with yourself? Are there other areas of your life you think warrant "putting up with?" Do you have relationships with people where they make you feel like they are putting up with you, or are your non-romantic relationships generally mutually satisfying?
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Re: [Rant / Advice] Attention - The Double-Edged Sword (from comments of 'Yes, It's Still a Creeper Move if...')

Post by Guest on Wed Nov 19, 2014 4:12 am

Okay, finally have a chance to sit down and actually answer these!

kleenestar wrote:So, I'm going to encourage you to answer the specific questions I asked about self-dissatisfaction!

Your original post mentioned physical appearance - is that a major focus of the dissatisfaction you feel with yourself?
It's certainly a part of it. My self-perception when it comes to physical appearance is all over the place. Sometimes, I feel like I look not half bad. I'm no hunky beefcake, but I don't look awful. Other times, aall I can see are the flaws. I'm too skinny, my teeth are a mess, thanks to my teeth my jaw doesn't sit right and lookes awkward, I feel like I look angry a lot of the time in public. That last one stems from stressing when around people in situations like public transport. My brow furrows like I'm concentrating and if you couple that with a naturally down-set mouth, I look like a grump.

It all seems so childish and nitpicky to find these things annoying, but on I do. Especially the too skinny thing. I mean, I know how to dress appropriately for my body and such, so that's not an issue. It's more the fact I don't think what's underneath the thin veneer of nice clothes would be very appealing to anyone. It's pointed out enough by people I meet and talk to that it's becoming a topic I just outright avoid if possible.

Anyway, onwards...

kleenestar wrote:Are there other areas of your life you think warrant "putting up with?"

There's a few things. In general, I'm not very sociable. It's not like I haven't tried being a social butterfly at parties or stuff like that. Thanks to some of the hobbies I do I have to be, regardless of what I really want. I just... I don't feel like the enjoyment I get from it makes up for the stress it causes me. I feel like it probably makes me pretty boring, especially in comparison to a lot of people I hang around with.

I'm also very career focused. This is one point I know that's very hit-or-miss with people so it's not as big a personal issue as it is an issue lots of people have. How do you fit in a relationship when work takes up over twelve hours of your day for at least five days a week? By the time I get home I'm either ready to go to bed or all I want to do is chill out away from everyone.



kleenestar wrote:Do you have relationships with people where they make you feel like they are putting up with you, or are your non-romantic relationships generally mutually satisfying?
I don't feel like I have any right now. When I started going to the bar I frequent and made friends with the staff there (all my age or a few years younger), I felt like I was being put up with when I talked to them. I don't think I really was, in hindsight, but obviously that wall between customer and bartender was there for a while, even if we had fun at times. Now that I've known them all for over two years and often go to movies, check out music stores etc. with a lot of them I feel like this is less of a problem. I still get that niggling little fear that they're just putting up with my presence sometimes, but they may just be jerkbrain.

I would argue that my close platonic (and familial) relationships are mutually satisfying. My Dad, sister and I all connect over music. My mother and I connect over our love of birds and small furry animals. My closest friends and I share almost every single interest, and those that we don't, we still like to share with each other to broaden horizons and such.

I dunno. I've over thought so much of this stuff I've confused myself. I don't get why I even think I should be put with on a conscious level, I just took it as a given at some point and ran with it, I suspect. Again, I dunno.

Hopefully that answers your questions.

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