Tag Archives: Self-Help

Self-Hatred Sucks: How to Move Forward?

The past week and a half has sucked. My mood and motivation has cratered. I didn’t write my Morrowind story last weekend. I tried and only wrote on singular uninspired sentence: “And in the doorway stood an average Argonian.” Poignant, huh? I haven’t wrote anything for this week either. I’ve been silent on this blog despite writing two drafts that I didn’t think were good enough to post. I wrote another short story but didn’t think that was good enough to post either. There’re two other story ideas floating around in my head as well, but nothing that I feel is good enough to even start writing. I bought an entire 1.5 Litre bottle of vodka last Sunday — a mistake to be sure — because I was hell-bent on having vodka/juice cocktails and that’s the only bottle they had in stock. Four days of drunkenness ensued. “But don’t you only drink on Sunday? Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are not Sunday!” Yeah. I know. I’m a fuckup in multiple areas of life.

But when a friend at work was shitting on herself about eating a quart of icecream on the first day of her diet I promptly pointed out, “No one is perfect, everyone fucks up. Just acknowledge you goofed up and get back to your goals when you can.” It’s easy to tell other people that than believe it yourself. I do believe it, I just don’t think it applies to me. I actually am a fuckup.

At least I think I am. I know I’m not, but I can’t stop from viewing myself that way. People occasionally like to toss out the line that “everything happens for a reason” and I usually have a dim view of it. I take it meaning something like there is someone or something actually in control of everything forcing us to places so we can learn and grow. If anything I think people are just very flexible and can deal with anything that happens to them. If you’re happy, you feel good and get shit done, and if you’re depressed you introspect and naturally try to “learn” something from your shitty mood so it wasn’t for naught. Even if I’m not a big fan of the hard “everything happens for a reason” outlook, it does seem to be partly true. Even if depressive moods are shitty, they give you a prime opportunity to examine why the hell you even feel that way in the first place.

I’ve known for awhile that I’m a stupidly insecure person. I always feel like I’m “not enough” or “a problem” or whatever other negative adjective/adverbs I like to use for myself. I’m constantly over analyzing the smallest and most insignificant social cues always searching for signs that I’m either appreciated and loved or really despised and hated. I also have zero self-esteem and confidence. Like myself not being good enough, the things I do are also not good enough. The shit I write? Good, but not great; there’s always someone more creative, more descriptive, or more whatever. I’m constantly measuring my own self-worth against others. And others are always better than myself. Logically it’s wrong — you weigh yourself against the best you see in others while shit on yourself for your worst aspects — but that doesn’t stop it from occurring. I’m always searching for approval that I’m worth something, that my work is worth something, that my life is worth something, and am constantly searching and asking others to approve of me. My happiness is always based on the opinions of others — how I’m perceived — and I have nothing to offer myself.

I did the writing exercises that I was procrastinating for two weeks from the book It Didn’t Start With You. I was dreading them greatly because I realized before I started (from just thinking about the topics) that there would be some uncomfortable shit to uncover; just the though of working on them nearly gave me a crisis. And I wasn’t wrong. I suppose I did learn something though: I hate myself. It’s like the knot that ties everything together, all of these individual strands of self-esteem issues, self-confidence issues, and my constant seeking of social approval all stem from the fact that I really, truly, and deeply despise myself. That’s where it all comes from. I want others to appreciate me because I don’t appreciate myself. The people I hate and the traits I despise: they’re all projected aspects of myself that I hate. I hate people like me. I hate people that do the same things I do. It’s like a key puzzle piece has found it’s home.

Knowing you hate yourself makes you hate yourself more in a way. I’ve hated myself for most of my life and only in tiny flashes here or there do I actually feel happy and comfortable with myself. But if I haven’t learned to truly love myself over the past thirty years, how am I supposed to learn now? People are hopelessly stubborn and unwilling to change. Take my dad for example. Overweight and diabetic with severe sciatica and sky-rocketing blood sugar. His life is literally in danger yet he still tells me about the potato chips he bought from the store and hasn’t made any serious effort to lower his weight. His bones and joints are literally wearing away from the weight he totes around yet he cannot change his habits to literally save his life. How the fuck am I supposed to learn to love myself if he can’t learn to eat better and exercise?

It’s a form of helplessness that has many layers. I don’t like myself. I don’t want to be this way. But I am. But I am unwilling to change this fact. I’ll always feel this way. And what do I do about it? How do I move forward? Given the realization I think, “So now what?”

Frustrated I asked my therapist this question, “What do you do? Do I try my hardest to change myself or just give in and accept who I am?” She gave the typically vague answers that I had to really think about on my own to make sense of. I don’t even recall what she said exactly. I think the answer is probably somewhere in the middle, like most things are. You probably can’t wage a war against yourself desperately trying to change who you are at the core level. I’m a quiet and reserved person and I doubt no matter how hard I try I could ever become outgoing and talkative; the shyness is at the core of who I am. But by acknowledging the traits you have you can learn to deal with them. Just because you are shy doesn’t mean you can’t talk to people, you only have to make a dedicated effort to work with yourself, acknowledge you’re shy, that you’d like to say something, and do what you must do. So maybe the way forward is acknowledging that I do fundamentally hate myself and trying to work with that fact. Not force myself to love me, but work on not hating myself as much.

Maybe I do have something to offer the world, or maybe I don’t need to offer the world anything in the first place. Maybe I shouldn’t hate on myself quite as much. Maybe whatever I do try to do I have a good chance at succeeding. My computer is currently being powered by solar power, as well as the WiFi router. Isn’t that something to be proud of myself for? Isn’t that something that I don’t need to tell people about and have them clap their hands over how proud they are for me? And isn’t it something that after binge drinking for four days I’ve realized I fucked up and am only going to drink on Sundays again? Can’t I feel better about myself that despite not writing for a week or two I’m finally creating this post? Can’t I feel better about this blog and how I actually got off my ass and did something when I could’ve sat around and did nothing the past five years? Despite my slow progress in nearly every aspect of life, can’t I feel good about making progress at all?

I feel somewhat better now. Not confident in any way, but feeling like I should just get off my ass and do what I want/need to do and stop moping around so much. “Is this thought useful to have?” The therapist said I should try to notice things without an emotional attachment to them; if someone says or does something maybe acknowledge it without any connotation that it is somehow “bad” or “good” and that makes some sense. I don’t know why I put that there because it doesn’t seem related to this post at all, but maybe someone can get something from it. Or maybe that’s what the entire post was about in some vague way. Fuck if I know. I’m ignorant about nearly everything, especially this entire “self-growth” bullshit, but let’s not pretend that’s good or bad. Being ignorant (“bad”) is the first step towards learning something new (“good”), and maybe that’s something to be proud of. To close with that bullshit explanation that I’m skeptical of from earlier: EvErYtHiNg HaPpEnS fOr A rEaSoN.

“It Didn’t Start With You” Is Depressing

Upon the recommendation from a friend, I’ve been reading the book It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are and How to End the Cycle by Mark Wolynn. And if the subtitle doesn’t give you enough information about how depressing this book has the potential to be then I don’t know what will. Just from the title I knew I was getting myself into some shit with the book, and a few chapters in I don’t seem to be wrong with that assumption.

I wrote here about some ‘breakthrough’ I had where I realized how my mom’s lack of love while I was growing up most likely fucked me up in a way that I wasn’t even aware of for 98% of my life. I thought I had a normal childhood — as average as anyone else’s — but no; tiny scars are still scars and are they even tiny when you have nothing to compare them to? I’d realized that I always feel lacking, like I always have something to prove, as if my self-worth is based on the approval of others. It seems my entire motivation in life is to gain approval from others; I’m a directionless mess until I have someone to seek approval from. This is the wrong mindset to have — you need to get happiness and approval from yourself — but I seem to be unable to change it. Only making a few tiny steps in progress here or there but never seeming to actually get anywhere. It’s like I’m trying to do a marathon but am crawling. Ten feet done and 138,000 more to go. I’m getting nowhere.

Anyways, I thought this book would go along similar lines, and it has been, if not to a more extreme degree than I imagined. The basis of the book in the first two or three chapters seems to be that hardly any of us know how much shit we actually inherit from our fucked up families. Making matters even bleaker is the author’s insistence that it isn’t only how we are raised that fucks us up (obviously being raised in an abusive home is going to fuck you up) but how things transmit from generation to generation through DNA and genetics. Once again don’t take this to mean that if you have a family history of cancer that, duh, you might get cancer; it’s much more subtle than that. Depression, stress, anxiety, and substance abuse all seemed to be transmitted to offspring somehow even if there isn’t a direct genetic reason for it doing so.

In the first few chapters Wolynn talks about studies on mice and stress in offspring. Baby mice were removed from their parents which caused depression in them, but most surprisingly, their own children — the grandchildren of the original mice — also suffered from stress and depression. Even though the third generation of mice weren’t separated from their parents, because their parents were traumatized this transmitted to them. The author also talks about how grandchildren of Holocaust survivors also seem to suffer from greater stress and anxiety than others. Despite not suffering themselves, or their parents suffering, somehow their bodies and genes “remember” the hell their grandparents went through to where they also suffer negative consequences.

And this is depressing as fuck.

We all like to think of ourselves as unique and separate individual beings not affected by anything but our own life and experiences. Sure you might’ve had a shitty childhood, but you’re still you and have free will, so you can always break the negative traits with sheer might, right? It doesn’t seem so. Even if your childhood was great, you could still be fucked up somehow from your grandparents shitty lives and upbringings. Plus there are four grandparents; more chance to get something fucked up given to you. And it almost seems inevitable.

Reading these first few chapters my mental state took a nosedive. Not trying to be the victim, I did keep thinking, “I didn’t ask for any of this. Why me? Why did my family have to fuck me up in this way?” It’s not so much feeling sorry for myself and more like feeling totally stuck with no actual ability to fix anything. It’s like being dealt a shitty hand in poker or something; sure you might be able to find a winning hand, but the smart bet is to give up and fold. Hope for something better to be dealt to you in the future. Except in life we’re only dealt a single hand and I’ll let you guys think about what “folding your hand” in life might mean.

I’m sure the book will take a more uplifting turn midway as most books do: there isn’t any point in explaining a problem unless the author has a solution. It’d be a poor self-help book if it didn’t give you a way to, well, help yourself. I think it’s the same with every problem. You first need to discover the problem before you can fix it. Trying to be positive here, the human brain is a magnificent piece of machinery even if it is flawed in countless ways. Think of learning a new language or learning an instrument. With each practice session your brain connects new neurons and pathways that allow you to really learn a new skill through physically changing the structure of your brain and how it works. I’m pretty sure the same thing is true with Big Problems like depression and anxiety. Maybe if you practice facing anxiety and having Happy Thoughts you can rewire your brain to not be as fucked up as it typically is?

I’m only 25% through the book but it is interesting and eye-opening; I’m sure I’ll have more to write about it later. One thing that does bother me is trying to even discover my family history. I only have one living grandparent. Sure I can analyze my parents in depth, but it seems the deeper part of my family history has been more or less erased. Did my grandparents grow up during the Great Depression? Is that why I’m so insecure with how much money I have? Is that why I hoard money for ‘safety’? Am I as detached emotionally as my father? Am I as crazy as my mom? Did she have a shitty upbringing that led her to be angry and detached with my sister and I growing up? Who gave me my fondness for alcohol? And what about my sister? Why does she date very controlling and borderline abusive people? Where did that come from? Even if it’s not me, I still think it could shine some light on our mutual upbringing and give reason to some of my own flaws. More questions than answers. Always more questions than answers…

Depression #4,873 Sucks: A Way Forward?

It’s been a rough week. I think I could fare better with depression if I know when it’ll hit me. It’s always a surprise: one minute I’m fine and then the universe and the people in it do something that starts the ball rolling. A trigger for it. I think I deeply care for people and if that isn’t returned I spiral downward. Maybe it’s safest to not care? That’s a certain way to death, but a walking death where your body is alive but your soul is dead. The only way to live, and to truly live, is to love. Even if that love hurts you, I don’t see any other way forward in life. What’s the other option? To wall yourself off and live without feeling for the rest of your life?

I think I’ve weathered the worst of it and I’m in that strange post-depressive state that I can mostly explain as “exhausted.” I’m like 5% happy, 25% depressed, and 70% exhausted. It’s the realization that you’ve made it through the worst of it but where you don’t want to let your guard down. The next wave could happen at any moment. The next trigger could bring you down. Constantly on edge and terrified of the future. Yet the minutes keep ticking pulling you toward whatever inevitable and terrible/wonderful fate awaits. I’m not ready though. Not yet. Let me relax and type this post in peace.

I totally broke down at work yesterday. I was able to drag myself throughout the entire shift but really wanted to talk to someone. Usually I try not to bother people (in a self-loathing state where you think no one cares about you it’s hard to be proactive and contact someone) but it was becoming so damn bad I just wanted to open up. I had to open up. I’d lose my fucking mind if I didn’t talk to someone. Luckily I was able to talk to a good and much-loved friend of mine. He’s a supervisor which makes it even more special because of the responsibilities he had to shirk to tend to me and my problems. The guy has a ton of things to do at work, meetings to attend, yet he found time to talk to me in a dire time of need. I’m forever grateful to him.

We sat in his car and talked for an hour and a half. I nearly cried a bunch of times. He said a ton of stuff, and vented to me about his own problems, while I rambled and blabbed not knowing what I should open up about or what I should “play cool” about; everything came out though. I didn’t care. Even topics I was very hesitant, shy, and ashamed to talk about came out. He knows me better than any other person in the world knows me.

I didn’t know if I felt better or worse afterwards. There was a ton that was said and a ton of stuff to think about. I did realize one thing though and that’s the entire point of this post: depression is a giant neon sign pointing you towards things you need to pay attention to. It’s literally your soul crying for help. And you need to listen to it.

Something about “listening to yourself” and “figuring out what you really need as a person,” you know the bullshit people always tell you. I always viewed this as a negative; I only seen things I needed to improve upon. Knowing yourself is above all knowing your flaws and weaknesses and improving upon them. The view of myself from the start is negative. My depression is my problem to deal with, and that it’s the primary thing that needs to be dealt with. It isn’t what is causing you problems that is the issue, the issue is depression itself. “Just feel better! It’ll be okay! Maybe you’re overreacting.” That’s what I tell myself. I see my feelings themselves as the problem and not something that is a part of me. It’s hard to explain.

I think what I’m getting at is I treat depression like the problem itself instead of a symptom of something else. This might be a trivial realization, but I’ve never had it stick in my head like it did yesterday. To me it seems so profound, one of those “ah-ha!” moments that is so damn obvious I wonder how I didn’t realize it in the first place.

If you really want to know yourself, you can search inside all you want, but it seems if you ignore yourself long enough something will eventually happen and cause you to spiral into depression. Depression is the souls way of screaming out in protest to something in your life, some immense problem that is tearing you apart. It’s well past dissatisfaction or anxiety or discomfort or unhappiness; it’s the final fucking straw where your soul has had enough with something so antithetical to itself that you feel disgusted as a person. It’s not the depression itself that needs fixing, it’s whatever problem is making you depressed in the first place.

Part of this seems to play back into the self-esteem dribble I was really into a few months ago. One of them was “owning yourself” and being perfectly honest with yourself. I’ve been ignoring the causes of my depression for the longest time, trying to play things cool, trying to “man up” and just be happy, all while ignoring what my soul has been trying to desperately scream to myself. Tell myself the depression is the problem, not the symptom of some soul sickness. Just deal with the depression and not fix it. Maybe that’s why I’m so depressed? I haven’t been acknowledging the stuff deep within my soul, only ignoring it, hiding it behind the facade as best as I can. Limp on day to day, week after week, and just be cool. Don’t be weird. Don’t feel too much. Don’t get attached despite having a heart that loves to get attached to people and craves attention. I’m just fooling myself and lessing my value. I am the way I am, and there isn’t anything to be gained by ignoring it. As my friend said, “You are the only ‘you’ in the world. The only Jeremy that is as perfect as you are.” While I still mostly hate the Jeremy that I am, I’m going to have to learn to love him and give him what he needs, because he is a total dick otherwise.

Note: In desperation I finally called and made a therapist appointment for myself. Yay me. It can’t hurt anything, right?

Peterson’s 12 Rules of Life Kinda Sucks

Disclaimer before everyone jumps my shit: I actually enjoy the book so far. When you have a blog called Everything Sucks and every post has been titled “[Topic] Sucks” you need to keep with tradition. I’m sorry if it sounds kinda click baity, but it sounds a ton better than “12 Rules of Life is A Decent Book but Here are Some Complaints I Have About It.” Just for the giggles of it I made the corresponding banner so you can see what I’m talking about:

This looks and sounds stupid.

I think I might get shit on for writing this post. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that has been so well-loved and well-received by nearly everyone that I myself just can’t get into. The only other book that comes close, I think, was the terrible Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiosiakawakaia, and I really don’t understand how I haven’t written a post about that awful fucking book yet. This puts me in a strange mindset: maybe the people that like this book — everyone that is — are wrong? Or maybe they all see the obvious wonder and greatness of this book and I’m the only idiot that doesn’t “get it.” I’m leaning towards the latter because why wouldn’t I? Seriously though, my supervisor has read the book and loved it. Her brother is currently reading the book and loves it. A few bloggers I follow have written about the book and they appeared to have also loved the book. Goodreads gives the book a 4 out of 5 which for Goodreads standards is amazing. Reviews on Amazon have also given the book a 4.6 out of 5, which, yeah, is really good. The consensus is that the book is good. And I don’t feel that way somehow.

I also want to say that I’m ignorant of any “controversy” that Peterson is apparently known for. I went into the book being a clean slate of opinions on Peterson himself, so this slightly grumpy post has nothing to do with me thinking he’s a bad person or being mad about whatever the hell it was that pissed people off. I don’t know about any of it.

Currently, I’m about a quarter of the way halfway through the book. (This is considering that reading three six out of the twelve rules should be a quarter halfway at least. I don’t know how much Peterson decides to rant after the twelfth rule either. It could be a lot.) and while it is a bit early to start critiquing things I’ve noticed a pattern that has been driving me bonkers while reading. I think it’s his writing style. Or his tone. I don’t really know how to sum it up but the book makes me angry when I read it, and sometimes irrationally so.

The problem is not that I disagree with the rules, it’s that I don’t like how he goes about explaining the rules. The first six rules are rather straightforward and (you’d think) should require little in the way of explanation. Rule one is to stand up straight (basically). To have good posture. Rule two is to treat yourself like another person in terms of your self care. That one seemed like it needed a bit of explaining so okay, fine. Rule three is to only have friends that want the best for you. Sounds good to me. Four is about comparing yourself only to who you used to be and not to others. Great one! Rule five: don’t let your kids be jackasses. Yes, agreed. And rule six is don’t shoot up schools/workplaces to only criticize others when your own affairs are in order. And with number six I could see some explaining being required.

The first thing I noted was that Peterson’s chapters are long. Not actually long but consistently longer than I think they need to be. He seems to explain his steps in such a vague and roundabout way that I’m continually wanting him to just wrap things up and move onto the next step. I’ll find myself thinking, “Okay, I get it! Wrap this shit up!” and upon realizing there are ten remaining pages to a chapter wondering why the hell he needs ten pages to make his point. This is made worse by the straightforwardness of most of the steps. I feel that four out of the six are relatively easy to grasp the logic behind so a quick summary should suffice. Nope. Peterson needs to take up thirty pages to make his point on nearly every rule.

Rule two was especially painful to slough through. Summing up his actual reasoning goes something like this: we care for others more than we care for ourselves. He starts off by saying that people frequently don’t take prescribed medicine but are more than happy to give medicine to their dogs or another person they care about. In short, take the care and love you have for others and apply it to yourself! Care about yourself as if you’re in charge of being a third person in charge of yourself! It makes sense and it’s a wonderful way of looking at life.

How does Peterson actually go about explaining this though? He basically uses the thought process from above, but the topic rambles on and on about order and chaos, somehow equating masculinity to order and femininity to chaos. He also gives like a play-by-play of the biblical “fall of man” story from Genesis and while it’s interesting to read even I’m not sure how it plays into caring for yourself despite having recently read the chapter. I can’t recall much of the rambling. I think Peterson was talking about our inherent hatred for ourselves or something. Who knows. It was struggling through this randomness that I found myself wanting him to just get to his point. Wishing for a clear, “This is my rule, and this is how I came upon my rule.”

You have to give Peterson credit for getting people, and myself, riled up though. Check out what I wrote at the end of chapter two; I let loose on the book and this is the first and only time I recall being so angry that I started writing a small essay in the book itself.

IT’S TIME TO RANT BOIS

I get the impression that Peterson likes to hear himself talk or is very cocky about himself. Self-esteem is nice to have but it comes across in a negative way if you overdo it and this is the vibe I get from the book. It seems like he had an offer to write a book about his rules of life (which the introduction conceitedly titled “Overture” describes) and just started packing it full of unnecessary worldview and philosophical things, sort of showing off how smart, wise, and talented he is or something. At best parts of the book like this seem unnecessary, at worst they come off as gratingly self-aggrandizing.

Once again to stress my conflictedness here: I like the twelve rules so far. Each rule that I’ve read through seems legit enough to adopt into my life. I haven’t came across a single rule where I’ve shaken my head and thought, “Nope. Peterson is full of shit. I’m not following that rule.” Everything makes sense. It’s just the writing and style of the book that pisses me off.

But I have to admit it’s nice to not enjoy a book as much as you’d think you’d enjoy it. Whenever I read self-help books I usually find myself agreeing with the author too much; after all, a published writer with a wildly successful book can’t be wrong, right? I’ve always been wary of this like it’s a sign that I’m too gullible with my reading or something. So it’s refreshing to actually disagree with someone for once and to be reminded that books are written by flawed and opinionated humans just like myself who could be wrong, or at the very least are someone I don’t have to automatically agree with. In this aspect 12 Rules is stupidly refreshing to read. It gets me thinking. It gets me saying to myself, “Huh? That’s fucking stupid.” It gets my blood boiling. It makes me write paragraph-long rants at the end of each chapter bitching about what Peterson has written. But somehow at the same time I mostly agree with the book. His twelve rules are something that I really think about adopting into my own life. The book is good, I just wish Peterson would keep his ranting a bit more on topic, or not come across as so confident that he appears overwhelmingly cocky and stuck on himself. But those are just like, my opinions, man.