Learning to be myself

Discussion in 'Ages 30-39' started by Thelongwayhome27, Sep 24, 2017.

  1. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    In this entire authensity discussion I think this is something to keep in mind. Adaptation has been the motor behind survival since the primordial soup and humans have become the grandmasters of adaptation. If humans have one great skill it is this and therefore adaptation is pretty much part of our authensity. But these everchanging days that has become rather complicated. Right now we live in a very complex social world where we can worry about how we come across to a bunch of people we know very little of and likely will never meet on a forum using fake names;) I mean, it was easy being authentic when you lived in the iron age in a small hamlet of 20 people and only saw other people at the occasional annual meeting. I totally agree that it's good to give enough room for who you are and for what you want, but I don't think you should blame yourself for trying to fit in with a different crowd. It doesn't make you (or anyone else) a fake person, it's just something we have always done and always will do.
  2. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival


    "Iron cage." Hmm....You sound like you have knowledge in sociology.

    There is a concept in sociology called "The Iron Cage (of beaurocracy)"

    Basically means due to our technology and systems (eg: welfare), people are forced to interact with each other within these systems in highly artificial, inauthentic, robotic ways to get their needs met. Being truly authentic within a system wont identify within the system, and its not as though ones authenticity is "rejected", it's more that their authenticity just doesn't measure or register within the system.

    This is a painful concept for us humans, because humans must be authentic and non-robotic for relationships to work.
  3. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    Nah, I don't have a particular interest in sociology. It's just that certain things make sense:)

    I don't agree with your words on (in)authenticity though: we like to see being authentic and being real as a higher goal, but any environment has it's limitations and to survive we simply need to adapt. If we see adaptation as inauthentic, than inauthenticity is authentic. While I do understand what you guys mean with being authentic (I have watched an episode or two of Jersey Shore), I don't think we should see adaptation as something negative. I don't think it's a black or white thing about being strictly true to yourself or not, but rather about finding the right balance between being true to yourself and giving in when dealing with people with different interests. Paradoxically, when we give in to people with different interests it's often in our own interest (we don't do that for pure altruistic reasons, right?) and is therefore staying true to ourselves:) At least: that's my point of view.
    Johhny Bravo likes this.
  4. Johhny Bravo

    Johhny Bravo Every temptation is another chance of life revival

    I know what you mean. Theres a kind of push and forcing for peoplw to be authentic, which this force destroys.

    Yeah we all learned to be inauthentic for survival means. Adaptation is a friend and so ones inauthentic self shouldnt be shamed or put aside; Jung what might be called our Shadow.

    If theres drowning out of this " noble inauthentic" part of us then nothing good will come out of however superhuman efforts are put into "being authentic."
  5. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 14

    Yes indeed and I agree. Authenticity must be a nuanced concept. I don't mean here to "be yourself" beyond any absolute limit.

    And it is very good I think to keep in mind the evolutionary perspective of why we adapt our personality in order to fit in with a group. This way we are not hard on ourselves for "not being authentic". You're a human and you're social by definition. You need to fit in in order to survive. You place this above the also very necessary need of expressing (at least a little...) who you really are. And yep there can be a conflict between the two.

    What can I say ? I think in my case, and perhaps in the case of many who feel "pain" at not being authentic, there is a sense that we disown are selves way more then necessary. That for us the instinct to blend in is out of control. For me it's like almost this automatic process. I literally seem to forget who I am when I'm with others. Has this been learned when I was younger ? Does this result from the interactions I had with my parents when I was very young ? Is this just something that for me is very biologically ingrained ? Who knows.

    In any case - the problem is I disown who I am. I disown who I am, in order to get the acceptance, the approval, the liking of other people. And I do it to such an extent that I don't feel happy. I do it to such an extent that I don't develop authentic intimacy, authentic relationships with others. I do it to an extent that even if I con someone into thinking I'm they're friend, it doesn't feel fulfilling inside.

    Any social interaction, I think, is a negotiation. The most authentic relationships still require an adaption from the parties involved. The problem, again, is when one does it way more then he needs to. When one literally rejects who he is, in the presence of others. Because he thinks he's wrong.

    Without being too dramatic or whiny, this is what I feel inside when I socialize, often enough. This sense of disowning who I am. I probably started doing this in my early teens. It was, at that point, very automatic, purely survivalistic. As a result most relationships I've built, from my teens, were unfulfilling ones. Instead of going after like minded people, after "my people", I went after people I though were "cool enough" and would accept me. At whatever the price. It was primordial to be accepted and not be identified as a reject. Later on, as I matured and grew in my lack of happiness, I was able to, little by little, start being conscious of these behaviors of mine.

    An important factor in recognizing the problem was, asides from the general lack of satisfaction, some rare moments when I interacted with people a lot more like myself. This happened especially while travelling. As we all know, people are more themselves when they travel, meet people in a less formal way. Outside they're normal "life base camp" where they operate from. These interactions, and the way I was behaving in them, showed me who I could be. How it's possible to interact with others without disowning myself.

    Nowadays, I just notice quite consciously how I still disown myself more then necessary in order to be accepted by whatever group I find myself in.

    While still understanding the evolutionary biological explanation for this behavior, I must, I think, start looking more and more for people who are more like minded to me. It's just kind of hard, once you hit your 30s, to find so many new social interactions.

    Finding positive mirroring from like minded individuals is essential I think. It's the mission we have in adolescence actually, when you're supposed to find yourself. Positive mirroring means being accepted for who you are. One must find his tribe. If he does, he then feels comfortable being himself in a balanced way (not overly submissive, neither overly anti conformist) - he then is free of the thirst to be accepted by everyone. He knows he's okay. He can interact with not like minded people and be okay being himself. This doesn't mean there is no adaptation in order to interact but there is no disowning.
    MissingSelfCompassion likes this.
  6. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    Glad to see you're getting back on a long streak. Try and think of what happened to end your last one, and before you know it, you'll be at one month, back to 58 days, and beyond...
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  7. MissingSelfCompassion

    MissingSelfCompassion Active Member

    I often see myself as a "yes" person, desperate to get people to like me. I want to feel validated. From examination of my past, I can see how I got here. I understand this idea of disowning yourself. My desire for validation has had things come out of my mouth that were disingenuous. The benefit here is in beating myself up. You a) do not like me, or b) like me because I am pretending to be something I am not. This is a win-win for my negative self-image, my depression. "I have no friends, or the ones I do have don't really like me, because they don't know me." All of this is designed by this voice of low self-worth inside me.

    I isolate to avoid the pain. In fact, I am in a chair, unable to sleep in bed next to my partner because she seemingly radiates shame in my mind. I don't deserve her. I have burdened her. She'd be better off without me. I should hug her tightly when I have these thoughts, but instead I'm isolating myself trying to sleep in a chair. Realizing this an hour ago was tough. Yet, I'm still here. Immobilized.

    Being social certainly lightens my mood. It's also triggering. I still think, for me, it's about liking myself. That stupid cliche is a cliche for a reason, I guess.

    I hope you find some outlet, group, or hobby to meet people @Thelongwayhome27. I enjoy your journal and if I ran into IRL, I'd be proud to call you friend.
    Living and Thelongwayhome27 like this.
  8. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Thanks a lot man. Appreciate the words of encouragement. I hope I can build a good new streak. Since my relapse on the 1st of may after 55+ days clean this is my second longest one now. The very last one was about 15 days I think. So I hope I'm on an upward swing. I'm not exactly sure what caused my last slip on the last 15 days streak. That's what's a bit scary. I just was sucked back in for no clear reason. I also almost relapsed last night ... But something in me was strong enough to say don't do it, carry on. I hope I can keep going onward.

    I agree. I think the cliché stands true. Self acceptance. If you manage to self accept you become less needy and desperate for outer approval, beyond the normal need for it. How to get to self acceptance though ? ...

    Thanks a lot man. Kind words. May we both find answers, clarity and inner calm going forward.
  9. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 15

    I had a close call last night and a part of me wanted to act out. I had had a few drinks on a night out as well. If I would have had more, or if I would have also smoked weed, I probably would have relapsed.

    Today my mood was pretty grey. I was a bit hungover and tired. It's clearly the type of mood that makes the cravings more intense. A part of me today wanted to act out. I even indulged in fantasy a few times during the day. Fantasy with fetishistic elements to it. The lust was strong today. They way I looked at girls was lustful. I ogled them and had lustful thoughts. Made me feel kind of ashamed. There is also this strong need to have sex. I think it's addicted related rather then healthy.

    I've gone out more lately, with summer here and the fact that I have had more time on my hands. It's kind of been wearing me thin. The good part is that it's interaction but on the other side it has been too related to drinking. And I'm also physically tired because I don't sleep most nights more then 7 hours. When I go out I always sleep bad, even if I don't drink too much. Even if I go to bed late, I'll wake up early.

    I got to try to take care of myself better in the next few days and get some rest.

    Right now I feel emptiness, hornyness, sadness, loneliness, anger.

    Onward ... lol.
  10. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    I can understand that. Like I said: you need to find a balance. But I also firmly agree with @MissingSelfCompassion that this all starts with accepting who you are. In the end if you are able to accept yourself you will see that all this trying to get approval from others is a complete waste of time. At least I always find people to be a lot accepting of me than I am myself:) Accepting yourself can be pretty tough and is something I'm struggling with for years. What I find helpful myself is not getting caught up in negative thinking. Over the years I've really become a grandmaster in overloading myself with thoughts . While that can be beneficial at times, since most of those thoughts are negative overall it doesn't do me any good and has left my with low self-worth. These days I learn to use meditation and mindfulness to not get caught in these thoughts and it helps. It's not like my feelings of low self-worth are suddenly gone, but every now and then I take a walk and suddenly realize that my mind is nice and quit. And that is really great feeling:)
  11. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Day 16

    A lot of the shame and guilt of acting out seems to come from wanting to hide such actions. From not being able to admit them to others. For whatever reason we are ashamed to say "yeah I MO 3 times a day". Or "yea I watch P because I like it", "yesterday I watched it for 4 hours". Or even more so, yea "yesterday I went to see an escort". "Why man ?" "Well, I don't have a girl, I'm really clumsy at getting girls and I was horny, what can I do ?"

    If it wasn't for society telling us what is okay to do and what is not okay, would we feel such shame for "acting out" ? Would we live double lives ?

    Society tells us the real man is the one who doesn't MO or PMO, he's able to make money, get girls, or if not have a lovely wife and protect his children. He is Harvey Specter. Would Harvey spend hours watching P or getting escorts ? Hell, we wouldn't see him the same way anymore. He wouldn't hold up to the standards.

    So ... Does true healing reside in learning how to live without such actions or isn't that a form of repressing something that is natural ? Isn't healing to be found, ironically, in completely and unapologetically accepting this part of us ? What if this is who we are ? What if we are more horny then other men, and we're just brainwashed into thinking we're addicts and broken. What if all the very real addiction is driven by the shame and the repression ?

    How much of acting out's negative effects actually come not from the acting out itself but from our perception of how wrong it is to act out. From the fact that, driven by this shame, we hide it and live a double life. If we were strong enough to act out and not hide it, would it have such a bad effect on us ?

    I've always had this intuition that when I'll totally accept all my sexual behavior, then I will be able to stop doing it in a compulsive and unhealthy way.

    When I'll stop feeling shame for doing this or that thing, then I'll stop doing it.

    It's also kind of what you do in a 12 step group in my understanding. Step 1 is admitting your behavior to others. It's a form of accepting it by making it public, yet in what is supposed to be a safe environment. Healing then is built on that.

    I wrote this on my last Day 1, after having acted out compulsively for 3 days straight :
    I don't mean, with this post, to discourage people from stopping P and sexual compulsion. I'm just honestly analyzing my own commitment. The foundation of my own effort. This may or may not apply to other people. For example if I would come here because I have PIED and my main motivation would be that then this probably isn't valid to such a person. Also, I admit there is "darkness" and "compulsion" in the behaviors, or at least it feels like it when I do them. There is some sort of violation of my values. And there is isolation, shame, guilt, a double life. All sorts of negativity. What I mean to inquire is that much of the darkness (including the behavior itself) may come from not accepting who we are (sexuality included). As a result, we don't seek and find the life that is rewarding and our sexuality comes out in unhealthy and compulsive ways. The way out for such an individual would indeed be to practice not acting out in compulsive and unhealthy ways but also, more importantly, to work on self acceptance, on understanding these behaviors. Not on, as I have many times done it, acting as if they are not me. As if I'm a person who doesn't do this. I find doing this usually leads me back to acting out sooner or later.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2019
    Johhny Bravo likes this.
  12. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    @Living - Thanks man. I totally agree with you. Self acceptance is the holy grail I'm after. I'm still trying to figure out how to find it though. The techniques you mention (being conscious of negative inner dialogue and mindfulness) are good tools indeed. They work better when I'm alone but around others self acceptance becomes way more fleeting. I think it's, in the end, my fragile ego. Good news is I have a degree of control in working on my ego by becoming more humble.
    Living likes this.
  13. Eternity

    Eternity Patience

    Great post and question. I guess we'll never know, considering how society (or if I may be controversial, religion) has told us that sex is not something to be spoken of, and that touching oneself is an absolute sin. It's funny how something natural is considered bad, but drinking and smoking is just fine, or even encouraged.

    I think the real problem is the Internet and how it's given us instant access to anything and for free, which has been terrible for hungry individuals. Had it not been around, things would be different. Alas, this is reality and has to be dealt with.
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  14. -Luke-

    -Luke- Well-Known Member

    The thing is - and I can only speak for myself - I'm definitely not more horny than other guys who are not addicted. I don't remember the last time I was horny before watching porn. It's the other way around: I am bored and I don't feel any sexual energy at all, then I stumble upon something and I go to a porn website and that's when I feel the rush. It's the novelty, it's the rush, it isn't sexual energy. When I was in my early twenties I had a girlfriend for four years and I prefered porn over her lots of times. I watched porn while she was sleeping next to me. I had many opportunities to have sex with her in real life and turned it down because porn was more exciting. And that's the part where it isn't natural anymore. Watching two people having sex instead of doing it yourself? Not a good idea.
    TrueSelf, doanl, Living and 2 others like this.
  15. Living

    Living Well-Known Member

    First of all: I agree with @-Luke- that we are probably not more horny than other men. I guess most men in modern day society watch porn or have watched porn. At least most of my friends have. But for some reason we get more caught up in it then they do. There can be lots of reasons for that. For me it has always been an escape to a 'happy place'. There are parts of me that I have always found hard to accept (even though others could accept that part of me with any doubt), so in my case I do think a lack of acceptance plays a role, but that's more about accepting me than it was about accepting my sexual behaviour.

    However, I do agree with what you are hinting at with the last question. I honestly could not tell you if porn addiction exists, but we can all see that everybody on here is having problems related to porn. I think the way a lot of the guys on here are dealing with their problems leads to shame and low self-worth. For example the fact that a lot of us are not able to accept that slips are just as much a part of this journey as our streaks are only leads to self-defeating thoughts and feelings. With the black-and-white approach a lot of us use it really is no wonder so many of us keep struggling. And I think that is something we are responsible for ourselves. When you talk about brainwashing I don't think we 'are brainwashed', but that we brainwash ourselves. Another example: by thinking of ourselves as addicts we will act as addicts. I think it will benefit us to distance who we are from what we do. If we personify ourselves with our behaviour it will be next to impossible to change our behaviour. After all, this is who we are, right?
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  16. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Things have been pretty rocky the last few days. I've PMOed a few times since my last post. My life is pretty disorganized, feeling like I'm in a rut. I've been going out, here and there, but it often felt forced, unfulfilling. I feel like it's been, mostly, a waste of energy, time, money, health. I've also had a lot of "need" for drinking when I go out, or other ways to escape such as weed, for example. I think all these choices are adding up and creating apathy, depression, lack of direction. And I'm procrastinating on things I should be taking care of. I've told myself I'm practicing "being social" but is this actually worth it at this point (these kinds of outings) and also how much of this going out isn't a way for me to allow myself to drink and escape ?

    I was thinking, today (it was one of the only clear ideas that came to me) : I need to stop drinking completely and I need to stop drugs completely.

    I have probably a lot of psychological and emotional problems and I can't afford to drink like others. Maybe over time it's doing me a lot more bad then I think. A lot more then to other people who have more balance, more clear and stable lives, paths.

    I think these things can be even more detrimental, to me, then the P. The P should, ideally, go to though, sure.

    To be honest though, regarding P, if I would PMO under 3 times a week, and it would be under 15 mins (so no long edging sessions) and it would be some reasonable vanilla realistic stuff, I don't think it would be such a problem. The problem is that P usually leads me to breaking these limits and it also increases the sexual compulsive urges which often lead me beyond P.

    I was thinking I'm still chasing my 20s. I can't seem to let go of the pain of feeling I missed out on many things that could have been, in my 20s. As a relatively young 30s guy, I'm still running after the 20s. And as a result I can't build a new life, from here. I can't accept a simpler life. Let go of the crazy highs and idealistic ideas I have about youth. All the "fun". I think the drinking, the drugs, even the PMO are all related to this incapacity to let go of the past.

    A life is still possible for me from here. I can make a decent living, without doing something too spectacular. Maybe I can find a partner if I achieve some balance. Maybe that's enough. But if I cant truly let go of the past, it seems I can't build this new, more peaceful, life.

    Problem is, partly, my whole life system is dysfunctional because I am dysfunctional. For example my friendships are, often toxic. I say I wanna stop alcohol but most my "friends" drink a lot. It's the only way I can handle them. To drink heavily when I'm with them. Otherwise I feel so disconnected from them. I say I wanna stop drinking and I already have a few invitations in the coming weeks/months that imply heavy alcohol usage.
  17. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    Some of the things in this comment hit home for me, in a different kind of context.

    Look at the first few posts you've made in this thread. Do you think that you've made real progress since then? I guess I've never had a complete understanding of what recovery would look like to you. Do you consider yourself an addict with specific symptoms you're trying to heal from?
    Thelongwayhome27 likes this.
  18. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    I think recovery means being a healthy person, physically, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually. It would mean understanding the beauty that is within (which is unrelated to achievements) and allowing it to come out rather then repressing it. It would mean to live from a place of joy, love rather then fear and ambition. It would mean understanding and acceptance of the self and a decrease in the dependence to outside approval. It would mean assertiveness (not agression, assertiveness), setting up healthy boundaries, teaching others (from strangers to family) that they need to treat us with respect and that we won't allow unfair treatment (we teach others how they can treat us, what we accept from them or not), it would mean not being a nice guy people pleaser (related to the need for approval at all costs), knowing how to say "no" when that is what's best for me. It would mean more emotional control and stability (not suppression but understanding and management of the emotions). Less and less out of control binges of excess (alcohol, drugs, compulsive behaviors) ; all symptoms of an unhealthy soul. It would mean being more congruent to myself around others, with the risk of being "rejected", not taking rejection that bad. Being able to communicate with women if I'm interested in them. In the end being healthy enough to create, with another healthy person, a beautiful friendship, a romance. Discovering what love actually means. It would mean laughing more sincerely, more often. It would be contentment, inner peace, calmness.
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2019
    Living likes this.
  19. Ereignis

    Ereignis Active Member

    So how exactly does recovery from pornography addiction play into these goals?
  20. Thelongwayhome27

    Thelongwayhome27 Well-Known Member

    Just the usual addiction model. Addiction serves as a way to medicate difficult emotions. These emotions are the result of low self esteem and the life that low self esteem implies. Such a life is uncomfortable and strongly unfulfilling and, as a result, generates a strong need for relief. But it's a faulty way because by numbing the pain we lose the opportunity to process the pain correctly (which I think is the only way to heal) and it also usually increases the lack of self esteem (because the "addict" will unwittingly be hard on himself). The individual with an addictive pattern can start by being less hard on himself if he falls back to his unhealthy method of dealing with his pain. By being mindful of the way he functions (including his addiction, his cravings, where do they come from, when are they strongest?) he can start gaining insight, self knowledge, and as a result of this knowledge, not beat himself up unwittingly if he "slips". Next step is, while knowing there actually is no shame in using, to still not use. Not because he doesn't want to be ashamed (which is an unhealthy motivation source) but because he knows it's not helping him. When one stops using he removes the band aid and everything becomes even more painful (after the initial "recovery" euphoria). If one manages to deal with those underlying issues, which will not be resolved only by not indulging in the addiction, then one starts healing for real. When one heals for real, staying off the compulsive behaviors becomes a lot easier. Because as one heals, he becomes more comfortable and content in his normal life. This craving for pain relief decreases.

    I imagine this isn't highly original, but I guess it makes sense to me and seems to be coherent with my own experience. A lot of pieces seem to fit together.
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2019
    Ereignis and Living like this.

Share This Page