18 March 2023
Selfish, Arrogant and Self-Centered
Those are words that have followed me throughout my life. Words that were shoved down my throat since I was very young. Words that became synonymous with "Bad Person".
It's so hard to have a clear perception of myself. To look at who I am, what I say or what I do, and be able to analyze that objectively without my own self-loathing biases getting in the way. It's okay if this or that friend does this thing, but if I do it, I’m a bad person, I'm a bad friend. I have no excuse.
I should know better.
It's been a struggle dealing with this part of my personality for so long, and when the uglier sides start showing, when it feels like I'm revealing my true colours, it feels inescapable. Being selfish is such a core part of my being and no matter what I do to go against it, no matter how much self-loathing I get to try and balance it out, I can't change it.
What kind of self-obsessed weirdo makes a website about themselves anyway? Who thinks they're so interesting to warrant so many long-winded rants about their interests on every page, like that matters to anyone but themself? When my friends do it, I cherish it, I see it as wonderful and good. But when I do it, the entire context of my being begins to surface, like I'm indulging in a bad habit or a part of myself that should be suppressed and not encouraged.
I feel so averse to thinking positively about myself because I can't control it. Most times I hate myself, but in the brief moments I allow some self-love and acceptance in, it becomes too much.
Starving for acceptance, it's like I devour it and bounce between states of intense self-loathing and becoming infuriatingly self-aggrandizing as if I'm anything more than the mediocre person I've always been. Hiding behind a veil of art and creativity, as if giving my work to the world somehow justifies me taking up the space that I do in people's minds.
And when people say that they like me, that my work brings them joy, that I'm some form of inspiration, there's always a part of me that gets filled with nausea. I so badly crave the approval of others, and yet, I just as easily get overwhelmed. I'm not supposed to be admired, I'm an awful person who hurts everyone around them, and my presence is best enjoyed from a distance.
I've been thinking about friendship a lot lately. My feelings about it were what compelled me to write this, after all.
I feel like my self-obsession puts a strain on my friendships. I'm only able to express myself in internet environments like this, in writing, and in art, but due to past experiences, it's dangerous to let people get too close, to open up to them directly. They'll see what a self-obsessed asshole I am, how selfish and self-aggrandizing I can be when I neglect to feed myself with dubiously healthy amounts of self-doubt and hatred.
And they'll tell me that. They'll grow to resent me, and after everything that happened, I feel like that is what's going to break me one day...
It feels like I can no longer open my heart to have people I can consider really close or best friends, people I feel I can tell anything to and not only feel understood but not get the self-loathing sentiment telling me to stop feeling joy in myself and how it's a slippery slope to showing everyone how selfish I can truly be.
So instead, I find myself just really struggling to maintain friendships. It's gotten to a point where I can only have friendships with people if we have fixations in common. And when I'm someone who only fixates on their own work and whose fixations stay the same for months, if not years, that leaves a very slim margin on people I feel I can open up to.
And most times, venues such as blogs and journals feel like the safest space for me to express myself because at least I'm not forcing anyone to read my garbage. If they're here, it was a conscious choice to indulge me, and somehow my brain doesn't interpret that as being as bad as directly venting to someone and making them think about me as a person. The more they think about me, the more chances there are of people realizing all these awful things about me… And if they haven't realized these things about me yet, at least now they know I have these issues.
I guess it's a sensitive time for me right now. A time I knew would come, but no amount of mentally preparing myself for it makes it hurt any less… My fixations stagnate, I will cling to one single thing for years, and that's all my brain can find joy in thinking about. But by this time, so many people in my circles have moved on to new interests and fixations.
My mind doesn't function like that, so I feel like I get stuck while everyone moves on to new things and new interests. Sure people can indulge me, but I'm boring. I feel boring and repetitive. Like I can't relate to people anymore… And my friendships start feeling more like acquaintances with little to share other than "I saw this thing that reminded me of you" messages. I do genuinely appreciate exchanging those, don't get me wrong, but it does sadden me in the long run...
Without someone on the same wavelength as me, I feel like I can't share anything. Like I'm not allowed to. Though I'm aware this comes from a past of emotionally abusive and toxic friendships, when talking about myself or anything important to me was regarded as bragging. So when talking about something the other person only feels okay or indifferent to, it feels bad. It makes me hate myself for wasting people's ears with something only I am enthusiastic about. And that instead just leaves me as a listener. I'm happier to listen...
I don't mind listening, people's experiences are often so different from my own, how could I not enjoy it? But when people don't want to talk to me, I have no one to listen to, and when I get yelled at for "Not starting conversations", I only hate myself further. I can't share, I can't listen, so what good am I as a friend? What conversations could I have that don't feel like two strangers forced to talk?
I have nothing worth sharing with people. Nothing people can share an actual conversation with me about that they'd actually be interested in. I had to get this interest in web design which is absolutely impossible to talk with anyone about, who wants to hear about my struggles with making CSS on this website look good? Or how Firefox has no toolbar customization and that single-handedly makes me averse to moving out of Chrome. Hey you guys like Scripts? Tech talk? Internet Archives and saving information for future generations? Feeling bad that this idiot is ranting about their website and you have no idea how to respond to any of their ramblings?
Or maybe I could talk about my OCs again, which is both a blessing and a curse as far as fixations go. Because I love them so much, but it's downright impossible to get most people interested aside from passing comments, and there's a limit to how much I'm willing to share. And considering the emotional attachment I have to them, having them be poisoned as yet another source of doubt and self-loathing makes me want to protect them.
I feel like I could talk about my interests for hours, but nothing makes me feel like I’m allowed to do so in a way that wouldn't be a one-sided conversation where it feels like the other person doesn't really care.
I don't know… I get more and more scared of calling anyone my friend because I don't know how to maintain friendships like this and I constantly feel like I’m losing people and it always hurts so much...
The only people I feel comfortable fully regarding as my friends are those I know IRL because I can sit with them in silence or listen to them talk and it's different because we're there physically. My issue with being unable to talk about my interests for long without feeling nauseous very much remains, but we can still share other things that I can't with online people.
And it often leads me to wonder... If we didn't know each other IRL, would we even still be friends...? The answer scares me...
I wish it wasn't so difficult to feel as reassured by the presence of those I only know online… If we were all neighbours, I'd have so much more to offer…
I wish I wasn't terrified of opening up.
I wish my mind allowed me to talk without making me hate myself.
I wish I could trust people when they say I can talk to them…