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Bad family relationship: why I'm a loser


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So after all this time I think I have finally pieced it together. Workinprogress linked me some material in a post talking about psychological needs. I will regretfully announce I lack security, connection, self esteem and the other one which I forgot. This was always at the back of my mind somewhere but I always dismissed it because I thought I could just suck it up and move on. Here's some back story to put us in context (bear with me; I never talk to my parents so here is everything I know):

My mother is English and she did a lot of travelling in the 80s. At one point she came to develop an interest for Tibet which led her to meet my father, a Tibetan, in the early 90s who grew up in exile in Nepal due to the chinese invasion in the 50s. So eventually they had a child while living in Germany in '93 (my older brother) who came out severely retarded. So some time after that they moved off to England and had me in 2000.

If there is one thing I would say about my father it would be that he never adjusted to western culture. And it wasn't just that. He was a very miserable, selfish and unsociable person. He was also a complete beta loser and he didn't even try to do anything with his life, he didn't have a job and couldn't even drive. As a result I grew up in an unstable household and my parents never had any affection for each other, often having arguments. My mother was the balls of the family and most of the time she would be working. So I was treated to awkward days out with my father most of the time as a young child (except they weren't that awkward because my father was immature enough so that his company could be enjoyed by my equally immature mind). In those years my brother was in foster care because it was too difficult for my parents to raise me and him in the same house. He occasionally was taken over to our house for weekends though.

Fast forward to when I'm 10. My mother has an affair with another guy and he is living with us to this day. My father finds out and finally my parents get a divorce. At the time I didn't really care because I had yet to feel the effects of all those 10 years of my life coming back to haunt me. A year later my brother died of a fit in the night. Again I didn't care. But I cried at the funeral because I was young (a complete pussy might I add) and it was a bit like watching a sad movie.

I grew estranged from my father and my mother's new partner did his best to fill the gap but it was too late by then. The last time I visited my father was about 18 months ago. I was 15 at the time and it was a very strange day. He was living at a Buddhist centre in a small shitty flat of a kind I remember in the days of my childhood on short visits. We didn't do much that day; just long walks talking philosophy and religion etc. And a shite meal at the local supermarket cafe. I mean who even eats at those shit holes? He was very strange as I remember him. I also realised a few things that irked me. The first being he had an awful lot to say about the shithole of a town he lived nearby and the local area that was completely absurd and inplausible. He said they were building nuclear submarines in these abandoned looking shipyards. I thought to myself- "this is his life, complete monotony and no meaning. Going to the same shitty place to eat everyday and living off money that he managed to scrounge from the divorce. He makes up shit about the area to make his life interesting." Tbh he was always like this to an extent. He said it was depressing himself too. After that I stopped replying to his calls and texts. I never text anyone anyway because I am an unsociable shit. I never receive anything from him on my birthday or at Christmas either.

I don't think my father is a bad person. He is just responsible for the pain in my life and I can't find it in myself to forgive him.

So how has this all affected me? Firstly my poor father figure in my life has made me weak growing up. I was a cry baby growing up and I never liked sport. I was a mild social outcast. I only ever had friends because they liked the fact I was pleasant company and loyal. He never encouraged me to learn about my Tibetan heritage and I was only ever treated to visits to my Tibetan relatives in Switzerland at the behest of my mother. This carried over to my teenage years where I have poor self esteem, a lack of connection to other people, recurring spells of depression and most of all: my inability to love anyone. I can't be affectionate to others, although I have casual friends whose company I enjoy I have never had an attachment to anyone since my early childhood. I often hate myself and other people with a negative outlook on life. I am also hopeless with the ladies. I never grew up with affection so I am bereft of it now. I never had anyone to relate to in my life and I am very lonely to this day.

To find an escape I think I subconsciously took to videogames, music and the world of my imagination where I could feel love and attachment but not express it to other people, which made me feel uncomfortable. I am unable to be nice to other people except through deeds and I am very ungrateful. My mum's boyfriend gets mad at me all the time for it which makes me feel very insecure. I have always been dreamer though and I think my dreams of being in a metal band and being an engineer etc. are a manifestation of my need for escape from unhappiness and inadequacy.

I wish I could set things straight with my father and make up for the lost time I have with him, also explore my Tibetan heritage, before he is too old but I lack the guts and I am afeared of things going bad and it being a big waste of time and I will only feel worse afterwards.

There is a big hole in my life but I don't know how to patch it up.

Edited by Schwing
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Alright, Matthew. Let's begin like... somewhere. ;) Also, I apologize in advance if my reply does not make much sense. It is pretty late but I felt the need to get involved. Probably, because I think you are a real nice guy.

First of all, good work! I mean it. Getting this out in the open is the first step towards, how to put it... re-adjustment? Something like that. You know what I mean: Being able to live a quality life. So, kudos to you. Also, being open and honest like that is a great thing.

Next, I would like to tell you that you are not a loser. But I won't. Because you already know that. All you gotta do is start to actually believe it. When I read your introduction post, you know "ello you cunts" and such, I noticed that I know this kind of behavior. It reminded me of myself when I was at your age. I had a similar father figure, by the way. Like you said, you lack self-security. Insulting people and keeping people at a distance is one way to feel secure. They never get close enough to actually harm or hurt you. You also explained the reason why you want to keep people at a distance: Because you are already hurt and you fear being hurt again. Your father did not manage to transfer a lot of security to you, so it is reasonable to distrust people and their deeds. But deep inside, you are a nice and loving person. So that's that.

You also feel secure when you call yourself a "pussy", a "loser" or any name of that kind. As a loser or a pussy, there is not much you can do wrong. You do not have to dare anything. You do not have to show anything that people could judge. And when they judge you, you won't be hurt if they judge you to be a loser, because you already labeled yourself a loser. This is your current way of coping with your own insecurity. But rest assured, I believe you are not so special. ;) In fact, many people do act like that and do not even know it.

That you cried at your brothers funeral is a good thing and you should start to view it as a good thing. You lost your brother. That hurts. Its horrible. Life was pretty damn tough to you at that young age. Not caring about it was your way to cope with this situation. What else should you have done? There was no shelter, no safe place to mourn. Your parents did not deliver such safe place and you had to find a way to move forward. To survive.

The reasons why you cannot develop an attachment to anybody probably all hide in your family situation. You did not learn to love or be loved. Although, we all learn a certain way of being loved. For me, that way was aggression, hatred and anger. My parents would always fight, when I was a kid. And afterwards, they would punish me for their issues. So, I learned that aggression is love. And boy, even though I grew up and learned a new way to love, I am still influenced by my childhood memories and experiences. The same will probably apply for you. You learned a certain destructive kind of love and you will have to invest hard work to "correct" this way into something more productive.

So, a few suggestions on what you could try to get a little more quality in your life:

First of all, your father. You said, you do not think that he is a bad person. That is good! And important. Because he is your father, no matter what he did or did not. Even when you are 30 or 40, he will still be your father and you will still have to deal with that fact somehow. So, since you do not hate him but cannot forgive him, you could instead try to understand him. And all I mean is to understand, not to support what he does or does not. Just to understand. He might have been depressed ever since he moved to the western world and never really had the strength to overcome this depression. His way of life might also be a simple way to cope with the fact that he isn't happy but feels to weak to change it. May be, he just reached his limits at some point. No matter what or why, he is that person and he will most likely stay that person.

Second, I would say it might be useful to improve the situation at home. If your mothers boyfriend gets angry with you because he believes you are ungrateful and the result is that you feel insecure, that is an issue that should be dealt with. And the best way to deal with it would be honesty, I believe. If you ever get the chance to talk to your mother's boyfriend, do that. Tell him about why you act the way you do. Tell him, that it is nothing personal, but you are trying to deal with all that crap that happened. And if you do not feel brave enough to talk to him, that is the first thing you should say. Literally. "I would like to talk to you about an issue, but I do not feel brave enough". If he is a reasonable person, the conversation will carry itself. 
I suggest talking to him, because when people talk, people get the chance to understand. Understanding precludes arguments. Also, since you keep people at a distance, it would be good to practice opening up and getting people closer. Not like, anybody. But people you would determine worthy enough to be close to you.

The next thing is a general thing: Fear. Determine what it is that you are afraid of. Not like, well ... spiders or something. But what causes you to feel insecure. Find out what triggers you. And when you know what triggers your insecurity, engage in that situation. If you are afraid of something, do it at least once. If you are still afraid of it, do it twice. If you are still afraid of it, do it four times. Do it until you are not afraid anymore. This is the only way to gain confidence and security. By testing and practicing your skills. Do you know those people who are always like "Can you do this or that for me, because I can't do it"? If you always find a way to avoid doing it, you will never gain the confidence to do it when you need to.
So the first thing could be: Be nice. The next time your mind tells you to call people cunts or call yourself a loser, do not do it. Instead, find a different approach that is not destructive and does not reinforce your fears.
After that, another thing is important: If it does go wrong, it does not mean it is wrong to do it. A single defeat is not a final defeat. Sometimes, things do not work out. But that does not mean that you shouldn't try. You are young and you never learned to overcome obstacles or conflicts. Now is the right time to learn it. So, go and talk to your father. Next time you see him, tell him that you would like to have more father-son time and less nuclear submarine talk. Just try it. What could go wrong?

In addition, learn to boost your self-security. Whenever you tell yourself to procrastinate in any way, get right to the situation you tried to procrastinate. Dive right in. If you feel weak, get down, do push ups until your arms really do feel weak. A nice side effect is that this will cause your body to release testosterone, which has another nice side effect: You will feel strong and confident. Some kind of sport should be on your weekly schedule.

And one last thing: If you can, try to see a therapist. It is not shameful to see a therapist. If you have to deal with depression on a regular basis, you should have somebody at your side that can actually guide you through it. Also, I believe that the death of your brother might still be an issue for you. It could even have traumatized you. So, if you can, just give it a try.

In sum, I can only reinforce my statement that I believe you are a good guy. You seem to be intelligent and you have the precision to see what is wrong and verbalize it. So, you are way ahead of many other people who are unhappy and do not know why. And if strangers like me can see that you are one smart fellow, you should also be able to do so.

Sorry for that huge wall of text. I thought it might be of help to you. If not, just ignore me. ;)  And now, go chase your dreams and grow and thrive while you do so.

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This is the best thing I have ever read. I had serious doubts when I first made this post. The community here is awesome and I can rely on everyone all the time. This is just what I needed. Every word depicts everything perfectly. You are an amazing person thank you so much.

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Thanks for this open and vulnerable post Mathew. To do this (even in a semi-anonymus-spae) like the Internet takes a lot of bravery.  

I see some similarities to my live and my relationship to my parents. A weak father figure leaving me somewhat insecure and afraid of showing feelings. I personally still struggle with accepting my father as he is and instead pretending him to be more "normal" and reliable then he is in reality because the reality hurts. I think this is one reason for the insecurity I have in all areas of my life and the tendency to see things the way I want them to be and not the way they are.

I don't hink I can add something to this awesome comment of Robert but I just wanted to thank you both because that made me think about the roots of my own insecurities.

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  • 1 year later...

1) Thanks for sharing, Schwing, really. Your story makes me feel less lonely. And reminds me of what I am taking for granted. I can only hope you've been feeling better & living a better life.

2) I've been reading about a psychological defense mechanism termed "sublimation". It is, very basically, transforming the energy of the shitloads of anger we have into art, for example. So if you do get to be in a metal band (or start a one-man-band like Nine Inch Nails), get that shitstorm, all those feelings-thoughts out of your system and turn 'em into harmless sounds, or other forms of art. But the key, I think, is to do it for the sake of your own well-being instead of for recognition/admiration. Now i should actually be suggesting the idea to myself too.

3) Fuck machismo! I think it's one of the root causes of much misery in our lives (e.g. machismo dictates that men who cry are pussies/losers, without rational arguments, while science & art both say that crying, especially in certain situations, is a fucking NEED.)

Good luck, man! I mean it.

PS: if your PP is indeed Berserk's Guts, you rock dude! Berserk is a great example of sublimation. I'd bet the author has some degree of misanthropy when he created it. He got shit off his chest; his audience enjoyed it. 

Edited by Libresianus
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On 12/27/2016 at 1:12 AM, Schwing said:

This is the best thing I have ever read. I had serious doubts when I first made this post. The community here is awesome and I can rely on everyone all the time. This is just what I needed. Every word depicts everything perfectly. You are an amazing person thank you so much.

I might be wrong, but this writing of yours shows that you are capable of love, in the general sense.

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