15 votes

Has there ever been a moment where you felt you were doing fine but in hindsight you were a lot more vulnerable/troubled/worse off than you thought?

Around 2 years ago, when I first made a reddit account, I spent a lot of time on AskReddit asking about 'why are women so hard to date' like a personification of the dunning-kruger effect (while I don't think I've really learned anything about dating and socialization since then, I have stopped thinking women don't share the same basic emotions and reactions as men and in general don't think they're so removed from guys). Given that and how little engagement my threads were getting (it's AskReddit, but I didn't know what I was expecting) I was basically ready to be made an incel. Thankfully someone snapped me out of it by calling 12-year old me a neckbeard, which terrified me away from touching dating for a few months at least.

PS: If the answer is "if you don't feel like this you're in trouble, people don't/shouldn't just stop developing like that", I won't be surprised.

5 comments

  1. drannex
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    Absolutely, such is life. Every moment that you feel great, wonderful, fantastic, and/or at the very top of your game - time will go on and you will have more ups and downs past that moment of...

    Absolutely, such is life.

    Every moment that you feel great, wonderful, fantastic, and/or at the very top of your game - time will go on and you will have more ups and downs past that moment of spontaneous courage and excitement.

    As time progresses you will learn more, you will feel more, and you will be something of a slightly different person (especially after two years).

    When you look back you will notice these tendencies and where they were right and just, or where they were wrong and worrisome. This is a positive thing, it means you can look back and appreciate those moments as well as view them critically.

    Be proud that you can change and view past experiences critically through a new separate lens.

    9 votes
  2. [2]
    teaearlgraycold
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    Regarding your story, OP, I wonder if the incel’s idea of an abstract woman is an intentional defense mechanism or just an easy false conclusion to come to. Surely there are plenty of insecure men...

    Regarding your story, OP, I wonder if the incel’s idea of an abstract woman is an intentional defense mechanism or just an easy false conclusion to come to. Surely there are plenty of insecure men that aren’t so separated from women that they can think of a gender in this monolithic way. Do incels intentionally construct what they think of as a “female” to shelter their insecurities? Or is there happenstantially an intersection of insecure and socially isolated men that will naturally come to such a conclusion?

    3 votes
    1. Omnicrola
      Link Parent
      It may be as simple as: "Things aren't going the way I want. But I know the problem isn't with me, so who can I blame this on?" I feel like that covers a wide swath of detrimental behavior. I know...

      It may be as simple as:

      "Things aren't going the way I want. But I know the problem isn't with me, so who can I blame this on?"

      I feel like that covers a wide swath of detrimental behavior. I know I myself have found myself in that mental trap many times over the years. Telling other people what they should do different is easy. Changing yourself is hard.

      4 votes
  3. Atvelonis
    (edited )
    Link
    For sure. Ironically, I actually end up thinking that very thing about periods of my life where I had (at the time) also thought that I'd just "figured it out." Learning and maturation are...

    For sure. Ironically, I actually end up thinking that very thing about periods of my life where I had (at the time) also thought that I'd just "figured it out." Learning and maturation are continuous and never-ending processes.

    Looking back at myself in middle/high school, for instance, it's a bit of a miracle I made it through as well as I did. My experience wasn't outwardly miserable; in fact, I had a normal family life, plenty of good friends, and solid enough grades. Since I had all of the things that our society thinks equate to happiness, I figured that I was in pretty good shape. But waking up and getting through every single day could be a torturous cycle. I didn't understand how to deal with stress in a healthy way, so I just ignored it, struggling to finish even basic academic tasks without annihilating my circadian rhythms in panicked deadline crunches. It certainly didn't help that I got an average of four or five hours of sleep per night, every single night (chicken or the egg?). I had no ability to balance my academic needs with my personal ones, and no way to distinguish productive and mindful behaviors from stress-inducing and obsessive ones. I couldn't focus in class because I was thinking about literally anything that wasn't work, I couldn't focus at home because I was avoiding work, and I couldn't sleep because I had to do the work at some point, and that was the time I chose—this last-minute drive no doubt being a byproduct of the deeply misleading binary I had developed about a need to "get into an elite college or else face eternal poverty, misery, and suffering." In hindsight, there's no reason that any of that was necessary, but at the time I simply hadn't developed the time management and planning skills that I have now, and any ambitions that were drilled into me just exacerbated the issue.

    I don't think I was ever close to suicidal, but I definitely flirted with the concept of being dead (the more sleep-deprived I was, the more intense the feeling; I think I began to conflate the two after a while). I decided by the time I was about 15 that this wasn't an option only because I had really gotten into a couple of hobbies, and dying meant giving them up—and thereby abandoning and/or disappointing the people who were relying on me through them. I cared for my family and friends, but fundamentally the reason for existence that I settled on was "this thing that I like can't continue to exist without me" and also "I like shaping the development of this thing," not "the people I love will be sad if I move on." Individualism to the point of selfishness, simultaneously fueled by both altruism and narcissism (an oxymoron); a complete disregard for the trauma I was theoretically capable of causing. It's not like I was reading Ayn Rand or anything, and my hobbies were good ones that genuinely helped other people via leadership and education, but deep inside my brain lay a nihilistic complex about the inevitability of my death and the subsequent erasure of my ever having existed. I was determined to prevent that from happening by pouring all of my energy into projects that nominally helped other people, but really just made me feel good about my name being on a plaque somewhere. Of course I was also so self-aware about the moral problems with seeking undeserved recognition that when (legitimate) opportunities for it did arrive, I overcompensated in humility and exacerbated my imposter syndrome. It was just one problem after another, and I only started to unravel any of it with the help of a lot of literature and a therapist in college.

    Lacking agency as a child, I focused so much on acquiring the control of my own life associated with adulthood that I forgot to take a look at the scenery I passed along the way. I lost a lot of my childhood to that ever-forward gaze, and the better memories are slipping away too. It hasn't even been that long (so I'm glad I caught on fairly early). It's not a medical thing, simply a matter of where I was focusing my attention. I'm half-terrified of something similar happening to the present, and so make an effort to practice mindfulness daily. I also write down a lot of what I'm grateful for and enjoy doing so that I have some point of reference in the future. I take a fair number of photos, but not so many that I forget to build an actual memory too. I'm unquestionably in a better place now (even mid-pandemic), but having obtained a keener and more nuanced sense of self-perception, it's become increasingly clear that I'm probably going to reminisce about the past in a similarly bittersweet way for my entire life. I think that's what it means to get older; not just to age, but to grow. My takeaway is carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.

    2 votes
  4. Akir
    Link
    That sounds like growing out of adolescence to me. But it's not just adolescence - like @drannex mentioned, everyone's constantly growing. The more you learn about people unlike yourself, the more...

    That sounds like growing out of adolescence to me. But it's not just adolescence - like @drannex mentioned, everyone's constantly growing. The more you learn about people unlike yourself, the more you will experience this feeling.