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Managing Despair?

by thehusk

There are things I should probably be doing, in order to live a better life. To be a bit less miserable. But I don’t know how to bring myself to actually do them. To be less bad as a person. Because it requires confronting reality. And reality fills me with despair. It requires acknowledging the things that I’ve done, and the worse things that I want to do, and how fucked up it all is. And the fact that I will never be able to connect with another person because of that.

And recognizing all that makes me want to curl up in a ball and die. It makes me want to erase all of existence. To destroy everything. Because what meaning is there in that kind of existence? I’m so completely, totally alone. Not just in the present, but for as long as I’m alive. I will never be able to let anyone else in.

So why bother trying to be a better person? When I’ll always have to hold my true self back?

How do you motivate yourself to try and make things a little less bad? When inside you know that no matter what you do, it will never make things ok? That you will always be alone. The despair is so deep, and there’s no way out. It drains all my energy. I don’t know how to live with it, but the only alternative is death, and I’m too scared of death to kill myself.

The only way I will ever have anyone in my life is through lying to them. And lying only makes you feel more alone. It eliminates any real connection. So it’s pointless.

So I will always be alone. And I don’t know how to be ok with that. That kind of life seems pretty pointless to me. Nothing seems interesting enough to make it worth living.

But I still need to find some way to motivate myself to be a little bit less bad, through all of the despair. Rather than just turning to my worst instincts for a kind of desperate pain relief.

 

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Soda 3/23/2021 - 4:43 am

Who says that you have to pour your heart out and confess every deep dark secret you’ve had in order to have an intimate relationship with anyone?

Everyone has made mistakes they regret but we don’t go around telling people about them, because first it’s none of their business, second they’ll likely to judge you poorly so there’s nothing to gain from it.

You seem to be wrapped up in endless guilt for something you’ve done wrong and you’re letting it ruin your present and future. If it’s in your past then let it stay there.

Most people feel happy and lucky that they “got away with it” without being caught or punished. Or if they were caught, they take their licks and then move on with life.

There are certain lies that are hard to hide, like your age and reflect badly if caught. Which is why it’s difficult to do unless you feel you’ll never see that person again (say you met at a club). If it’s a serious relationship you seek then you’re better off being honest from the start about age for instance.

I’ve heard there are people who are transsexuals and they lie to men that they’ve always been female for example (if they were born male and transitioned). That’s much riskier if they discover your past and a hard lie to live with but some people do it, they call it stealth mode.

If you feel the need to confess then you should tell a trustworthy therapist, sometimes it helps to ‘get it off your chest.’ But don’t let the guilt ruin your life.

thehusk 3/23/2021 - 6:14 pm

It just seems deceptive to start a long term relationship with someone if you know that they’d feel disgusted if they ever discovered the truth about you. It’s information they deserve to know, because it pertains to my character on a deep level. Denying them that seems like wronging them. Which isn’t something you should do to someone you care about. As an extreme example, imagine you discovered your partner used to be part of a terrorist organization that killed people. Would it only matter to you that they’d stopped now, or would the fact that they’d kept this terrible part of themselves from you during the relationship lead you to feel that you’d been deeply wronged and betrayed, and that it was all a lie?

I suppose for me connection implies letting the other person see some of what’s really going on with you, rather than always having to keep up a front. I think there’s a desire for some degree of acceptance there. If that’s not present, I guess it feels kind of like I’m manipulating someone, rather than it being a real relationship. Any intimacy is superficial – it’s a show. I don’t want to have to pretend 24/7.

The worst acts are mostly in my past, but it’s still very much a part of me – I can’t change that.

I’ve talked to specialist therapists about it before, but it didn’t help. It didn’t make me feel any better about it. I don’t know how to stop awareness of this ruining my life. Possibly it’s influenced by the way my mind works – I can’t help seeing myself through the eyes of society. I think again it comes back to a desire for acceptance – I don’t know how to be ok with knowing that everyone hates what I am, especially when part of me thinks they’re right to.

Soda 3/24/2021 - 3:09 am

If you’re not famous then they won’t find out unless you tell them. As for the example of being an ex-terrorist, some people have had a change of heart and then they advocate against terrorism and are seen as heroes.

I think there are certain levels of misbehavior that people will tolerate, but I guess it just depends on how bad it is. Think of the secrets men might keep from women today to protect them or keep the relationship, such as being part of a mafia or spy organization or who knows what else.

Maybe you might find an open-minded person who won’t care and will forgive you so long as you’re no threat to anyone. Of course that’s not something that you admit right away, once you build that trust then you tell them.

If for instance I was in the CIA, then I wouldn’t keep that a secret for too long since my career could put my significant other at risk. If I did something wrong in the past then I’d keep it buried unless it was relevant for her to know.

If it’s something like an STD then your partners have every right to know since by getting intimate with them you will very likely infect them too unless there’s a cure. There are some evil selfish people who don’t disclose such information and intentionally infect others…I believe there are laws against that in some places.

But if it was some bad deed you did in the past, the choice is really up to you, for me it comes back to relevance, if it will never affect them, then they don’t need to know.

It seems like you have some romantic thinking where you both confess each other’s faults and past mistakes and then live happily ever after. You’re not really living in the real world.

Life is messy and few people are without fault. Everyone has their own baggage they bring into every relationship. Why ruin things by volunteering info about yourself that nobody needs to know?

To use your terrorist example-which is a good one, if you tell people right off the bat, they’ll reject you. If you wait a few years and then confess, they might become terrified because they never really knew who you were and the confession could just lead to a breakup, unless she was really open-minded.

So as you can see there’s no winning by confessing dark secrets, unless they have a right to know like the STD example. You’re just limiting yourself for no reason. If you’re not a threat to anyone, then don’t hold yourself back from having relationships and just keep that history locked up.

At least that’s how I’d deal with it personally. Life is short, I’m not going to waste it by crying about things I cannot change from my past.

Actually I currently am more bothered by the chances I didn’t take than the boneheaded mistakes that I made. Had I been a little bolder I might’ve married the woman of my dreams a few times over-that’s something that eats me up.

thehusk 3/24/2021 - 11:05 am

I can’t rule out that the truth might come out, at some point in the future. I left lots of careless loose threads scattered around over the years, and if someone had the power and motivation to put it all together, I’m sure they could. I’m essentially relying on no one having the time to chase up those threads, but given the future of AI and information analysis, I’m sure that kind of process will become much easier.

With the terrorism example, you’re right that some who have a change of heart are considered heroic. They’re able to be honest about their past, and to explain to anyone they’re involved with what changed within them to redirect them. I can’t pretend I’ve had a real change of heart – I just stopped doing the worst things I used to do, primarily for selfish reasons. I still think about returning to them often, and I can’t say for sure that I won’t. I’m not in a position where I can be honest about my past, and I can’t honestly tell anyone that what led me there is no longer within me. And it’s not something that people tolerate.

I think with the example of espionage it’s possible to justify deceit, if you can convince yourself that it’s for a greater good, and that your partner would understand and still want to be with you if they discovered the truth. But there are examples of security service officers starting real relationships with women in organizations they’re spying on, and the women feeling deeply violated when they discovered the truth. Because they wouldn’t have consented, if they’d known who their partner really was.

I think with the example of organized crime it’s much harder to justify, unless you genuinely believe that your partner would still want to be with you if they knew the truth. I think if you’re lying to keep someone in a relationship then you’re wronging that person – you’re allowing them to invest their feelings in something that isn’t real.

I’ve had friends who were the most open-minded, forgiving people imaginable, but when they mentioned people like me in passing, it was clear that if they ever discovered the truth about me, I would be dead to them. And I can’t blame them. I can’t say that I pose no threat to anyone. I’m a managed threat. A limited threat. And part of that is limiting my involvement with others.

I desperately want to believe that there’s someone out there who could accept the truth about me – I just see no evidence of that. And I can’t see how I could ever trust someone enough to risk telling them. It could completely destroy my life and my families lives if it got out. And I can’t say it would be wrong for them to expose me. If whoever I was with was trustworthy and a good person, they might well feel compelled to speak out.

It’s interesting that you put such weight on partners having a right to know about potential physical consequences. Obviously some STDs can be devastating. But you can also put others at emotional risk. Discovering that someone you invested everything in emotionally is not who they portrayed themselves to be can also be devastating.

I’m sure there’s a degree of romanticism involved in my thinking. Like I said, there is this desire to be understood and accepted – to not have to pretend. Perhaps any kind of emotional intimacy is impossible, and no one ever really understands anyone else. But then doesn’t that just leave the superficial? Manipulating someone else to get want you want (be it sex, or company, or money)? Then why bother with a relationship? Wouldn’t it be more honest to just pay someone to fulfil your needs? I don’t want kids, so I don’t have that reason for seeking a relationship. I suppose it’s that I want whoever I’m with to actually want to be with me – not just physically, but mentally. And if they don’t really know me, then that’s not possible.

Obviously everyone has faults, but most are totally acceptable, when you have the motivation to look past them. A few just aren’t. It seems wrong to start a relationship, knowing that the other person wouldn’t consent if they knew the truth. Think about how mad people get about cheating. When you invest your trust in someone, and then find out it wasn’t well founded, it’s devastating. You feel the other person has deeply wronged you.

I think most people would agree that they have a right to know about the person they’re investing their trust in. Not every single minor detail, but the major things that really pertain to a person’s character. For example, if I discovered that someone I’d spent my life with had been convicted of a brutal murder before we met, it would be devastating, because if would totally destroy my understanding of the person I’d put my trust in. There might be some story they could tell about how they’d changed since then, but the fact that they’d kept it hidden would totally break whatever trust I had in them.

You’re right that life is short, but if feels like I’ve already wasted mine. I can’t see a good use for what remains.

I’m not sure getting eaten up by the chances you didn’t take is that much different from crying about a past you can’t change. All that matters is whether you can see a meaningful way forward (and I can’t.)

Soda 3/25/2021 - 4:01 am

I see your predicament but given what you’ve mentioned and described, if you want a relationship with someone you’ll have no choice but to keep your secrets to yourself or as you said it could lead to potentially dire consequences for yourself and your family.

The fact that you’re able to talk about it objectively and clearly have some remorse and have concern about a future partner shows that you’re not a sociopath, as they normally don’t care about who they use and abuse to get what they want.

At the same time you’re depriving yourself of having the benefits that come with having a wholesome relationship. There is such a thing as ‘lying by omission’ everyone does it all the time.

People have their own tolerance level, what might be shocking to one person could be considered nothing special to another. I think you just painted yourself into a corner because of the guilt and regret that you feel about your past issues.

I’ve made some dumb mistakes in my past and feel pretty stupid about it for doing them. But as humans we sometimes learn by error. Also if we’re affected by things, like stress or alcohol, then it can alter our rational behavior.

To sum up, you have to do what you feel comfortable with. For me I find that people are not as open-minded as they pretend to be, so the less they know, the better. To live in this world and to be sane, you need friends, family and a life partner-for most of us.

Sometimes you have to keep secrets from others just to survive and to get the benefits you want out of life. Perhaps you fear intimacy, commitment or facing the challenges of a relationship so you’re using your past as an excuse from getting involved with anyone.

Granted if your misdeeds are as bad as you seem to suggest then I think there’s even less of a reason to tell them because they will cut you out of their life, so why tell them?

If the relationship would feel fake if they didn’t know about the ‘whole you’ then maybe you don’t value having a partner that much. You cannot have it both ways, you will sacrifice one thing for the other in your unique situation.

If you want a partner, you have to not tell them about your past, because if you do, there’s a strong chance they’ll reject you. If choose not to get involved, then you’ll feel very lonely. For me the answer is pretty obvious, I’d date and not tell them anything. I really don’t have much trouble keeping secrets.

I also don’t consider other people to be above myself. When I was younger I was very idealistic and naive. Then I realize most people are nothing special and have their own set of problems and mistakes they regret-like myself.

Regarding the last paragraph in my post above-what I meant was that I wasn’t going to let the mistakes from my past, hold me back from enjoying my present and future.

So while I regret not jumping at every amazing opportunity life gave me in my past for finding my mate, I’m not going to stop looking for her just because those chances are gone and I’m older now. I hope that clears it up.

You stated earlier: “I can’t say that I pose no threat to anyone. I’m a managed threat. A limited threat. And part of that is limiting my involvement with others.”

Then maybe the best thing to do is to get involved in only a casual way with them or not at all, if you feel you could pose a threat to them-even if it’s limited.

This is a compromise since you get to have your fun but not be a risk to yourself or others. Of course you’d miss out on developing a long term relationship but it’s better than nothing at all.

As for feeling life is over, I can understand, I’m middle-aged and I took my youth for granted. At this point I’m just trying hard to get established so that I can enjoy the next 10-20 years of my life before I become an old geezer that nobody cares about.

At that point I’m opting for euthanasia. Fortunately for now, I look pretty young for my age, so I think I can still attract the type of girls I’m into-I just have to get back in shape.

thehusk 3/25/2021 - 10:38 pm

No, not a sociopath. There are just certain circumstances where my moral sense takes a backseat. I agree that most people ‘lie by omission’, but I do think with certain major issues that’s wronging the other person. I honestly think that the vast majority of people would be shocked/disgusted by my past, and the kind of stuff that goes through my head. I get regular evidence of this from people discussing others like me, so it’s not just my guilt making me think that.

There’s a big difference between ‘dumb mistakes’ and consistent, intentional, repetitive patterns of behaviour. Anxiety and depression played a role, but it wasn’t just some stupid error. I wanted to do it, I did it over and over again, and a significant part of me still wants to do it. Perhaps I’ve finally learned that it won’t make me feel better. But who knows.

I’m sure I do fear commitment and navigating relationships. Possibly I’m using that as an excuse. I’m not sure how much actual intimacy would be involved in a relationship where I was pretending to be someone else. I think I want to feel close to someone, and I don’t know how to do that while believing that I’m wronging that person and knowing they’d hate me if they knew the truth. I think I’m scared of the pain that might cause.

I do think that most people are ‘above’ me – not because they’re anything special, but just because I’m pretty fucked in the head.

I’ve often thought that casual dating would be the most sensible compromise. That way if my past ever catches up with me, it won’t be too devastating to anyone I’m involved with. Part of what holds me back is thinking I’d want more – that I’d get attached, and not want something to end. Because I want so much to feel close to someone. So either it would hurt me when it ended, or I’d allow it to drift into a longer term thing where I’d feel I was being deceitful. I don’t know.

It would also take a lot of work just to get me to the point where I could even casually date. I’m not that good looking, and I lack social confidence. The interest I’ve had from women in the past has mainly been those who took the time to talk to me a bit and see beneath the shell – mainly looking for an actual relationship. I don’t make a good first impression, and I do best when I have time to grow on someone, so I think I’d struggle with hook up culture. I guess it just seems like a lot of additional stress to put myself through for something that might not be very fulfilling. But maybe it’s the best I can do.

I’m not technically middle-aged, but I’m certainly not young anymore. I already feel like an old geezer nobody cares about!

Soda 3/25/2021 - 11:16 pm

Casual dating seems to offer the best compromise in your situation. If it turns into something more serious, then cross that bridge when you get there.

Looks aren’t everything. They might matter in first impressions but character, personality and integrity win out in the end. For a guy education and money matter more-from what I’ve observed.

Check out a lot of female hollywood celebs, most of their spouses are pretty unattractive, I’m usually surprised that a hot girl would date/marry someone so far beneath them, but I’m sure they bring other things to the table that caught their interest.

Dating isn’t easy on its own but in the end the rewards justify the rejection that you might experience (all of us go through it).

As for your past misdeeds-it’s probably best to keep it buried as much as you might want to be totally honest with your future partner-imo. That’s one of sacrifices you’d need to make to have a ‘normal’ relationship.

thehusk 3/26/2021 - 11:08 am

I agree looks aren’t everything, but I feel like they become more important with casual dating/hook-ups. If a woman’s looking for someone to support a family then it makes sense that money and education level would be more important. But if it’s just about short term sex, appearance becomes more important. Why bother taking the time to get to know someone on a deeper level when you might not see them again? Obviously charisma and personality are still important though, and I’m sure the ability to flash money around helps a lot.

Soda 3/26/2021 - 11:59 am

Fair point-with casual dating looks are a factor and so is money. But women also know it’s hard to find a guy who meets all their criteria so I think they might be flexible if the guy has more to offer. Less attractive men have to be more creative in trying to get their interest.

Putting oneself on the line is one of the hardest things to do. I’ve been rejected and I’ve rejected girls-sometimes without meaning to. But if you don’t take it too personally (since everyone has their ‘type’) then it’s easier to keep trying your luck until you succeed.

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