Dysfunctional Empathy

After talking to a friend about depression, mental health and the like, and taking the subject further in therapy today, I came to a discovery. It would seem that my fear of people disliking me is not just about low self-esteem. It is also not only because I can’t forgive myself for acting stupid or am too embarrassed about these things. Most likely not even that other people don’t forgive me for these things.

The problem’s heart is that when I’ve done something humiliating and put myself in another person’s position, I can’t forgive me on that person’s behalf. I cannot see him or her liking me even though I’ve acted like an idiot. What I see in his mind is all the reasons why he doesn’t like me, and all the ways he dislikes me in.

No wonder it feels impossible to make new friends. I don’t believe in them not laughing behind my back or not having a secret loathing of me. I even doubt these things about really old friends, especially ones that I haven’t seen in a while. Once a certain amount of time has passed, I start thinking that they probably don’t want to see me again or contact them for anything. I find myself thinking of this regarding my bandmates, who I see every week. At every practice, a voice in my head asks “Do they still think I’m good enough? Can they still put up with me?” and every tired or snappy statement adds more to the cauldron of doubt.

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~ by Ndprs on March 6, 2012.

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