Letters From My Past: “I’m sort of like a social plague. Why do I have to be me?”

I was digging in the hallway closet and ran across a couple of old letters.  They were written in the months before meeting “IT” (Click hear to read more).  As I reflect on them today, I feel it helps provide a snippet of what unresolved issues lay within me as deep wells of pain.  I was willing to do just about anything to avoid treading those waters.

LETTER ONE:  Tuesday 11/29/88.

(((I am a freshman in college & writing a letter to my 12-year-old sister. I have no friends & only her to confide in.  Despite the gap in our age, we saw eye-to-eye.  While she had many social outlets, I was ostracized.  Middle & high school were years social isolation.   My development stagnated a bit.)))

Dear Dorene,

Hello, I am in my room right now and it looks really neat, now that I have all this stuff on the walls. I just found out that my roommate is trying to get a room with Tammy Terryberry who lives in 915. I’ll be glad to see my roommate go, but I’m going to have to find a new one now.
There is something that’s been bothering me a whole lot, but I can’t tell anyone, cause I don’t think there isn’t anyone that would understand.
I have one goal that I have set for myself, and I hope that I reach it, and I have been wishing and wishing about it for as long as I can remember.  What I have always wanted was just one good friend:  Someone that is my age who makes me feel as good and as confident as I feel when I’m around all of you.  I want one really special person in my life that understands me and likes me for who I am and accepts all of it, the good and the bad.  I also want a person who would always be there fore me when I need someone.
I am having problems looking for friends, though.  I just want 1 good friend and maybe about 2-6 additional ones I can hang around with and I would be just fine and feel happy and content.
My problem is, that I feel as if all the people on my floor don’t like me as much as I like them and like each other more.  I feel bad because they never come to my room to visit me and the only time I do anything with them is when I ask if I can tag along.  They never visit me and ask me to go anywhere has as much as they ask each other.  I don’t feel like I belong.
I always thought I was a nice and likable person once I open up to people and let them see what’s inside.  But it seems now as if that’s wrong.  I used to not let the fact that I didn’t belong, (when I was in high school) bother me because I thought that they just didn’t know me and so it didn’t matter what they thought cause it wasn’t true anyway cause they never really knew me.  But I’ve discovered that I’m wrong cause I’ve let them know who I am and I still have sort of the same problem.
They don’t totally accept me because there are things about me that really bug them. I”m too inquisitive, too quiet, too weird, too shy, or unconfident, bull-headed, or this or that.
I know it is just constructive criticism but it hurts because it has gotten me to realize that when I socialize with people I have to just act, not like myself but the way they want me to, jus so they accept me.  I THINK THAT IS BULL SHIT.  I don’t want to have to act a certain way that pleases them.  I want to be me and just do what comes naturally and what suits me.
But it seems as if it isn’t just that they don’t know me and it doesn’t matter what they think or that they don’t accept me.  Because they do know me.  It hurts.
I have finally found out there IS something wrong with me and that is why I never belong.  I’m sort of like a social plague.  Why do I have to be me.  it is so hard to be a person with so many personality and character flaws that are annoying other people.

I feel like I have to change overnight and go out of my way to act like the person they say I should act like.  I am also jealous of all of them for not being me.
It’s ten minutes to 2:00.  I have class at 2:00 and have to go now, but I’ll write again soon.

Your Sister Kathleen,

P.S. Write Me Back Soon.

Wow!!! Does this letter bring me back to the “good old days”…

This letter was written just months after I left my hometown.  I was grateful to have this experience behind ad looking forward to a “new beginning”.  The problem was my high school, the classmates who loathed me, and the bullies that made my life hell.  So in keeping with my new blog goal to do less telling and more showing, how can I contrast the “clinical and academic perspective” polluted throughout this blog with a life story? My thought has been to use what I’ve written as inspiration for future posts.

Listed below are random quotes from previous posts that are useful in putting this letter into a useful perspective.

In a post titled “Twisted Self Deception” I discuss how bullshit ideas develop…

The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy defines self-deception as: “the acquisition and maintenance of a belief (or, at least, the avowal of that belief) in the face of strong evidence to the contrary motivated by desires or emotions favoring the acquisition and retention of that belief, (Self-Deception, 2006).”  An article I on “Twisted Self-Deception defines it as “instances [in which]…people deceive themselves into believing things they do not want to be true” (Mele, 1999, p. 117)….

….When you look at it logically, why would a person lie to themselves into believing a thing they do not want to be true?

“…I have finally found out there IS something wrong with me and that is why I never belong. I’m sort of like a social plague. Why do I have to be me. it is so hard to be a person with so many personality and character flaws that are annoying other people…”

In the above letter, I somehow end up believing something I do not want to be true.  At first glance, this would make no sense.  However, I enter college with a slanted perspective based on past experience.  Why would I believe something I don’t want to be true?   I became what they thought I was and got what they believed was possible…  Here are the critical steps, in the formation of bullshit thinking…

We believe something…

We act on belief…

Life reflects these beliefs

We forget that beliefs define experiences…

We use experiences as evidences of beliefs

In a post titled “An Emotional ‘Hot Potato'” I note that we lie to ourselves to avoid things that hurt to much…

The purpose of self-deception is so we can live in our own preferred version of reality.  This version of reality supports our preferred system of beliefs.   It also edits out those things we do not wish to understand & hate to accept.  It is like an emotional “hot potato”.  We would prefer to willfully deny this fact through an array of cognitive mental gymnastics, than accept reality as it exists.

Sometimes the truth can truly hurt & facing it can appear an overwhelming & impossible task…

Finally, in a post titled “PART TWO: Understanding ‘Unseen Things'” I describe bullshit as an infectious contagion…

Bullshit is infectious & needs to be treated as a dangerous contagious….When you examine these unseen things closely you find that self-deception can become shared.  Others’ bullshit ideas, when unexamined, can become our bullshit ideas.  Bullshit is infectious and needs to be treated as a dangerous contagion.  What do I mean by this?  Here’s my personal theory on how we inherit the bullshit of those around us and consume it blindly….

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