I have discovered a rule that I had no idea I have put on myself. “Be opposite on any perceived negative.” In my last post I wrote “The confusion of another person not thinking of me or how they are making me feel is very confusing and hurtful to me.” I have been told on numerous occasions in my life how selfish I am. I have been accused of only thinking of myself and being hateful and hurtful because of my selfishness. I am not a selfish person, I never have been by the clear definition of “selfish”. Since I was told this by authorities, family, friends, co-workers on occasion, I started to overcompensate to the point of denying my own feelings. When I started going to church, the constant message of how selfish we are as humans and how we need to serve, serve, serve, put everyone before yourself as Christ did, became a rule to new measures for me.
Other people know how to separate and pick and choose how they behave when told information like that.
I do not know how and have taken on all of those things as character flaws in myself if I did not achieve them or I discovered someone thought that I was being selfish. I do understand why I would get so confused and hurt by people not thinking of me, they are not following the rules and I do not know why. The rule is “Do not be selfish.” Although they are allowed to call me out when they perceive something that I do as being selfish. The most confusing thing for me is when I have spoken up about another person being selfish and they spin it. They twist the words and say it is for me or for others or that I did not understand their loving act. This has happened throughout my life too, but I never witnessed it as much as I did in the unhealthy church I was in.
I do seem selfish at times.
I now know why it seems as though I am selfish when I am unable to pull myself away from my special interest. It is not that I do not want to, it is that I can’t. I have tried to stop with certain fixations and when I do they consume my mind to the point of not being able to do anything. It feels like withdraw and it hurts. David suggested that go through my books and get rid of some for a garage sale that we are doing. I had already gone through them and gotten rid of close to 80 books. I still have a large amount that I could get rid of, but I can’t. I love them even the stupid ones. It is painful for me to let the others go and I don’t even care about them that much. That kind of behavior has been looked upon as being selfish in the past.
Anything that I love and collect I have a lot of. (I do not hoard.)
I have been told that it is selfish to keep so many things when others have so little. That is devastating to say to someone like me. So much so that I am feeling guilty about having a garage sale because I am not giving everything away, like I normally do. I need the money, I have purposed the money for something important and yet I feel guilty for this because it seems selfish. It is not! Giving everything away has been an overcompensation as well. It is good to give things away, but if you need money it is good to try to benefit as well.
The overcompensation does not stop with the “selfish rule.”
I now see that I have many others. During my teenage years people were very cruel to me and I discovered many rumors about me not being um…”an angel” to put it nicely. Which is quite humorous if you know me since I am a person who can barely stand a hug it is highly unlikely that the title would fit. I was so confused and hurt by this that it would cause me to spend hours crying and trying to figure why people would make up such things. I had one guy in my class ask me if I would do this and that (I will leave out the vulgarity) and I asked: “What is that?” At first he thought I was joking, then he realized that I truly had no clue. I was almost 17 and had no clue to what he was talking about. He then, changed his demeanor toward me and started talking to me with respect and even apologized at some of the things he had said to me.
I freaked out when I understood what he was asking, whether he was joking or not, is irrelevant.
Those types of things made me close up, I was already at home all the time. I was not allowed to go out to the parties that other kids went to because I was watching my sisters. When I did go out, it was with my boyfriend because I was not allowed to go to parties or anywhere without him. When the relationship finally ended I did not do anything, I went straight to working as much as I could. My social life was work and I enjoyed it very much. I became isolated in a lot of ways to try to hide from people so they would stop making up stories about me. I overcompensated by trying not to be seen. Another rule “If people talk badly about you do not socialize, isolate.”
I see why I have gotten confused by people who put themselves out there.
It is against the rule “Do not let people think or talk badly about you.” It is impossible though, there is usually someone who will find flaw or try to hurt you. I did not know this. I have to admit at times I have gone to the extreme and gotten very angry at the lies, but found that only makes it worse. I thought everyone would like me if they just understood me. I would try (still try) to over-explain myself. I realize now as well that part of the reason for people making up stories about me was because I talked mostly to guys. I did not understand some of their motives and I did not understand that if they had a girlfriend that she may get jealous or think that I was trying to be with him or something. It didn’t cross my mind, the majority of the time I was talking about a special interest. For a while I stopped talking to any guys my age alone.
It was just too frustrating, I would only talk to them when other people were present.
I have other rules that I know are coming to the forefront of my mind, but I cannot seem to get them out. I am still processing. Discovering these, especially the “Selfish rule” is quite freeing. It is not an accurate rule and I can toss it out. I can bring balance to the rule “Do not be selfish”. I know that I am never intentionally selfish. I do not mean to be self-absorbed. If I am I do try not to be that way and if I am unable to stop what I am doing at the time, well sometimes I just have to be left alone to finish it. That does not make me selfish. For me if I discover that I have hurt someone it is the most painful thing, I cannot stand it. Being told that I am selfish is one of those things that has been categorized as hurting people.
Again it is all about perception.
The things that I do can be perceived as selfish, but in my mind they are not. Example: I shared a story about a book that I read with someone because it reminded me of what they had done that day. I failed to mention why I was sharing the story because I automatically assumed that they understood why I was sharing it with them. The person then acted angry or frustrated and I blurted out “What is your problem?” My words apparently were not the best choice and were taken as being rude. I did not understand this because I just wanted to know what was wrong so I could fix it. I was then told that I didn’t even ask them about what they had done for the day or how they felt about it. They felt that I was not thinking of them, but talking about my own interest.
In my mind I was trying to connect.
I connect by relating to stories or events in my life. Or music or poems or nature or movies and many other things. People do this, they do have common interests and “normal” people connect like this. The issues with me is that I do not do it in the same way and the unspoken rules do not apply since they do not really make sense to me. Because of my lack of ability to connect as I see others do, I have overcompensated by having lists of questions in my head to ask people. I will take over the conversation and just ask them questions all about themselves so they will not think that I am selfish. At times I have not even allowed another person to ask me a question. I will walk away after I run out of questions.
Another rule “Only ask people about themselves.”
I have this rule in my mind the whole time that I am socializing usually. The reason is that if I start talking casually it will end up somehow about my special interest and then I will not shut up. I will keep going and going and then, if I think that they are bored or I am unable to read their face, I shut down. I just stop talking mid-conversation. I do this with new people, the people that I know or certain family and friends I do not do this with. They know when to tell me to be quiet or if they have heard enough.
I know that they are not being mean.
You would never know that any of this stuff is going on in my mind. I have gotten so good at hiding certain things that in regular circumstances I do fine socially, but it is afterwards that I am mentally and physically drained. These rules are not bad rules the problem is that I exaggerate them to the extreme and make myself overcompensate trying to please and not hurt people. In the meantime I am hurting myself and placing unattainable restrictions and adding fears that do not need to be there. Enough processing for today.
The rules are…there are no rules! (Just kidding.)
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