I was sexually abused as a child. I spent a total of about 3.5 years in therapy, a year in my teens and 2.5 years in my twenties.
Therapy was valuable, but I quit in large part for the above reason: I was at a point where spending an hour or more every week digging around in the dirt of my past was just keeping alive an identity as a victim. It was keeping me stuck. It was keeping me miserable.
So I spent the next few years focused on Getting A Life and practicing the art of Living Well Is The Best Revenge. And it's one of the wisest moves I ever made.
Not to say that it isn't a severely traumatic thing to experience - it absolutely is. But, we regularly treat virginity as some sort of virtuous status - and then speak of rape victims who lost their virginity to their attacker as if they were stripped of some sort of human value in the process.
We speak of rape very matter-of-factly about how it ruins lives, ruins women for marriage, emasculates men, and follows you for life. For a victim, this almost feels like the world telling you how defeated you are supposed to feel.
I feel like way too much of society's response is about pitying the victim, and not enough of the response is about moving forward and getting past the trauma and living a normal, happy life.
I am also an American, and we tend to focus more on the negative. Many times, when I have expressed this opinion, people have been upset because my feelings don't put enough negativity on the actions of the attacker - but really, the attacker means nothing to me, only the recovery and wellbeing of the victim.
I was raised with the idea that the shame is on the rapist, not the victim. I was raised with the idea that people who treat the victim in a shaming way are part of the problem.
Being open about this aspect of my life is probably the single most "political" thing I do. I strongly agree with the things I was taught on this subject.
FWIW, I likely did not lose my virginity to rape insofar as the detail of my hymen being ruptured. That probably occurred many years earlier when I fell at age 4 while trying to use a chair as a ladder.
Congrats on not letting your self-worth be determined by others.
Just due to perspective in culture one see event as achievement and other as permanent assault, even though both had same circumstances
What I told him was that at some point she would divulge this to him and he needed to deal with his own feelings before then and not make the discussion about his feelings. He needed to respect the fact that she had already survived a lot of terrible things and yet found the strength to leave and start rebuilding her life.
It went like I predicted. He was able to be supportive and she made great strides in the following months towards putting her life back together.
It's fine to validate that a person was, in fact, victimized so long as the focus is on "That person did you wrong" and not on pitying the person who was mistreated.
The problem is that this is old news to the victim but new information for the person they are telling. And the person they are telling typically has a very big emotional reaction. After that, the conversation is about that person's feelings, identity and mental models, not about the feelings, identity and mental models of the person disclosing that they were assaulted.
The strong emotional reaction of the person receiving the information helps to keep victims silent and trapped in their silence because these reactions either burden them with dealing with this new person's feelings etc or it makes the victim feel guilty of emotionally and psychologically harming other people in their attempts to try to get help of some sort.
Having been victimized, most survivors are pretty horrified at the idea of knowingly and intentionally hurting other people. This is a huge barrier to reaching out for support.
Validation is really powerful and healing. Just don't make your feelings and your identity their problem.
By identity, I mean in part things like insisting you are a nice, good, caring, helpful, knowledgeable person while doing counterproductive things. A lot of people feel a tremendous need to have their own goodness validated in such situations and it often comes at the expense of the person who confided in them.
Don't try to fix them. Attempting to fix them just reinforces the idea that they are broken.
Listen. Validate that what was done to them was terrible and wrong. Give them breathing room to feel their feelings, whatever they are, and validate that it is okay to feel whatever they feel about that.
If it is hard for you to hear and if you have no idea what to do, say so in a way that doesn't blame them, such as "No one has ever confided something like this in me before, so I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm honored that you would entrust this information to me. I'll do my best, but I'm sure to make some mistakes."
Then, if they give you push back on something, respect that. Don't try to insist they are wrong and broken and you are right.
That's kind of rambly and I'm not at my best today. Hopefully, there are a few useful takeaways in there that will serve your needs.
I mean, it was just luck that kept a large dog from killing me, many years ago. And ever since, I am never comfortable around dogs.
Edit: Damn, I forgot the point. Which is that being uncomfortable with dogs is far less problematic than being uncomfortable with sex.
The body has its own responses which are not always aligned with the wishes of its owner.
I'm a let me brag and show off by showing you my scars kind of personality (a la Lethal Weapon* ). Men can do that and impress people. I routinely get pity.
I have been on HN nearly 9 years. No one ever goes "Damn, girl, you are one helluva badass that you can discuss a topic like this calmly in such a large forum that is overwhelmingly male." No, in this very thread, more than 4 decades after the abuse ended, someone has told me they are sorry my therapy was a bad experience, though I in no way indicated it was.
How much evidence do I need to provide that I am remarkably comfortable with myself, my past and my sexuality before the world stops heaping pity upon me as an endless emotional burden I cannot escape? The answer appears to be that a rape victim is not allowed to move on. They are not allowed to stop being an object of pity.
I find that monstrous and incredibly counterproductive.
That in no way denies that I was traumatized. It merely asserts that a still ongoing issue is the negative way other people choose to view me in defiance of all evidence to the contrary.
Well it's cheap to say now, but I have thought that. :) Not necessarily about this topic though.
I have a friend, who has lived well, but who long ago was raped by her father... and then when she spoke out in her church community, was accused of lying and shunned as everyone rallied around her father, "a good man".
It seems to me there's a middle ground, which is never struck precisely but often close enough, between the extremes of gaslighting and victim-mongering. And exactly where that middle ground lies changes over time.
> Each of us is the sum of our scars.
Caine, in Stover's Blade of Tyshalle.
Also, the horse witch in his Act of Atonement books.
No, not about being a victim of a sex crime, they can't; at least as much as women can't, maybe even moreso.
> The answer appears to be that a rape victim is not allowed to move on.
A “brag and show off by showing you my scars” person is one who has not moved on from the sources of those scars. Yeah, that kind of failure to move on may get a different typical response by both gender and source of the scar, but you can't both have a need to show the scar and complain that other people aren't letting you move on: you aren't letting yourself move on.
I'm well aware men who were raped or molested are treated even worse.
There's a huge difference, as I see it, between choosing to be an example of recovery and being,asyou previously described, a “brag and show off your scars person”, particularly in terms of the audience to which accounts of particular trauma are directed.
This is not one of them. This is right up there with that brief period when you were repeatedly accusing me of being transphobic.
So I have zero plans to argue this further with you.
That may mean not acknowledging the suffering, or it may mean not acknowledging that things will be ok.
I think that's also compatible with having an expectation that the situation will change over time, that most often the intensity of suffering will decrease, and that the survivor will get their life back on track.
a) You are conflating rape with sex. Why would being raped be the same thing, at all?
b) Everyone I've seen talk about this has been referring to charts showing increased non-marital partners correlates to divorce, but you are talking about pre-marital partners, where divorce rates actually start going down after a few partners.
Maybe in the same way that "the more food you try, the less likely you'll stay with Mcdonalds".
Being discerning, honest and moving on if things don't work out is much better than the alternative, for everyone involved.
Recovery, however, is hardly ever a straight path. Sometimes people get stuck. Sometimes, people shift their viewpoint to something else that's extreme and unhealthy. In the grand scheme of things, this journey lasts our entire lifetime.
I think there's some kind of value in this. Everyone's got a bit of psychological disorder and for normal people, they can use willpower to bring themselves into a good state. We ridicule those who fail to do that as a kind of motivation to sort themselves out. But with an actual disease that has a name or a distinct experience like rape, we think they're beyond being able to help themselves and no amount of insults is going to be any use in making them feel better.
This attitude also seems to be behind the competing ideas of alcoholism being either a disease or a behavior. If it's a behavior, you can blame the alcoholic for failing to sort themselves out, but if it's a disease, maybe they're truly helpless.
Implicit in this is the idea that behavior originates from an identity, from some independent center.
You have to believe in the notion of free will to assign blame.
On his relationships, he discusses how he was never really able to open up to his significant others about what he was going through: "So I watched as things fell apart between us. I had put an explicit time limit on our relationship, since I knew it couldn't last because of the darkness and didn't want to hold her back, and this caused a variety of problems. She was put in an unnatural situation that she never should have been a part of. It must have been very hard for her, not knowing what was actually going on with me, but this is not something I've ever been able to talk about with anyone."
On the doctors he has seen: "I've seen a number of doctors since I was a teenager to talk about other issues and I'm positive that another doctor would not have helped. I was never given one piece of actionable advice, ever. More than a few spent a large part of the session reading their notes to remember who I was."
On his family: "I'd also like to address my family, if you can call them that. I despise everything they stand for and I truly hate them, in a non-emotional, dispassionate and what I believe is a healthy way. The world will be a better place when they're dead—one with less hatred and intolerance.
If you're unfamiliar with the situation, my parents are fundamentalist Christians who kicked me out of their house and cut me off financially when I was 19 because I refused to attend seven hours of church a week."
"I grew up in a house where love was proxied through a God I could never believe in. A house where the love of music with any sort of a beat was literally beaten out of me."
And there's plenty more. The vast struggles that Zeller faced and described are not inconsistent with the points that @DoreenMichele is discussing.
I successfully moved on. I have helped a short list of others also successfully move on. I'm quite confident I know whereof I speak.
I honestly can't understand what value a therapist expects to find in rehashing past experience that's already been discussed. (If the patient is in denial about something, investigating it could lead to a breakthrough. But "something happened, I feel awful about it" doesn't seem to lend itself to a solution that involves dwelling on what happened)
Edit: The obit for my first therapist, a truly remarkable man:
I think it's because you said:
> [Regarding therapy:] spending an hour or more every week digging around in the dirt of my past [...] was keeping me miserable.
That sounds like at least the later portions were a bad experience. Also, I suspect a lot of people here have a default assumption that any therapy experience is bad unless otherwise noted, but the above quote is probably the main factor.
Long experience suggests that it won't matter how positively I frame it or how carefully I say it, some people will insist on viewing my statements and me negatively -- as has been discussed elsewhere in this very thread.
And I don't plan to discuss this detail further.
I will however mention for the other readers that not all modes and schools of therapy see "digging up the past" as essential, in fact I believe this is a point of contention.
Methods such as Cognitive Behavioral Theory, I believe, focus much more on "OK, but how does that influence your behavior? Should it?"
One day, I told him "You don't have to go to therapy. I don't care if you go to therapy or not. Therapy is a means to an end. Therapy per se doesn't matter. I only want our marriage to be better. I don't care how that happens."
So he quit both his own therapy and couple's counseling. And he was promptly and permanently a better husband.
There are many paths.
> So I spent the next few years focused on Getting A Life
I think this is the dillema they try to deal with in 13 reasons why season 2. Jessica, who is sexually abused, alternates between identifying herself as the victim and confronting her abuse and moving on, not letting it identify her. While the show was not as good as season 1, I think they tried to capture all aspects of how a victim could potentially feel and that was a good public service.
really roughly this is what stoics do, yet somehow they come to the conclusion "actually, what was i fearing? Proceed with adventure"...
It's more that they reflect on how much worse things could be, in order to instill gratitude and appreciation for what you already have.
Look at the back of your wrists: see those fragile greenish-blue veins?
What if tomorrow - while thinking about some problem with money or love - you trip and fall, and a particularly sharp rock on the ground or a shard of glass on the street cuts one of those thin exposed blue-green veins open?
If that's the thing I'm supposed to feel then so be it, but I feel Seneca intended for some greater profundity, or he would dispense with the mental theatrics. What am I missing? Does it need to be more visceral?
It’s my fault for not putting more time into my comment; it’s more about finding a scenario that scares you: since I also have no fear of poverty or sickness thinking about that does little for me.
An absurd death scares me so that’s ehy I used that, but if losing life doesn’t scare you, then maiming? Like you get hit by a self driving car and instead of losing your life, you lose both eyes, or both your arms, etc. You are also paralyzed now.
Now it’s very hard to kill yourself. Maybe impossible. But if your mind is still at peace, then you are truly wise, and you’ve made good use of your time in the world.
I would be a horrible and mean wretch if that calamity happened to me. I know I’m a mess, and I couldn’t face that future with any poise or grace.
One of the objectives is to appreciate what you have right now and stopping this urge that we have in today's society to always get more.
If you stop and really think about how bad it would be to live without your eyesight, for example, you can appreciate even the smallest things we take for granted.
It's not supposed to be a "carpe diem" thing.
> Compare Greek καρπός (karpós, “fruit”) and κείρω (keírō, “to cut off”), English harvest, sharp, shear.
Carpe diem totally fits; You just have to consider that an optimum can be approached from two sides, ie the right time to harvest, neither too soon nor too late. In another sense it might mean the day is ripe, I guess. But it's not cape diem, not take the day away.
Never went after the etymology of it, interesting how it has nothing to do with "seize the day" as I originally thought.
We are always thinking nothing will happen to us, yet, we’ve all here have had problems, accidental or due to our own stupidity, that have already changed the course of our life for the worse.
Seneca says it’s worth thinking about that every day to find peace of mind.
By the way, I recently noticed my veins are not symmetric on both hands. I'm not sure what to think of that either.
edit: it's impossible to know which hand is yours.
Do I need to imagine that I'll bleed out alone, with everyone walking past me as if I don't exist?
Because 1. I don't like that exercise and 2. it mostly makes me consider to what extent I'm currently surrounding myself with people that dis-compassionate an whether I should move ...
3. does it matter that one of my wrists actually has a huge scar, that's grown with me from when I was 4 years old, jumped off a couch and smashed my tiny right wrist into a glass on the table? I managed to miss both my artery and my tendons, ... or I wouldn't be typing this :D
Most, if not all, would watch you bleed out: its the bystander effect. See the Kitty Genovese murder. Are you bothered by this?
You could have died. I fell and hit a glass table too and now I have a scar right next to my eye, less than a finger width away.
I could have lost the eye but I don’t like to think about it either. There’s a lot of stories where I could have been maimed, and I do have injuries that have left me weaker.
Look at your feet: see those little toes?
What if tomorrow - while thinking about some problem with money or love - you get hit by a speeding 10 ton truck and you die instantly?
This is also an aspect of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
You don't end up homeless when you have someone to call to come and get you. You end up homeless when you've burned through that bridge.
The homeless that are sleeping rough for 9 months tend to stay homeless. It is a horrible way to live, and it breaks you down really fast.
Those factors are not under my direct control. Some of them may have been in the past, but not in the present.
It does get compounded by social stigma. For me, the social stigma and the very real problems that caused was the worst part of being homeless for 5.7 years.
A lot of homeless people sleep in a tent. That's what I did. Some people do that for fun and call it camping.
Except you only see the ones who are visibly homeless, so how do you know?
Occasionally there is a moment where the character extrapolates from some minor failure to dying "homeless, penniless, and alone" and then recovers.
What I do get is that you can fear the worst and live in that fear to the point that it almost feels like you are experiencing what you fear every moment you are not experiencing it. And it either happens or it doesn't. And if it does, well, I don't know.
Someone or something fucked up somewhere, but I'm certainly not going to blame myself as though I am lord and master of all events that come to pass, seer of all future events and protector of all ills. Humans share that burden equally, and some feel it more than others. But I think like the stoics, like Zen, you can cultivate a sort of inner strength from that suffering.
That doesn't mean pursue suffering to be strong, no no no, not at all. It means you work with what you have. You have pain, use it. Use it to make someone else's life better. You have joy, enjoy it.
I'm not sure it's the right philosophy, or way of being, but it's the most clear and present thing I can muster when I feel my feelings. And I think stoicism reflects that. Deep sadness, old wounds, aching pains. Don't use it against yourself to worsen the hurt. If all you can be is neutral, be neutral. If all you can be is Zen, be Zen. If you can be happy, be happy. Don't take some old dead Greek dude's word for how to live your whole life. There are plenty of other Greek philosophers who spoke of happiness, to learn from too.
You either have to cower in your hotel in fear or live life. I went hitchhiking in Nicaragua, sledded down a volcano, went cliff diving, etc — stuff i’d never do at home.
There’s something to be said for facing down your fear of death and acting in the face of it.
I'm sure you are not surprised to hear that many disagree with this.
As for what happens in the realm of death, we'll see when we get there.
I wasn't clear enough. The decisions one makes during their life are affected by whether or not they care about anything that happens after they are dead (any many specifics beyond that). Many people do things whose primary impact won't be felt until long after they are gone. So it isn't true to simply say that nothing matters after the individual is dead.
Homeless shelters here are terrible TBH. I’d rather sleep rough. Living in a van for me is better than a house or apartment because:
- no rent, no mortgage
- no noisy neighbors sans the phony-“tough,” backwards-hat teenager act
- less space to fill it up whth $crap I don’t need
- always mobile
- able to leap tall buildings in a single bound
- dual burner stove and 20 kg propane tank
- all Burner, all the time
- no lawn to mow
- no bills but the basics
- it’s really quiet
- no neighbor from hell to gas you out smoking, using too much lighter-fluid and cooking with their BBQ right next to a fence below you and screaming/terrorizing/trying to intimidate everyone
- indoor nudist as long as I want
- volunteers of the blond varietal tested suspension for squeaks; needs more data
- able to monitor DIY blinker fluid meters closely
ps: oh, comics
I can shop at whole foods that does the homework for me but what about Chinese masses that don't give a shit. Why do humans have to reproduce so much and at all costs. fucking sick!
Not endorsing the argument, but there is a connection.
General form: Why don't victims behave the way I think they should, in circumstances I've never experienced?
Also remember that it was the most docile that were captured.
You're missing the point: telling victims they're victiming wrong (literally, as in, "You're doing that wrong", which is so unbelievably much of this thread) is bullshit. It's especially so if you have no relevant experience on which to make that judgement, and that goes double if your likelihood of having that experience is structurally negligible. Hand-waving about how someone should handle something that has never — and, for practical purposes, will never — happen to you is ludicrous on its face.
> Anyway, perfectly ordinary slaveowner DiCaprio asks a rhetorical question, a fundamental question, that has occurred to every 7th grade white boy and about 10% of 7th grade white girls, and the profound question he asked was: "Why don't they just rise up?"
Kneel down, Quentin Tarantino is a genius. That question should properly come from the mouth of the German dentist: this isn't his country, he doesn't really have an instinctive feel for the system, so it's completely legitimate for a guy who doesn't know the score to ask this question, which is why 7th grade boys ask it; they themselves haven't yet felt the crushing weight of the system, so immediately you should ask, how early have girls been crushed that they don't think to ask this? But Tarantino puts this question in the mouth of the power, it is spoken by the very lips of that system; because of course the reason they don't rise up is that he-- that system-- taught them not to. When the system tells you what to do, you have no choice but to obey.
Me and my SO have serendipitously discovered a great way to defuse arguments: it's the question "Are you accusing me of foulness?" (any sufficiently Victorian synonym works here)
For some reason most people reflexively deny this in reply and realise that they've been attributing bad intentions groundlessly.
Unfortunately this doesn't work on people who have a mindset which requires there to always be someone at fault.
I've found adopting this mindset to be one of the most important habits I've picked up, and eliminates so much drama.
The steel man locks the truth somewhere inside; and one doesn't look in case ones conversational partner feels offended by being wrong.
Of course you can't tell me I'm wrong; because you have to give my argument the best possible interpretation even if it doesn't deserve it ...!
In practice, if someone isn’t capable of using the information I provide to re-assess their position, continued interaction is likely to be low quality. This isn’t a fault thing. It could just be that I’m incapable of interacting reasonably with this person. Either way, it’s then time to disengage.
"remember that an argument between you and your partner is you two against the issue rather than against one another"
I think it is a great way to refocus the conversation and work toward a solution.
Run for the hills?
Instantly breaks up the tension and we can take a breather before resuming more rationally.
Here's the full link with all the page bloat included: https://www.alternet.org/here-are-14-habits-highly-miserable...
there is a.. loosely similar CGP Grey video, which approaches the matter in a much more rational context 
for anyone suffering, i emplore you to not read this and watch this instead;
 - https://youtube.com/watch?v=LO1mTELoj6o
I didn't watch your linked video, but I definitely agreed with your post. As someone who has also been highly miserable (aka clinically depressed) in the past, various sentiments along the line of "come on, life is great, why can't you appreciate it?" and "that's no so bad, suck it up" most definitely did NOT help me overcome my depression.
Which makes me wonder: if the purpose of this post is to belittle "miserable" people, well I guess it succeeds, but then that seems a pretty miserable thing to do in the first place. If the purpose is to ironically remind folks that there are easy things you can do to not be miserable, I don't think it's doing it in a particularly effective way.
OTOH, there is a CBT angle here. That is, a depressed person may find relief in working to recognize and change the behaviors and thinking that supports those behaviors.
I do think there's a good point here that these patterns are self-reinforcing, and that there can be a kind of counterintuitive pleasure in really getting down into the muck and living there. See also Notes from Underground. But the snide and aggressive tone here is really bizarre.
At least I would say I can recognize some patterns both in my past self and also in several people I am familiar with much clearer after reading it. I don't think the author in any way wanted them to get "pilloried" and "feel bad". That's definitely not the intention.
As someone who is still in school and struggles with emotion/time management/procrastination, I was particularly hit by "focus on goals that are after which you wish to achieve." People around me have pointed this out to me, but it was only until recently did I realize how serious it was.
I think that my impulsive nature and addiction to novelty fuel this problem. Even browsing Hacker News is a manifestation of this. HN always has some cool idea that I could be studying or hacking on when I have free time. But I spend too much time thinking about possibilities than getting done what's right in front of me, because I'm addicted to novelty. I especially neglect school work, which isn't boring at all and rather fascinating and useful, and instead try to find weird things to explore. My huge queue on Pocket is one of many testaments to this. The result is poor, and I feel miserable and disappointed in myself.
Of course, as the video touches upon, modern technology (social media, apps, even internet pornography) exploits humans' desire for novelty (though as previously explained, I think I'm far more vulnerable than average). The video helped me see the connection between my habit and this tendency.
I think a couple of us in comments are rightly angry about this point, since it's easily read as a "hide and get over it" to those with real mental health conditions.
But it isn't. It's saying to not wholly "identify as a Depressed person". It's making sure you know the difference between living like "It's harder for me to get out of bed" and "I can't get out of bed, I'm depressed." The first one is an attitude that makes recovery an option. The second lifestyle is the trap that highly miserable people find themselves in.
I think this difference is really important. Kudos to the author for highlighting it.
There's also a big difference between mental health denial / "get over it already" and making steps to finally stop it from totally dominating your life in the future.
Depression is like a separate animal inside you with its own drives for survival and reproduction. You don't turn your back on it, but you don't let it devour you and steal your name and face either.
If it can manage to, it would love to take control of you and make you believe that there is literally nothing that can help and you're utterly powerless to change anything, and that anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is just one of those people who doesn't understand and thinks you can just cheer yourself up out of depression by smiling and going outside or whatever. That's a false dichotomy.
There's a huge difference between saying "I have severe depression, and it takes great effort for me to get through a day without buckling" and saying "I have severe depression, so my daily mental breakdowns aren't my fault".
She also doesn't say that any of the habits can be casually broken, if only they are recognized.
It's not always so easy to tell apart the things you have control over vs. the things you don't, but I think that all these rules can be summarized in one line, which is basically: If you're feeling sorry for yourself, you'd better find something more productive to do.
I wholly agree with this. There's something deeply insightful, subtle and difficult about recognizing one's own control in a situation. I've thought about this a lot in the last year. The way I phrase it right now is: people don't have a choice until they realize they have one.
Did I invoke one of the stupid rules from the article just right now? :)
Do not do this. Do not live in the past. Do not think about what might, what could, what should have happened. Learn from it and move onwards. Nothing good comes from constantly dwelling on things that can't be changed.
A better bit of advice is "avoid ruminating" and this applies to every thought, not just the ones that involve the past. But even that is not easy, especially for those who create things, since to create something you have to ruminate on it heavily, for months or years -- this is probably why there is an overlap between depression and creativity.
Self-reflection seems like rumination, but the goal is to learn something from whatever you're examining. To take a lesson from it, if there is a lesson. Not every moment is a teachable moment. If you're lucky, many of them are.
Sometimes an experience is just an experience, and there's nothing different you could or should have done. Take, for example, the numerous times I've been honked at in traffic. Is there some hidden meaning in those beeps? Should I have been paying more attention in that moment? Or did I make an honest mistake? If it's an honest mistake, there's nothing I can really do. No magical training regimen will make me an infallible driver, so I have to move on.
It's tempting in some cases to keep looking for a lesson. Some experiences will never contain a lesson no matter how hard you look. Rumination is cultivating the desert of those experiences.
The fundamental activity involves reviewing a thought over and over again, sometimes thousands of times over many years. Sometimes this leads to a new painting, a new novel, a new movie script, a new piece of software, or a new insight about something that happened to you as a child. Sometimes a person fails to make any progress.
You write "The key difference" but these are words without meaning. Sometimes you ruminate on a novel you are writing, but you can't figure out the ending, so you accomplish nothing. Sometimes you ruminate on that time you insulted your alcoholic brother and the next month he killed himself, but this time, reviewing the memory, you recall that he'd said he was going to kill himself long before, so it wasn't really your fault.
There is a reason why therapists often want to talk about a person's childhood -- sometimes reviewing the past leads to a new insight. Sometimes it doesn't. You can't judge the value of the activity simply by whether it produces something. Sometimes it will and sometimes it won't.
Thinking about something briefly and then moving on cold turkey is often completely phony: basically a form of denial. You're not free if you have "off limits" areas that you don't let yourself think about.
Maybe sometimes it’s abjectly true - you became homeless and in the past you weren’t so it was better back then. In a lot of cases you’re probably looking back on a high moment while in the middle of a low moment. Either way, the comparison does far more harm than good and it might well hold you back.
It's possible to reframe every single one of these behaviors in a positive light.
On the contrary, Tribe by sebastian junger has me fairly convinced me that the irony here is that people band together, find a sense of belonging and often psychological well being under strenuous circumstances more naturally than they do in peaceful, every man for himself and his or her own pursuit of happiness times.
> Let’s exclude some obvious ways, like doing drugs ...
Not entirely, though. But I did get disgusted not long after, by the smug tone.
Maybe it's all sarcastic ranting about self-help literature. But even if so, I didn't find it very funny.
Put another way: those things are constructed to induce a point-in-time pleasurable state of mind; not create lasting happiness—in fact, they are often at odds with sustainable positivity due to their risk/feedback/reward cyclic nature.
I’m now oddly reminded of Freud’s Civilisation and It’s Discontents, where he talks about the pleasure principle, etc — I should pick it up again but it felt tedious.
Not only does this method work to make yourself miserable, but also all the people around you. If you detect this behaviour, run like hell.
This list can hurt some feelings, but it sure could help some people if it was more widely known.
4, 5, 7, 9, 13 and 14 are definitely hostile behaviours. They're also self-damaging because, as I advised, people runs. But these behaviours are firstly and foremost against others.
If someone gets hurt feelings about those, I'm fine with it.
I've always made a mental connection between permabears/zerohedge readers as likely miserable and unhappy people. The wild conspiracy theories and general hatred of certain groups in comment sections doesn't help, but noticed online and in person that people who are always predicting/worrying about the next catastrophe (financial or otherwise) generally lead unhappy lives.
I wouldn't say economic anxiety is just 'nonsense fueled by conspiracy theorists.'
I'm saying scenarios of imminent collapse of the economy are nonsense.
> 2. Practice sustained boredom.
I find that a pretty decent solution to being bored is to do something that I've been trying to avoid for a while, like running an errand or trying to learn something very technical. I find that feeling reluctant/frustrated often ends up being better than feeling like there's nothing to do, and usually doing this comes with a pretty handsome feel-good when you finally finish that errand or figure out what the darned textbook is trying to say.
This is the result of people having the psycho rigidity to assume happiness is the golden standard of life, the moral standard of "things that are good, and things that are bad".
"Things could be worse" is a good enough way to look at things, but ultimately, when people have bad feelings, remember it can stem from their biology, education or way of life.
It's important to concede that certain things can be deterministic in life. What is worse is this obsession to always get better in every minute of your life. Cults have similar obsessions.
Just let go a little.
Edit to add: Seriously though, a healthy amount of cynicism is required for critical thinking. If you try too hard to be something, whether that's happy or positive or whatever, you're depriving yourself from thinking of everything that might comprise a reality, and thus looking at just half of it. But yeah, too much of anything is bad.
[Also, I get sarcasm, you should too, hopefully].
More importantly, FIUYMI is a perfectly-viable strategy because it sells a persona to the practitioner’s self via repeated exposure.
Another consideration is to do all that is possible, while impossible, to remove ego from thoughts and instead focus as a trained observer: perceiving and gathering data.
I think it's dangerous to assume that these traits cause unhappiness, even if that might be true for some people in particular cases.
If you are less happy, you are probably less likely to take a risk with your job. If you are less happy, you a probably more likely to start a fight or fall out with your partner. If you are less happy you are likely to give yourself a negative identity. etc etc etc etc..
I don't get the feeling that this article is written by someone who has brought themselves on a journey out of unhappiness, but rather by someone who is irritated by someone else's unhappiness.
Start gambling, with your money first, then with other peoples' money. You are entitled to that money even though it's theirs. Society owes you a lot already.
Even better, combine the two, do online strip poker. Do anything but face the often less colourful reality.
>Well-meaning friends and relatives will try to sabotage your efforts to be thankless. For example, while you’re in the middle of complaining about the project you procrastinated on at work to your spouse during an unhealthy dinner, he or she might try to remind you of how grateful you should be to have a job or food at all.
Am I the only person who finds these sorts of pithy attempts to be colossally irritating?
Feeling sad/depressed? Cheer up!
Feeling overwhelmed? It's not so bad!
Job annoying you? At least you have a job!
Yes, thank you for the comment and completely shutting down my attempts at commiserating. Now am I not only still bothered by what I was originally bothered by, I'm annoyed at the interlocutor.
Perhaps I'm only 1/14th miserable? :)
I get that it comes off as another "Just stop being depressed/anxious" argument, which is undoubtedly tone-deaf, but there's still a point to be made here.
Depression and Anxiety are real issues, and you can't just "get over it". However, being in control of oneself and refusing to define yourself by things like depression and anxiety are important to besting things like depression and anxiety.
Just because it is an affliction doesn't mean you should allow yourself to be defeated by it. It doesn't mean that you are doing any good using these problems as an excuse, because no matter how unfair it seems, depression and anxiety isn't an excuse for willful misery.