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Thread: Identity crisis

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    Flavor's Avatar
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    Identity crisis

    A year ago I realized I was always going to be a pathetic, emotional, spineless, clingy unwanted doormat that also hid my true self and I hated everything about myself, so I spent a year changing my personality. But with anxiety it didn't work out so well. I still have some of these traits.

    Now I have a different personality but im still dissatisfied, like its not really who I want to be. I thought if I changed I'd feel better about myself and the good things in life would start coming my way. My confidence is awful and I don't believe in my abilities at all. Nothing has changed in my life. I still scare off people, and as a result am still lonely even with a gf when she's ok if I might be gay.

    When I was a kid it was not ok to dress a certain way as a man. To like certain shows. To have different sexual identities. I feel like if I had a proper, strong sense of self I'd handle upsets (like rejections) a lot better, because I'd be 100% comfortable with who I am. People don't respect men who aren't strong and masculine. I don't really feel like I respect myself either, even though I do like myself when I'm more feminine but not trans. I don't know what to do because my sense of identity is so messed up.

  2. #2
    Lunaire's Avatar The Lifeline of Kamurocho
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    Hey @Flavor , I hope you’re feeling a bit better today. I wanted to let you know that you’re definitely not alone and that there’s nothing ‘pathetic’ or ‘spineless’ about being emotional and clingy.

    As western men we have been conditioned from birth to have certain ideas of how a man should behave and what he should like. Anything that deviates from this societal expectation is generally opposed, sometimes even violently.

    To a certain extent we’re always going to be limited in our forms of expression with the society around us. An example would be that I find Hello Kitty adorable but if I went to work as a man wearing a Hello Kitty shirt it would likely damage my relationships and rapport with many of my coworkers who would see that as unbefitting of a man.

    The important thing is to realize that we sometimes have to wear a mask to fit in with the society around us but that doesn’t mean that there is anything wrong with you. You mentioned that you’re not sure if you like yourself sometimes and I feel like this may be internalized expectations from societal pressure on how you are “supposed” to be.

    I’ve read of some people coming out as trans who claim to not have any form of physical body dysphoria. I can’t speak for them of course but part of me wonders if they are wanting to be accepted as the other gender as that’s the only way they feel like they can be accepted for who they are.

    In any case this board is meant to be a safe place to vent your frustrations so please keep us updated on how you are working through this as I’m sure there are or will be other members who feel similarly.

  3. #3
    CeltAngel's Avatar Warrior of Light
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    Quote Flavor
    A year ago I realized I was always going to be a pathetic, spineless, clingy doormat that also hid my true self and I hated everything about myself, so I spent a year changing my personality. But with anxiety it didn't work out so well. I still have some of these traits.
    Firstly, you're not always going to be anything. None of us are. You could choose to wake up tomorrow, elect to delete your past and be a different person. It might be strange, kinda crazy and unlikely, but if you wanted to do that strongly enough, you could. I'm not advocating that, as I think that could be psychologically and possibly physically dangerous, but I'm just saying that as a hypothetical. Luke Rhinehart's book from the 70s, "The Diceman" is an interesting investigation in this idea. I honestly recommend it for everyone to read. It's definitely food for thought when it comes to the topic of identity.

    When you say you changed your personality.... How did you go about that, what did you change? Did you just change the front that you present to the public or do you feel that you changed fundamentally within yourself?

    Quote Flavor
    Now I have a different personality but im still dissatisfied, like its not really who I want to be. I thought if I changed I'd feel better about myself and the good things in life would start coming my way. My self esteem is great my confidence is awful and I don't believe in my abilities at all. Nothing has changed in my life. I still scare off people, and as a result am still lonely even with a gf when she's ok if I might be gay.
    If the change you make isn't true to who you are, it's just another masquerade, and masquerades are tiring to maintain. I'm going to make the wild assumption that masquerades are particularly trying for those of us with social anxiety, I mean, it has to figure in to why we will be more prone to hide away or avoid situations, rather than pretend to be someone we're not, even if pretending would be very beneficial to us.

    I'm feeling that perhaps your loneliness might be due to the disconnect within yourself. Struggles with identity can make it feel like the people around you who like or even love "you" are attached to something that you feel is a complete charade. That their feelings towards you cannot be real if you don't feel like you are real.

    Quote Flavor
    When I was a kid it was not ok to dress a certain way as a man. To like certain shows. To have different sexual identities. I feel like if I had a proper, strong sense of self I'd handle upsets (like rejections) a lot better, because I'd be 100% comfortable with who I am. People don't respect men who aren't strong and masculine. I don't realy feel like I respect myself either, even though I do like myself. I don't know what to do because my sense of identity is so messed.
    We're all subjected to this, but things have relaxed more over the years, which is nice. As a young girl and teen, I received a lot of problems for my perceived masculinity. I was tall, well-built, athletic and I liked a lot of stuff that boys typically liked. I caught hell for that, as I'm sure you can imagine.... Butch, dyke, etc, etc.... You get the drill.... It caused me a lot of identity problems, so I get where you are coming from.

    In the long run, I found that letting go of other people's expectations of who I should be was the best thing I could've done. It's easier said than done, and it's a process. It doesn't just happen over night. It's hard for we with social anxiety because the anxiety comes from a fear of not being accepted. In our hearts, we don't want to [BEEP] up socially. We want to be accepted, we want to be loved.

    Now, while I have said this, I must say that I strongly disagree with the idea that people don't respect men who aren't strong and masculine. That's utter nonsense. I've known a lot of less than typically masculine dudes who are very well respected and have done very well in life, despite not being a jock/bro stereotype. A man very close to me is like this, and I utterly adore him. He also does VERY well romantically (he's heterosexual), despite not even being classically handsome. But his intelligence, personality, sensitivity and kindness are very well regarded, and he's had a few good long term relationships with some wonderful women in the time I've known him.

    Do you feel that you are gay or not? It's an easier question to answer than you think. Ignore all the boxes society tries to put people in by interests, characteristics, etc.... Close your eyes and think about the kind of person who gets you hot n' heavy. Whatever you see, that's a good indication of what you are. You might see a different gender at different times.... If so, congratulations, you might be bi! Maybe that will even change over time. The past and other people's ideas don't matter, it's all down to what you feel in any given moment.

    I mean, even though I identify as a [BEEP] (I don't like the word "lesbian", it just sounds so textbook to me. ), there have been some times with some men when I've thought.... "Hmmmm, I wouldn't mind kissing him". Initially, it was a surprise, but I learned to embrace it as a part of me. It happens so rarely that I wouldn't think of calling myself bisexual (that and I've never slept with a man), but I think we all have these little drives in us that tell us that labels aren't everything, if we care to listen. We're individuals, not labels.
    I see every smile you fake
    Strong emotion, strong devotion
    To ignore the pain
    To stand strong

  4. #4
    Cuchculan's Avatar
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    If I told you I had zero friends and it does not bother me you might be amazed. years ago I had load of friends. If anything ever went down I was slap band in the middle of it. I was the great entertainer. But life moves along. People go various ways. I made the choice not to go with them. Just to do my own thing. No matter how small my own thing way. Anxiety had my life smaller. I accepted that. We can place expectations on our own shoulers. This is what we should be doing. That is were we should be at, at this stage in our lives. But by doing that we are only adding pressure to our lives. Most times those expectations are far too big.

    When I used to go places I would stutter like a scratched record. Like a 12 inch remix of what I was trying to say. That was how I became around people. Especially strangers. My Lord I hated the thought of having to talk to strangers. In a shop when buying something. Over the phone. It just all sucked big time. Then I decided it was time to take a step back and slow myself down before I began talking. A deep breath and just relax myself. It wasn't a race to get the words out or anything like that. By slowing myself down the whole stutter side of things went away. I found I could talk to anybody at all.

    Fact is we are all different people. First person we have to learn to love is ourselves. For who we are. No matter how different we might think we are from others. Different is good. Imagine a life were everybody was the exact same. That would be one boring life I would not like to be part of. What you see bad about yourself, others might like. That is what makes life what it is. You know what those who do know me like about me? The fact that I am caring / soft when it comes to most things. Have minded kids for neighbours. Oddly it was the kids who asked for me to mind them. Because I would drop to their level. Have a bit of fun. Be silly. Not exactly macho. Same with dogs that belonged to neighbours. For some reason all these dogs just liked me. I was gentle with them. Would train them. Look after them. Simple life really. My image might look like it suggests one thing. The whole skinhead look. That is more just got to do with the music I listen to. We are who we are. If others don't like that, they are the ones not worth be friends with. A real friend would accept us no matter what.
    The Lovable Irish Rogue

  5. #5
    Shredder's Avatar
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    I can definitely relate in regards to questioning masculinity and identity.

    I'm currently reading a book by Rob Halford called "Confess" which is really interesting.
    I see Rob's story as a testament to how tough and resilient he is as a person. He is definitely not soft or weak.

    I've been to a couple of groups that explore the areas you mentioned. I like the way these groups accept everyone which is very comforting to be around. I find people challenging stereotypes and finding themselves inspiring.

    One thing I can say is they have a blast in these groups.. they really know how to have fun!! LOL

    I hope you get the opportunity to explore these areas so you can find your place.

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