Sober since April 6, 2006


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Relational Paranoia

"You wouldn't worry so much about what people really thought of you if you knew just how seldom they actually do."

Just attended a women's meeting this morning, and one of the topics discussed was the tendancy to worry about what other people think of us. It was surprising (and comforting) to hear so many women accurately describe the insanity that has been going on in my head lately:
"They must think I'm such an awful, terrible monster ... they're probably right."

"They must talk about me and laugh at how stupid I am."

"They probably all think that I'm a hopeless loser who's going to end up in a gutter somewhere. They'd just LOVE to walk by so they could laugh and throw rocks at me."

"They've probably made a voodoo doll just for me so they can torture it until it falls apart. Then they'll torture the parts ..."

But the fact is, "THEY" (whoever that is) are most likely not thinking of you at all. That's a hard concept to grasp, especially when you look back on your past and all you can think about is what you did and how it affected others.

"They" have been hurt by your past actions and don't believe your intentions for improvement. So you start to identify yourself by what you DID, not who you ARE and who you are trying to BECOME. And you slip into this state of near-paranoia, developing increasingly irrational judgments that "They" must have against you.

Soon it's not about what "They" have against you -- it's about what "Everyone" has against you. You feel like you're not the same as everyone else. You feel you've been rejected from the entire world, and your only source of comfort is isolation. You feel that you're different, that you're defective, that you're a disease, and that you need to be quarantined away from everyone else.

So you isolate.

Unfortunately, isolation only serves to fuel these irrational feelings about yourself and others. And for the alcoholic, the combination of isolation and obsession is a death sentence to drink again.

These irrational feelings have been addressed in many of my own blog entries. I've been struggling with them for a long time.

So ya know what? Screw it. I'm going to stop caring about what people think of me and remember that they probably never actually think of me anyway. It is so egotistical to assume that I've been sufficiently influential as to cause others to hate me obsessively -- as if they don't have better things to do than relive my own pain. How completely absurd!

And to everyone else out there who shares similar struggles, I hope you find a way through them. You may not think much of yourself, but WHO YOU ARE is not what you DID. And you ARE a person who has a unique light and presence to share with the world. Please don't withold your unique gift from the world, especially out of fear for what "They" think. Chances are, your assumptions are wrong anyway.


Aubrew said...


(Guys think the same things)

tone said...

Soooo true....... and just think - THEY might be thinking about what YOU think of them! how silly we humans are!