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November 10, 2012
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self-sabotage

:iconvelvetfish:
VelvetFish Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Student Filmographer
I don't usually need help with life.

i think as far as emotional state is concerned, i'm pretty levelheaded. when my ex broke up with me, not a tear was shed. when a friend began falling for her a month later and explicitly told me his intentions ("real bros stab you in the front"), i stayed calm and wished him good luck. (plenty of schadenfreude on my end when he failed miserably) but that's a different story.

in general, though, i've lived life so far with the mentality that i should stay cool, and keep my emotions in check. i've spared the melodrama and the blind fury for situations that would've been acceptable to be extremely upset in.

as a result, i am usually mistaken as a very cold, very aloof person.

now the second part, and the main thing i need help with; i don't see myself as 'the protagonist'.

ok, hear me out; most people are aware of the existence of other people and understand that other people are as sentient and aware as they are. however, we typically view ourselves as the protagonist of our own story of life.

for some reason, though, i've never been able to get into that protagonist mentality. and although it has helped me be compassionate to other people's needs and has humbled me, it has also made me feel... insignificant.

I'd see my ex and my friend hugging and chatting happily, and i'd start thinking, "maybe i'm the disposable boyfriend, and they're the ones meant to be. maybe i'm the bad guy and that asshole over there is the one who's supposed to get the girl." like if i was somehow trespassing into someone else's fatalistic love story plotline. like if i have no reason or right to object.

i know i have every right to be upset, but i feel guilty for intruding on someone else's story, and i'm left shivering quietly, with anger and jealousy burning holes in my insides, walking away.

it's even gotten to the point where even my dreams at night quit while they're ahead. if i'm having a sexual dream, something in the dream always stops me before i can try anything. if i need to help someone, i'll always fail or someone in the dream does it first. if i'm playing a game, i always lose. the only thing i can successfully do in my dreams is die and wake up. it's like my subconscious hates the idea of me succeeding in anything.

I'm mostly over my ex and my friend's (more like 'friend') attempts to get with her. if he likes her and she's ok with the implications of dating my friend, then good for them. what i'm not ok with is how i reacted emotionally speaking. I can't just roll over and be complacent to my subconscious's idea of a plotline forever.

anybody out there with similar stories of subconscious self-sabotage and/or issues with imaginary plotlines?

(tl;dr: my subconscious is beta and constantly sabotages my dreams, and i'm worried about my ability to achieve a 'happy ending' or 'getting the girl' due to my inability to be the protagonist of my own story. to be honest, though, this tl;dr would make more sense if you at least skimmed over some of it.)
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Devious Comments

:iconarmonah:
Armonah Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Seems to me that you do see yourself as 'the protagonist'. Just not necessarily as the most interesting character in your own story. But you still cast yourself as a martyr (you even go as far as to admit that you behaved like this ever since you were a child to another poster); a martyr of your circumstances and your own reaction to that - or lack thereof. Maybe you don't see yourself as a hero but more an anti-hero, but you're still the main character in your own story. You're just not happy with how you are.

"I'd see my ex and my friend hugging and chatting happily, and i'd start thinking, "maybe i'm the disposable boyfriend, and they're the ones meant to be. maybe i'm the bad guy and that asshole over there is the one who's supposed to get the girl." like if i was somehow trespassing into someone else's fatalistic love story plotline. like if i have no reason or right to object."

This is how everyone feels when they get locked out of someone's life they have feelings for. Or when they're still a part of their lives, but no longer play any significant role.

"(tl;dr: my subconscious is beta and constantly sabotages my dreams, and i'm worried about my ability to achieve a 'happy ending' or 'getting the girl' due to my inability to be the protagonist of my own story"

Maybe your problem has less to do with your storyline and more with your expectations. Our stories are made as they go; you can't plan them ahead. And if you expect to "get the girl in the end", because you're the good guy, prepare to be disappointed, because that's not how it works.

Other than that, I don't see that much self-sabotaging going on. You broke up with your ex and you're not dealing with it well because you don't allow yourself to have feelings. As a result you told your friend that you were cool with him trying to hook up with your ex and he took your word for it. That's not self-sabotaging, that's emotional suppression.
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:iconvelvetfish:
VelvetFish Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Student Filmographer
i know that real life does not work at all like a story; good guys don't always get the girl, and there is no actual 'happy ending' until you die. i have no expectations as far as 'getting the girl and living happily ever after', and my problem isn't that.

my major malfunction is that, in TVtrope-speak, my subconscious thinks i'm a Red Shirt/Buttmonkey.

and the emotional suppression, i think, may be a form of self-sabotage. I'm not letting myself express my own emotions. i'm not consciously bottling them up, and i want to express them, but something in me won't let me.
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:iconthemarcher:
TheMarcher Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Well I use the protagonist thing when training if I do something really hard it helps a lot to think of yourself as having superpowers. It may sound stupid but it works, you are in a way tricking your self to be stronger than you thought you were.

It seems you react so calmly just because you don't see yourself as important when you broke up with the girl.

It does not have to be a bad thing, sometimes you have to realize that you are not the center of the universe. And sometimes it is a good idea to actually think that.

I think this is something people can learn, although a lot of self important a-holes seems to be really talented at the center of the universe approach =)

But I had the same problem as you before. I thought I was totally worthless, useless and un-lovable. It is better now though, having found a girlfriend helped me a lot and all my good friends helped to.

My tip: watch some good anime with a protagonist you can identify with. The fun thing about anime is that they love the underdog story. The protagonist is usually weak from the start but gains strength though hard work and strong morals. Hajime no ippo is a great one for that.
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:iconvelvetfish:
VelvetFish Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012  Student Filmographer
for sure. thanks. :)
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:iconsauny:
Sauny Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Hey, I'm not always the best with this sort of thing, but I do know this:
Life is hard. There will be many bumps, falls, trips and bruises along the way. You will get dumped and nothing will exactly last forever.
But I also know this:
Life doesn't have to be complicated, there are good times that feel like you're in heaven, you will find love and it will be true, and if you don't the at least you will have friends, if not in the real world than on here with us, and when one thing ends, another begins.

What I'm trying to say is that you're going through a low right now, but just because it seems like it won't end it will, after every low there is a high. I would know. And as for your 'story', I know you probably will continue to feel this way no matter what I tell you but know this, every story needs background characters, and sometimes these characters do more good helping others than the Heroes. So like I believe, fill your purpose of being a life on this earth and make it a better place than you left it. For even background characters get the spotlight.
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:iconvelvetfish:
VelvetFish Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Filmographer
for sure.

thanks. :)
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:iconsauny:
Sauny Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Digital Artist
You're welcome.
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:iconeldingagunman:
EldingaGunman Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012
Yes, this seem to have been a theme in my life as well. There are some things I can trace it back to when I was little, and it is quite a bit vexing to try to solve it. It's like a string that have been left to tie knots onto itself, and now you've got to unravel it :P

I'd take a moment to think back to your past a little. I think most behaviors start when we're really little, then take on different shapes as we become expected to start doing some things and stop doing other ones. In your case, one of the issues is an inability to act out on emotion, and you cobble them up instead. In myself, I can trace that behavior back to an insufficient self esteem, and the childhood habit of being the 'martyr'. I was bullied and at some points I felt very alone. At some points I'd be that annoying, super-duper-friendly kid who wanted no more than to be their friend, but who seriously lacked in self respect and had little to no metaphorical spine. I was a doormat and proud of it, because it made me fit into a role as the 'helper', rather than the role of 'that kid who no one wants to speak with on lunch breaks. Lets all go tell her that no one likes her'. I'd help them with things and it made me feel better, like I was useful. But later, as a teen and a young adult, I had problems with getting out of that role. I stopped 'helping' people by then and became more of an introvert, and for a long time I had not wanted to give anyone the satisfaction of seeing me cry. It is still very difficult for me to cry, and no matter what happens I can barely do it when I'm on my own for some reason. In fact, it is so difficult for me to feel genuine grief, that when it does happen I usually become so surprised and happy that I'm capable of it, that I stop crying :l Then I become annoyed, because it IS annoying. Meh.

Mankind works in mysterious ways, my friend. Best of luck figuring things out.
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:iconvelvetfish:
VelvetFish Featured By Owner Nov 11, 2012  Student Filmographer
how did you know? what you just described was me as a kid, too. i'd be loathed and bullied by my peers, but i'd help them out because i wanted to fit into that 'helper' role too. and i, too, was really friendly and always wanted to help people, even to the point of being somewhat of a doormat.

thankfully, i've been able to step out of that 'helper' role, but i'm still trying to shed that sort of 'background character' approach to my whole life. I hadn't thought about the idea of that stemming from my past 'martyr' behavior until now. hopefully, i'll be that much closer to figuring this out.

thank you so much for your kind words! i hope things work out for you too. :hug:
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:iconeldingagunman:
EldingaGunman Featured By Owner Nov 12, 2012
Heck yeah, past-bully victims unite! :iconbrohoofplz:

It's funny how the stories are so similar. I guess such themes in your life really does lead you down a specific road and shape you into a specific.. well, role I suppose. :shrug: I'm not certain if it is a depressing fact, since so many people must've walked down that road before, or if I should feel glad that I've figured it out, if just by a little bit.

Always glad when I can be of help, man. (Though hopefully of genuine help this time around xD )
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