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Labyrinth


malign

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Bear with me: this is likely to be fairly long.

First, I want to list a series of "developmental deficits" that I perceive in myself. I define these as areas where I fell "behind" others, or did not develop to my full potential, due to my struggles with social anxiety, particularly in my younger years. The list is inherently subjective, but I believe the list itself is fairly accurate. What I'm not sure of are the degree and importance of the impairments.

The first deficit is a direct result of social anxiety: I didn't meet many people, I didn't have many friends, I didn't date many girls, I was a virgin at forty.

The second is somewhat related: there are many opportunities for experiences that I've missed, or activities that I would like to do that I've never tried. One example is that despite enjoying day hikes in nature, I have only been camping on two or three occasions as an adult.

The third deficit is a little different; it's work-related. I majored in Biology in school, but early on I got interested in computer programming, which is the field that I've worked in for the last twenty years. However, in college I imagined that switching to computer science would give me permission to become a complete recluse, so I kept it as a hobby. As a result, I'm almost completely self-taught. That, obviously, has advantages as well as the disadvantages, and shows how interested I was in the subject, but ... I still sometimes wonder whether getting a formal education in it would make me a better programmer, or at least make me more confident that I already am one.

Now, the point of this list isn't that I have flaws (everyone does), or that I have regrets about what I've missed by being developmentally delayed (= a late bloomer). I would guess those things fall pretty solidly within the realm of "normal".

Instead, I'm more interested in what I did with these facts: I repressed them. I tried to pretend, to myself and others, that they didn't exist. And it's the system I built up to do that that I want to talk about.

On the one hand, there's a part of me that wishes, would like to believe, and is willing to pretend, that it's competent at everything (or most things, or enough things ...) I have a good associative memory, so I can often pull something intelligent-sounding out of it, even if I don't really know what I'm talking about. Words, I'm really good at. Content, is a bit more variable.

Opposed to that tendency is a resistance to trying things, making decisions, committing to a course of action, because I'm afraid that I'm not, in fact, competent. It's quite obvious that this tendency keeps me inexperienced, but that seems preferable (at the time) to failing miserably and exposing my deficits.

One reason I'm writing this is that this system, the two opposing conscious forces covering up for the perceived deficits that have been pushed down towards (not completely into, but close to) the unconscious, explains a great deal about my tendency to be avoidant. Exposing the system, and especially the stuff I'm trying to suppress, might help me undo what's not working all that well.

And the other reason is to make it clear that I don't have all the answers, not even all the answers that it may appear I have. Some answers, maybe; some useful insights. I'm human; some things we all share without having to have wide experience. But I do have a tendency to fall back on the appearance of certainty, especially if the person I'm talking to appears to need that reassurance. But always, running underneath it all, I do it because _I_ need that reassurance.

And I wanted you all to know that.

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Well, it's not really that it's a huge source of sorrow; we all have our challenges.

It's trying to get it out in the open so that I can work with it. It's like saying sorry to someone who admits they have a Shadow (as you know, it's exactly like that.) ;-) We all have one; the trick is integrating it back into our lives.

As I see it, there might be several prongs of attack available: first, how bad are the deficits, in absolute terms as well as relative to problems that others face. If they're not that bad, it becomes less important to hide them. Second, maybe, would be planning ways to safely attempt to have more experiences, in a way that keeps the part that's frightened of failing from stepping in. And so on.

Thanks for caring, though. :-)

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My first thought: "Oh, how happy I would be with such "developmental deficits" instead the ones I have!" I don't like it - this superficial attitude that makes me feel a priori, for a short moment, this way. I quickly replaced this "wish" (it wasn't a wish, just a foolish "idea") by: It might be useful to make a similar list for myself and see what it would tell me.

It may be perceived as egoistic to 'talk' about myself on your blog (again!!). But I'm telling myself that maybe it could feel a bit good to you to see that even your blog has a positive, inspirational impact on others (._.')...

might help me undo what's not working all that well
planning ways to safely attempt to have more experiences, in a way that keeps the part that's frightened of failing from stepping in

I wish you good luck with both!!!

_I_ need that reassurance

This makes me feel like wanting to give you "the reassurance", but I know it's silly because that's not something _I_ could give you... But I believe that you will get the feeling you need...

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Opposed to that tendency is a resistance to trying things' date=' making decisions, committing to a course of action, because I'm afraid that I'm not, in fact, competent. It's quite obvious that this tendency [u']keeps me inexperienced, but that seems preferable (at the time) to failing miserably and exposing my deficits.

Self-handicapping. We use this to protect our sense of competence and self-worth. Was just writing about that yesterday.

I'm tired, Mark, energy-wise, tonight, so not much to offer, but I wanted to say hi in your blog.

Thanks for sharing.

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It's trying to get it out in the open so that I can work with it. It's like saying sorry to someone who admits they have a Shadow (as you know, it's exactly like that.) ;-) We all have one; the trick is integrating it back into our lives.

As I see it, there might be several prongs of attack available: first, how bad are the deficits, in absolute terms as well as relative to problems that others face. If they're not that bad, it becomes less important to hide them. Second, maybe, would be planning ways to safely attempt to have more experiences, in a way that keeps the part that's frightened of failing from stepping in. And so on.

I think I understand where you're coming from on this. I've felt the need for a "social playpen" for several years now. Some place to let the developmentally-delayed/Shadow things out and if they're not so great, well, we find out what's what and it's not the end of the world.

Would you like to try doing that some more here? Or does your position as administrator mean that you don't get to be as "anonymous" as the rest of us? If so, that's really too bad. You do a great job here and it seems like the least we could do for you is to let you be "regular" here sometimes, if you want.

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Although you may feel that whatever competencies i have may be lacking, what i do have tell me that you are perfectly competent. Hopefully one of my functional competencies is assessing the competency of others, otherwise my belief your supposed competent-ness is within a respectable range on average, is all for naught. If so, I'm probably screwed, but you might still be ok. =j

What could work, and is a favourite strategy of mine, is to enter into some activity/ situation/ endeavour etc with the acceptance that you are an ass, and subsequently, will look like an ass. Reduced expectations.

And don't stress...let me reassure you...your advice is sound, and even if it isnt, everybody has likely got their heads pretty deep in their own BS to notice anyway.

=P just razzin ya....you're a good dude. =)

Of course, I can only speak for myself, but I appreciate your opinions, encourage you to be fallible and still respect your competence, whether it’s of the ‘keen associative mind’ variety, or of genuine wisdom and insight.

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I could enter a donkey race! ;-)

... but I wouldn't want to work my ass off ...

Meh, I agree: my advice is sound (mostly of clicking keys) "and fury, signifying" ... well, hopefully, signifying that I do care ... And hey, that's what I was trying to convey! :-)

I, too, "appreciate your opinions" and "encourage you to be fallible and still respect your competence". So scratch that first paragraph. :-P For instance, I think you have all sorts of competencies; they're just being used at cross-purposes at times. Just like mine. :-)

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