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Feedback junkie

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While this has been true of me before I discovered the internet, I have noticed that the internet has definitely hypercharged this tendency in me. Basically, it's like this.

I currently have sixteen windows open on sixteen different internet forums. In each one of these windows is a topic I have recently posted in. I have spent the last four hours cycling between the windows waiting for responses with an increased feeling of agitation at the lack of them. In many ways, I don't care if the responses I get are good or bad as long as there is something.

This is a huge part of my tendency to make inflammatory remarks to get a reaction, any reaction.

Four hours. I could have done so much with that time.

Looking back over the last few months, there has been a huge increase in my feedback craving behaviour.

I have posted terrible things on facebook about how I wish the world would explode and everyone on it would die. I have trolled internet forums where I have previously been a member of fairly good standing just to get a response. More and more of my life has been consumed by this tendency.

It alarms me that I react so negatively to a lack of feedback, far more negatively than someone outright telling me I'm a useless human being who should kill myself.


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Can you identify a reason for the increase?

I'm pretty sure you're not a useless human being, so what I wonder is, why you think so.

It's not this recent behavior that makes you think so, that's just a symptom.

What you need to find out is the cause.

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The only reason I can think for the increase is that I've spent the last 3 months unemployed and, as a result, have spent a lot of time alone with my thoughts.

As for why I crave feedback in the first place, I have no idea. I expect it probably goes back to my childhood. Teachers, peers and even my parents largely ignored me and as a result, I behaved very badly in an attempt to get any sort of attention. I found it was easier to get people to pay attention to me if I was bad than if I was good. I guess it's a pattern that has been in my life and the lower I feel, the stronger my need for someone to notice me becomes.

Since I've felt very low lately, it's coming out more.

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Well, especially if unemployment makes you feel more invisible, it makes some sense that you'd try to prove otherwise.

I've noticed you, Bezo, and not because you've acted badly, here.

Maybe you can get to the point where what kind of feedback you get matters more than the quantity.

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Could be about par for the course, even.

Who wouldn't hide from feedback, if most of it feels negative?

Most of us who end up with an illness are involved in some kind of self-reinforcing cycle, or cycles. That's where professional help is needed, sometimes, to break out of them.

It can be done through self-help, though. It's harder; you're fighting uphill against both the feeling of isolation, and your own reinforcing behavior.

But it can be done.

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Or start with getting out of the house.

Do a certain amount of indoor (computer or newspaper) job searching each day, and then take a walk. Feed the pigeons, go to the library, whatever.

The humans you meet might surprise you. :-)

I like it; it sounds like a plan.

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