Self-Growth Project

Barnie

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Greetings All,

Thank you for visiting my journal thread.

I am 35 years old, underemployed, and have been struggling with anxiety and depression for over 15 years.

I have a bachelor's in communications and fine art, have some coaching and building certificates, and am a nature lover. I like petite women.

I have many successes with women but with them, I have always observed that my defense mechanisms were more dominant than my authentic self, except for on a few occassions, for example, when I really connected with someone with whom I had an explosive affair in my early twenties. Otherwise, approaching women is a chore, anxiety-wrending, and often demasculating. I always feel as if I am pressuring women into doing something, even when I know they are into me from the onset.

I have slept with around 40 women. I did not have a girlfriend in college. Sex began when I was 21, and increased in my late twenties. It's inconsistent for reasons just shared.

I am a good looking guy with above average height and athletic build and expect to stay that way into my fifties.

I know how to look like a million dollars but often neglect to groom or otherwise put myself together to the best of my ability.

I have yet to break away from my parents financially and, in some ways, emotionally.

I am an only child and think that I lack awareness socially as a result, almost as if I am autistic. Social life is hit or miss with me. Sometimes I'm up to meet friends, sometimes I'm not. I estrange myself over long periods from family and friends. I do not have any female friends.

This is my first time posting on this Forum, but I have read many articles on Girls Chase and listened to most of the Podcasts.

I have my favorites, and I disagree with some of what I observe here. In particular, I have a liberal bent that makes it hard for me to get on board with the idea that women are naturally subservient to men and that being a man means being successful in buisness. But much of the "tech" and "tactics" described here resonate with me. As well as a lot of the miscellanious self-help content, some of which is geared toward men, much of which seems pretty universal to me.

Talking to girls is so scary, but so is talking to guys. As a jock, I always craved getting out on the field to play my sport, but always dredded interacting with all but one or two favorite pals on the team, for example.

Sexuality is simple and straight forward but the world is complex. It's tough to navigate. Are stigmas constructive or not? Which taboos are necessary to follow, which should be broken?

My hangups include male-male sexuality, fear being associated with it but don't care if you are. Physical intimacy with friends and family, can't cuddle with Mom and Dad, for example. Physical intimacy with children, nothing sexual there but afraid of the vulnerability involved. Physical intimacy with aging and non-preferred types, feel "wrong" for rejecting them. Flirting and being vivacious and exuberant, just afraid of "misbehaving," being "disruptive."

I have a hangup around flirting in general. Can you flirt with your friend's mother? With your cousin? With your friend's wife? With an old woman?

I think the issues go way back. There were a variety of different kinds of traumatic experiences in my childhood that created stress and agony for me, and ultimately resulted in numbing through avoidance and addictions and social anxiety. There were issues of neglect as well. Even I was unaware of it, but certain dynamics in my family lead to my never getting the emotional regulation thing down.

I have anger issues and can't sit still, like an ADD thing.

I have realized that I have an avoidant and dismissive attachment style. I also have a strong habit of learned helplessness.

My life has gotten to a point where if it gets any smaller, I'm not going to have much to hang on to at all. Besides being uncomfortable, the size of my world and scale of my dysfunction are scary because my parents aren't going to live forever and the support is going to run out eventually.

It's also scary to think that I won't give my parents what they deserve. Grandkids, support with healthcare and business interests in old age, familial embassadorship.

I have Mommy and Daddy issues. Mom's family are industrialists, dad's more like warriors. Dad became a social climber when he married my mom, and he has an insecurity complex. Mom is a firecracker and a dropout. Her social style, conditioning and rebelious nature have all been passed on to me, for a personality with a cobustiable, toxic tonic of feelings and attitudes. Dad's complex has burdened me tremendously.

The world is jaded and cynical. Half is trying to "stay on top" and the other half is trying to tear the "winners" down because it feels powerless and useless. I am a naturally exuberant, rebellious person. I feel guilty and "wrong" for being powerful and exuberant. I hate myself for being entitled and arrogant and, on the other hand, for being lazy and afraid of being myself.

I experience life as a small, confused child. Who is full of self-loathing and hatred toward the world. Who is afraid to change.

In depression, everything seems impossible, like a burdan. Depression is the ultimate coping mechanism but it is lethal.

My goals and reason for being here are to make gains in general self-help stuff-- increase self-discipline in a wide range of areas to take on more responsibility in life. And secondly, to learn how to communicate with other people without putting up defense mechanisms. And thirdly to talk to girls the way they need to be talked to in order to let you into their pants. I think these goals will be synergistic.

I look forward to sharing more and learning how to live in the world without all this suffering.
 
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Barnie

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What if flirting leads to physical intimacey?

Could be bad with someone I find disgusting. Will have to hurt them if they get the wrong idea.

Could be bad with someone who is, say, married.

If you don't flirt, on the other hand, friends' wives think something is wrong or fall in love with your mystique.

I like being hugged. Afraid to innitiate. Don't greet with a kiss.
 

Barnie

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I am spiritually confused.

Can I simply say, there is no god, but we don't need to believe in externally-imposed punishment to behave?

If someone breaks the social contract, and, say, kills another person, shouldn't they be punished?

If there is no god, does it follow that humans should take responsibility for punishing those who misbehave? Or can there be no god and no organized punishment?

Can anarchy result in order?

Can you socialize a child without ever punishing them? And is withholding or denying punishing or "teaching"?

If there were no televisions or books, what would we be? Are these technologies neutral? Do thesy alleviate suffering, or are they unnecessary for spiritual growth, which is in fact the only cause of freedom from suffering?
 

Barnie

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Above, I stated I wanted to learn how "to talk to girls the way they need to be talked to in order to let you into their pants." Actually, I want girls to ask me or invite me to get into their own pants.

I can approach an interaction in such a way that it's implied that I'm wanting a physical relationship, thus not directly asking but asking in a sense.

Or I can approach women, speak to them and touch them, recieve verbal and non-verbal invitations to be physical from them occassionally.

I speculate the reason I stated that one goal in a less-than-optimal way-- I would go so far as to say self-defeating-- is a habit of mind or belief that says, "The only way to get a girlfriend is to solicite her." It is totally unconscious too.

This seems to be good news and bad news at the same time.

Here are the two competing beliefs, taken verbatum from above.

I should talk to girls the way they need to be talked to in order that they let me be physical with them.
-vs-​
When I approach it right, I will recieve verbal and non-verbal invitations to be physical from women occassionally.

It's subtle.
 
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ulrich

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I should talk to girls the way they need to be talked to in order that they let me be physical with them.

Reframe this one to:

I should talk to girls the way they need to be talked to in order that they let themselves be physical with me if they so desire.


This one is not really under your control… you can do a lot of the right things and yet, she also has to allow herself to be seduced.
So you are not there “tricking parts of her brain” to do as you want… you are there showing that you are a perfect lover/boyfriend/man… if she is open for it.

This way, rejections won’t hurt as much… taken women that want to fuck with you but can’t will also not be something you fret too much… and girls that let you pass by mistake will not be your responsibility.
It’s liberating.

You just go out there and market the goods… it’s up to the girls to also make their own minds.
 

Barnie

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I suppress behaviors that I think could be useful in the game of seducing women. For example:
I like being hugged. Afraid to innitiate. Don't greet with a kiss.

I have a limitting belief that ignoring women I am not interested in, or flirting with other women beside them, hurts them. I struggle with the idea that we are all "on display" all the time because it seems like no matter what I do, someone is going to be hurt.

And there's this:

What if flirting leads to physical intimacey?

Could be bad with someone I find disgusting. Will have to hurt them if they get the wrong idea.

Could be bad with someone who is, say, married.

It's also possible to hurt someone unintentially while trying to impress them. I am haunted by a memory from middle school of hurting a girl's feelings by pretending I had breasts by sticking a pencil in my shirt with the tip pointed out. Her face fell as she thought I was making fun of her flat chest.

I avoided her and stopped allowing myself to goof around as a result. I guess I internalized the belief that I don't know how to talk to women.

As I think about it, that might have been a big turning point for me. I was struggling to fit in at a new school to begin with and just shut down. I was a loner throughout middle school and high school, and it really, really sucked.

I have a belief that I am "evil" or "bad". I apply a "scorched-earth" policy to my personality to guard against the presumed malevolence within me, as I've already been illustrating. The sources of the belief are, for example:
  • In middle school, I loudly berated a soccer teammate in front of everyone after he unintentionally dropped me to the ground while attempting to tackle me
  • In elementary school, I threw pebbles at another kid I did not know at a fair in imitation of a friend who had begun throwing pebbles
  • In college, I killed a flightless bird I encountered on a farm because I was frustrated with life
These examples draw on three different sources of motivation: anger/rage, imitation, and frustration. In all three of these incidents, I injured or potentially injured someone or something for no other reason than that "I felt like it."

I scorch earth: I hide inside a shell to protect others from a monster, but 1- when I look at these things I'm sorry about, they really aren't unrecoverable from, and 2- I haven't done anything worse than any of these things and 3- staying in this shell seems to produce more of the emotions that lead me to be a "horrible person' to begin with.

No, it definitely does.

But because I'm only able to "get up" at times when I have an artificial sense of wellbeing, it's hard to have authentic experiences of success.

Jesus, is this really all part of the process of growth?

For example, when I act in a "happy, gragerious" way based on an internal sensation of "flying," which seems to come on at a completely random time, I often wind up putting my foot in my mouth.

Incidentally, I thought of a refraim for addiction just now. It's a part of the personality that is unwilling not to engage in a certain behavior. You can't reason with something rigidly stuck in one position. Gotta get rid of it! So I'm looking at my addictions as dead weight, as of now, today.

Anyway, I can't believe I just admitted to killing the chicken. I didn't get pleasure out of it. I just felt numb. Afterwards, I felt afraid of being detected, but otherwise, that's it.

I feel remorse now and would have felt remorse then if I wasn't so f---ed up. As soon as I let go of the self-hate, remorse comes in and that's swiftly followed with relief and a sense of serenity. This is good to see! What I'm hoping, is that by allowing the negative emotions in, that I can expose them, one by one, to something like compassion, thus transforming them into raw energy.

I think false logic makes it extremely difficult to sort what's authentic (raw) from what's a defense mechanism, though. I think I just have to follow the emotions and try to see through faulty logic. The unconcious mind floods me with good emotions. Realize I don't need them to to the next thing on my list, including approach a girl.

I think I have to trust that authentic Barney does not hurt other people unless it's a complete accident, as in the case of messing around with that classmate in middle school.

I guess what I'm struggling with is, when to push and when to relax. What types of things do I need to be regularly doing to free me to experience my authentic personality? I don't want to get overwhelmed, because overwhelm is a set-back emotion. But on the other hand, this obviously requires some effort, and it almost seems worse to stand still than to forge ahead through anxiety. Feels like a catch 22.

I guess I'll close by saying that I'm working on it. I'm trying to overcome.
 

Barnie

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Uncoupling resentment and admiration.

So, I caught myself feeling intense dagger-vibes toward a member of the forum I project is more confident and "hip" than I am. This is every day for me. You are shit or you are God, I am shit or I am God-- and there is no in between. (Oh and when I am shit, I tell myself I am God, and when someone else is God, I tell myself they are shit.) Got all that?

I hate feeling this way because it just feels so horrible, like hot, stingy, and closed in my face and chest. And bad because it makes me act defensive and reserved, if not outright hostile.

Leads to the question: I admire this person; what kind of person am I to turn around and hate someone who has something I want or if not quite right for me, that I admire?

Never caught on to that. It's a double wammy. Unable to feel happy about myself; unable to show admiration.

Come to think of it, there are exceptions. If someone has gone out of their way to seduce me into thinking they admire and respect me, I will basically never feel daggers toward them.

That doesn't take away from the realization that I get into this position because I'm not comfortable either being myself or admitting to someone who seems better than me who has maintained his distance from me that I admire and envy him.

So maybe it's just human nature to resent those who have something you don't have, and the key is to realize it has nothing to do with them, and there's nothing wrong with being right where I am in this moment in time.

Don't need to advertise my envy or frustration. But also don't want to let it get turned into hatred, whether inward or outward.

And it seems like I can maybe sidestep this by acting on my own ambitions and taking my own risks.

I'll tell you what: I am way more comfortable with the idea of "accepting that I am envious" than of going out and trying something new.

What does that tell me???

I'm glad I'm seeing that I can decouple my insecurity from an emotional state that has nothing to do with it, e.g., envy or resentment. Perhaps this will lead to learning how to implement advice. And until then, maybe I can be less bipolar-- either obsequiess or uncongenial-- toward those who have something I want.
 
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Barnie

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What do you do when you feel despair? Anyone out there who had it feel it less than they once did or not at all due to progress with personal goals/self-growth...and/or feeling it but experiencing it in a "transformed" way that isn't so debilitating?

What's happening with me is that I am making resolutions and then entering this mental space that makes it feel like I would be better off dead than do x, y or z. Then I abandon the resolutions and return to dysfunctional patterns.

That feeling of "better off dead." Do other people experience it? Where does it come from? How can I recover faster from it when it comes?

I am 100 percent certain that this feeling is going to return to me over and over and over, possibly as long as I am alive. It's an engrained habit. It was caused by years of less severe habits foundational to it. And otherwise I definitely wouldn't admit I'm experiencing it.

But it isn't real. I mean, I'm seeing the emotional pathway as a sheet of paper folded like a fan or ladder rungs. Despair or "better off dead" only seems to be on the edge of the page or top of the ladder, but, the thing is continuous, and plenty of other emotions within this continuous, infinitely long thing knock me off center.

For example, I'll be reading an assignment for a project I'm working on, feel bored, and abandon the assignment. If I do that enough times, I'm not likely to keep my job.

Well, that's happened. So I never felt like I would be "better off dead," but I was abandoning my resolve to beat the voice resisting work. At a certain point, two creases were formed in front of and behind a new emotion.

Perhaps what happens is that that fold, or rung, makes such an impression that some of the other folds look just like it, or similar to it. So we start responding to those the same way even though they used to have different meanings entirely.

Probably, at a certain point, boredom was posited as "fun." So here I am, experiencing fun, and feeling dissatisfaction suddenly. Boredom. So I reject or eject from the fun thing I was doing and rest, during which I focus on the bored feeling previously introduced. Now I will focus on that feeling whenever I do that activity, instead of experiencing oneness with the activity I once felt. And I will be missing the fun I used to experience, or the part of myself that has the fun will be obscured from my sight.

At first, it's merely a suggestion or intuition. The suggestion that there is something wrong, the disengagement with the moment, is the beginning of the new fold in the paper. The suggestion is connected to some external, outward thing, such as being told off by your parent or arriving too late to get a cookie. Regardless, we are further from essence.

"I'm better off dead" is indeed VERY FAR from essence. But it only seems far, because it's an illusion, like every other fold.

What I'm taking from this brainstorm or rant is that it only takes a moment to cut through ALL of the separation from happiness/joy or whatever. And that after enough time has gone by, where there's been enough effort in the good habit, NONE of the negative emotions will have access to me any more.

I think it must work that way, because all of the emotions are separated, but they all seem to bleed together, meaning once some of the really heavy ones get in there, other, less extreme emotions start to have more power over us. At a certain point, every emotion will take on one flavor: the flavor we have taught ourselves to reject as a guide to action.

The change from happy to not happy was rapid for me, but the change from unhappy to kind of suicidal (haha, trying to not be overly dark here but honest at the same time) took many, many years. I was happy when I was learning the piano one day, and the next I was not. I was six. I had been taking lessons for two years. Shortly after that, I convinced my parents to let me quit, but they made me try another instrument. Cello. It is trudgery. School work was trudgery. Fast forward fifteen years and I went from being unhappy to being really really messed up.

I realized that I'de been holding up an entire emotional apparatus with fake walls. Or I was using a desk that some of my supplies and materials couldn't fit on, and they finally stopped floating beside the desk, and fell to the floor, where I could no longer reach them.

Then, after a time in that condition, I felt despair for the first time. From unhappy to despair was perhaps six years. Seventh grade to 19 years old. From 19 to 35, been spinning my wheels in life.

...But the desk supplies are only on the floor, right? I CAN reach them, if I just turn my head and put my eyes on them, and decide to bend down for them.

But again, it's different now, because I have to decide all by myself what I should have on my desk to begin with. It's actually not an easy thing to decide.

And that's a big part of the struggle with the resolutions. First I gotta decide what to resolve to do, then I gotta make good decisions about when to let go and give myself a break.

That's been happening some. Like, I will spend a couple days following the schedule. I have a good day, a good morning, and a good afternoon. I realize, shit, my desk has everything on it I want on it. I can stop there. But I can't really, can I? I stop, and I'm dead.

But maybe it's not that I can't stop at all, but that if I check out, I need to get back into the groove before I lose the essence of my forward progress.

Is there any way to know when you can take a break? Like, there's always work to be done. Just work until you drop, excpet for eating breaks?

You go to bed when you're tired, and get up before you are completely awake/rested? Work? And repeat?

And a schedule enables you to not have to think about it, knowing you've done your best to produce what your parents would have produced for you when you were a kid?

Follow the schedule absolutely, or else you are out of integrity with your resolution, and robbing yourself of the opportunity to grow at that moment in time?

I assume that if I am experiencing the feeling of despair and "better off dead," it is part of the human condition, and therefore others do too. I don't pray, but I definitely understand being desperate enough to pray. I'm not saying it's wrong to do it, I'm just saying I think it's a nonesense concept for me.

These resolutions I am speaking of are pretty basic and I won't be able to pay the rent until I am consistent with them.

It's been a while since I've even made the resolutions at all though.

I recently got to a point where I vented all this stuff with my parents, and broke down crying like three times in a single conversation. At the same time, I journaled about following a schedule and resolved to do so. This is within the past two weeks.

I've been in and out of touch with the resolutions since making them.
 
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Barnie

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I realize this has sunk in a bit more,
Reframe this one to:

I should talk to girls the way they need to be talked to in order that they let themselves be physical with me if they so desire.
and it really is an improvement upon:
When I approach it right, I will recieve verbal and non-verbal invitations to be physical from women occassionally.

The reason is that it adds the woman's state of mind.

And noticing that is enabling me to appreciate the commentary Ulrich provided and is elsewhere provided here that it's liberating to think of girls chasing.

It's the facts of seduction and beyond that, of human nature. It has to be a two way street or else you are the antogonist in a Jane Austen novel. And that is no fun whatsoever.

Must express gratitude to Ulrich again. Thank you!
 

cucumber

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Hey man,
I'm in the same boat as you, in my 30s, dealing with mental issues for over 15 years.
Can you explain how did you manage to bed 40 women dealing with all the issues you described?
From my experience they can smell things like anxiety or depression from kilometers and once they do, they will do whatever possible to get away from you.

You said you are good looking, so maybe online dating worked for you?

Cheers!
 

Railer

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First half of your initial post could’ve been written by me.

There are some interesting reads on abandonment. I like this one, because it helped me realize how "most people" handle things. Before, I would beat myself up for rather mundane errors - while the affected wouldn’t even remember them happening.

Especially in pickup one may fall for the idea of "had I just done X". In reality there isn’t so much control and X wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

What if flirting leads to physical intimacey?

Could be bad with someone I find disgusting.

Not an issue. Had the same worry, but girls will neither jump at you for it nor generate unrealistic expectations inside. They’ll enjoy the flirt in and on itself.

punishing those who misbehave

Wrong concept. Humans aren’t animals. Solution is found in looking to mitigate and repair damages.

Only a poor mind would like to have a thief spend a day in prison instead of getting them to pay for a better car than the one stolen.

What types of things do I need to be regularly doing to free me to experience my authentic personality?

Read this over and over again until it really sinks in: Use your mind as a tool. Remove it as the leader.

maybe it’s just human nature to resent those who have something you don’t have

Personally, I don’t feel it that way, which we would take as an indicator that it’s not as ubiquitous as in "human nature". Maybe a factor is the difference in the imagination of having something vs the reality of having that something. The same thing in the hand of one guy will be very different in the hand of another.

abandon the resolutions

Realized just a couple of months: I am better off accepting the day when "feeling shit" than when trying to fight it.

"Feel like shit?" "OMG! You absolutely have to do something about it! Go, work out or meet with friends or whatever!" That’s how society thinks. After all, it’s been trained all its live that "feeling good" is all there is. Bullshit.

That feeling of "better off dead." Do other people experience it? Where does it come from? How can I recover faster from it when it comes?

By not trying to recover faster from it (see above).

The idea as such is a big gambit, for we don’t know if we’ll actually be better off. No matter what is real, if just, unjust, or some divinity’s prank on us, we’re here now. We know pain. We know that we don’t like it. We know that we don’t want to inflict in on others. To die would mean to inflict it on others. Pragmatic answer: Go through with it.

I have come to see my ability to suffer as a skill. Few people have had the chance to fear themselves more than any outside threat.

And yeah, we’ve also been trained - due to all the self-help bullshit - that we’re the problem. "Something wrong? Change your attitude! Meditate. Find peace inside." Bullshit. "Everything" is a lie, all that’s sold to you is poison. The slave-system totally fucked up most humans … and they’re now looking inside of themselves to an outside problem. Lol.

Welcome!
 
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