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Goodbye Jesus

No Longer Suffering


Skeptic

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Why does it seem like no matter what I do, I hurt people? I try to help people and be a good person, but I still end up hurting people just by living. Just by being myself. Hurting people tears at me. It hurts me and makes me suffer. I could end that, but that act would only hurt others. I have no options left. There's nothing I can do. Am I just going to end up living life and hurting people in the process, and suffering because of that hurt until I die? And then what? People will grieve over me. People will be hurt. I wish I was never born. I wish I had never lived so that I could never hurt anyone. I hate being a good person. I hate being compassionate, if it just means that when I hurt someone, it would hurt them all the more because I am so compassionate. If I was a horrible person, I wouldn't care if I hurt others. I could say nasty, horrible things to people and laugh in their faces. I tried to be that person, but it's just a facade and everyone knows it. I know it's impossible to go through life not hurting people, but why is it impossible? Why does every good thing have to be tainted with pain and anguish? I guess this is just how my life is. I can't do anything to change it.

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My dear, dear Skeptic! I could have written that word for word at one time. I don't think I ever put it on paper. Didn't have a computer yet. But the thoughts are identical. I'll send you a pm.

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It's OK to feel that way, lots of us do. Yes, we can hurt people when we try to do good, when we do bad or when we do nothing. But I think the reason to persist in doing good is that we can have a far more positive effect overall than if we do nothing. Things happen that we can't control. The only thing we can control is what we do ourselves, and it's better for others and for our own mental health to try and help people than stand by and do nothing.

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It's OK to feel that way, lots of us do. Yes, we can hurt people when we try to do good, when we do bad or when we do nothing. But I think the reason to persist in doing good is that we can have a far more positive effect overall than if we do nothing. Things happen that we can't control. The only thing we can control is what we do ourselves, and it's better for others and for our own mental health to try and help people than stand by and do nothing.

 

Lots of people feel this way, you say? If that's true, then how do those people live? How can they still function normally in society? I might sound angry, and I have to admit that I am, because I haven't figured that out. How does that work? How do people just get past it?

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Dear Skeptic, It is difficult to know what is causing you so much pain. Obviously you are a very compassionate person who would not deliberately hurt another, but for some reason you believe that you are indeed hurting others by your actions and/or your inaction.

 

I have spent most of my life trying to take care of other people, sacrificing myself for the good of others, avoiding saying no to anyone, and still the guilt of not being able to be everything to everyone is absolutely debilitating.

 

As I read your post I had to wonder if you were truly hurting others, or if you just perceived that you were hurting them because you were not giving them what “they” wanted you to give.

 

I’m learning, very, very slowly that it is not my responsibility to make other people happy. It’s O.K. to say no. I do not have to do what everyone else wants. It’s O.K. to “put myself in the picture” and meet my own needs.

 

Yes, it is good to help others when they find themselves in a pickle or facing an insurmountable roadblock.. But… it is not my job (and probably not your job) to take care of someone else’s needs and wants to the exclusion of my own needs. Intellectually, I am learning this. Emotionally, the guilt is there.

 

Maybe I have misread your post and this is not your issue at all. If not, perhaps you can be a little more specific about how you see yourself hurting others.

 

You are being extremely hard on yourself. Try to lighten up a little bit. I believe that by seeking answers, you will find balance and learn to accept the limits of what you can do or be for other people. Hugs!!!

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  • Super Moderator
I still end up hurting people just by living.

I, too, am not clear on how it you "hurt" people just by reason of your existence. That just can't be the case.

 

Do others worry themselves sick because of the hurt they think they cause to you? Probably not.

 

If you mean well, don't interfere where your input may be unwelcome, and try to do no harm, you have a clear conscience. You need take no responsibility for how others feel.

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Obviously you are a very compassionate person who would not deliberately hurt another, but for some reason you believe that you are indeed hurting others by your actions and/or your inaction.

 

I do. I do believe that. I think I just want to protect people, even if it means that I hurt in the process, just because I can't stand to see people get hurt.

 

As I read your post I had to wonder if you were truly hurting others, or if you just perceived that you were hurting them because you were not giving them what “they” wanted you to give.

 

Hmm. This is interesting. I hadn't thought of it in that way before. Thanks very much for the insight. I'll have to think about that.

 

Yes, it is good to help others when they find themselves in a pickle or facing an insurmountable roadblock.. But… it is not my job (and probably not your job) to take care of someone else’s needs and wants to the exclusion of my own needs. Intellectually, I am learning this. Emotionally, the guilt is there.

 

I think I may know this a bit intellectually. I can say no to people. I used to not be able to do that, but I can now. To be honest, this has caused me to stop seeking relationships with people because I can't get close to them without hurting them in some way. I instead push people away, which might hurt them, but it's much less painful than if I do something to hurt them somehow.

 

Maybe I have misread your post and this is not your issue at all. If not, perhaps you can be a little more specific about how you see yourself hurting others.

 

I think you might be on the right track somewhat. I had never given the things that you've told me much thought before and I'm glad that you said them.

 

You are being extremely hard on yourself. Try to lighten up a little bit.

 

If I had a nickel for everytime I've heard this, I'd be richer than Bill Gates. You seem to know, just from what I've read, that this is very easily said, but unbelievably difficult to put into practice. I'm trying, though. Thanks very much for your input. It was well-received.

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I, too, am not clear on how it you "hurt" people just by reason of your existence. That just can't be the case.

 

Do others worry themselves sick because of the hurt they think they cause to you? Probably not.

 

Okay, now that I've thought about it, when I said that I hurt people just by being myself, that was quite a bit of an exaggeration. Let me explain what I meant by that. Say you have two friends that disagree on an important issue and you have to take one side or another. If you side with one friend, you hurt the other very much, and vice versa. What can you do in a situation like that? Either way, you hurt somebody. So just by being myself and siding with the person I agree with, I hurt another one. That's one scenario where I feel like that.

 

If you mean well, don't interfere where your input may be unwelcome, and try to do no harm, you have a clear conscience. You need take no responsibility for how others feel.

 

This is also a bit easier said than done. People used to come to me all the time wanting my advice on various things. I could be sitting on the bus and some random lady sits by me and tells me that her father died two months ago and is almost crying, but I can't say anything because I feel awkward. That scenario actually occured about a week ago. That's not the kind of thing that really gets me, but it adds to it. I think I feel this way partly because I was raised to feel extremely guilty about just about everything, even accidents and things that weren't my fault at all, and when you've been in that mindset for about a decade, it's very hard to get out of it.

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  • Super Moderator
I think I feel this way partly because I was raised to feel extremely guilty about just about everything, even accidents and things that weren't my fault at all, and when you've been in that mindset for about a decade, it's very hard to get out of it.

 

I wish I could help, but you have described a rather serious neurosis, if not worse. If all the good suggestions which you even agree with intellectually are "easier said than done" there's not much more to say. You may need more help than you can get from an online forum. Professional counseling would be helpful in letting you internalize what you already know to be the healthy responses to your feelings.

 

Again, wish I could give you something of substance. Good luck, don't give up.

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Your comment about the lady on the bus made me chuckle. Not because what happened was funny, but because I felt a connection to you. I frequently tell people that I am a ‘weirdo’ magnet. What I mean by that is that it seems like every challenged person within a mile of me zeroes in on me no matter how many other people are close by.

 

When I read Vigile’s post the other day about the woman who needed diapers for her baby, I felt a moment of panic. I actually physically felt anxious as I read that post because I knew that if I had encountered a woman like that, she would have fixated on me and somehow I would have ended up feeling responsible for her and her baby.

 

I am working so hard to get over feeling guilty about things that are not my responsibility.

 

Have you read any books about boundary issues? I went back and reread your testimony and I see that you are probably hauling around a lot of baggage from your childhood. And, you are also still very young. I don’t want to depress you but I am 53 years old and I still haven’t ditched all of my childhood baggage!

 

I was going to go read some of your other posts but I’ve been up way too long and I need to give up for the night. I was interested to see if you had posted in the mental health thread. It seemed that your original post had a bit of an obsessive tone to it.

 

Bottom line, I think it is good that you are questioning and looking for support. I wish I had been able to seek answers and shed some of my damaging behaviors at a much earlier age!!!

 

Take care,

noob

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I wish I could help, but you have described a rather serious neurosis, if not worse. If all the good suggestions which you even agree with intellectually are "easier said than done" there's not much more to say. You may need more help than you can get from an online forum. Professional counseling would be helpful in letting you internalize what you already know to be the healthy responses to your feelings.

 

I am already well aware of this. I'm in the process of seeking psychological help at the moment. I just moved recently and I'm still trying to get settled here first.

 

Again, wish I could give you something of substance. Good luck, don't give up.

 

Thanks.

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What noob said above.

 

Pretty insightful stuff noob.

 

Thank you, QEC!

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Guest QuidEstCaritas?
What noob said above.

 

Pretty insightful stuff noob.

 

Thank you, QEC!

 

You're welcome, I thought it was good advice.

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Your comment about the lady on the bus made me chuckle. Not because what happened was funny, but because I felt a connection to you. I frequently tell people that I am a ‘weirdo’ magnet. What I mean by that is that it seems like every challenged person within a mile of me zeroes in on me no matter how many other people are close by.

 

I definitely understand that. Pretty much every friend I have has some type of mental illness or developmental disability.

 

I went back and reread your testimony and I see that you are probably hauling around a lot of baggage from your childhood.

 

Yeah, that's part of it. All I'll say is that I have a very interesting background.

 

And, you are also still very young. I don’t want to depress you but I am 53 years old and I still haven’t ditched all of my childhood baggage!

 

That's something that scares me quite a bit. I can't imagine myself in two or three decades with this same stuff. I'm sure some of it will change, but it's something that really gets to me.

 

I was interested to see if you had posted in the mental health thread. It seemed that your original post had a bit of an obsessive tone to it.

 

I did post in the mental heath thread. I didn't post my list of mental issues, mostly because I haven't been fully diagnosed yet, but I did post there.

 

Bottom line, I think it is good that you are questioning and looking for support. I wish I had been able to seek answers and shed some of my damaging behaviors at a much earlier age!!!

 

Thanks for that sentiment.

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I'm so sorry for what you're experiencing, Skeptic, and for the background experiences that have probably precipitated these feelings.

 

I wonder... have you ever asked someone you believe you've hurt, "Have I hurt you?"

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I'm so sorry for what you're experiencing, Skeptic, and for the background experiences that have probably precipitated these feelings.

 

Thanks for saying that. It really does help to know that people care. Writing that original post was not an easy thing for me to do. I'm usually very reserved emotionally, so posting those feelings on a public Internet forum was a new experience for me.

 

I wonder... have you ever asked someone you believe you've hurt, "Have I hurt you?"

 

The people who I have hurt honestly did seem to be very hurt at the time. They might've gotten over it since then, I don't know, but at the time, they were very obviously hurt.

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The people who I have hurt honestly did seem to be very hurt at the time. They might've gotten over it since then, I don't know, but at the time, they were very obviously hurt.

 

Can you give any examples? (Please don't do it if it's going to resurrect bad feelings for you!) I'm interested in how others here might view such incidents.

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Lots of people feel this way, you say? If that's true, then how do those people live? How can they still function normally in society? I might sound angry, and I have to admit that I am, because I haven't figured that out. How does that work? How do people just get past it?

 

People don't get past it. Some, like the Jains in India, take it to one extreme, trying very hard to not harm a single living thing by wearing masks and sweeping the ground in front of them to avoid killing insects and bacteria. Others develop messiah complexes and get themselves nailed to crosses because they believe they are the key to solving suffering around the world.

 

People come to terms with it. And I think noob described that process very well.

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Late to the thread but what the heck...

 

...Skep, without more specific examples of course it's hard to tell whether you're doing anything wrong or somesuch... but as a generic comment: Whether there's some kind of neurosis et cetera involved on your part or not, we humans tend to disagree much over many things. In a sufficiently large group it's impossible to find everyone agree with you no matter what, and the next level of that is that eventually you will run into people who feel hurt by what you say or do. A certain percentage of that is, sadly, normal.

 

The question is, is it your fault, their fault, or just the law of statistics raising its ugly head?

 

Some people (claim they) feel hurt at the drop of a hat. Not much you can do about it, and with those it's not your fault. You could just as well claim that it's the victim's own fault for having stood in the bullet's way.

 

Some cases are just the statistic like I said above. Also not much you can do about it. It happens. Shit happens. End of story. :Hmm:

 

And then there are cases where it may well be your fault. The question is, again, how often does that happen? Every now and then it's inevitable. Now if it happens with like every other person you meet, that's another case. And don't forget that our own memory loves to play tricks on us. If you meet ten new people and hurt one of them, you'll tend to remember that one case, forgetting the others.

 

I am aware that this is probably not of much help for you... but it's a dose of reality I'm trying to inject into your mind. Maybe it will do some good. If not, at least I tried. :)

 

That said...

 

(((((Skeptic)))))

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Phanta, you're pretty smart for a girl!

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One big benefit of adversity is that it can be a mechanism for growth

 

That's something that I've learned both from seeing myself overcome adversity time and again and seeing others do the same.

 

 

Once a long time ago, a man I loved very much decided to end our romantic relationship. He did this because he felt there were elements of our dynamic that made life unmanageable for him, and he could find someone better suited to him. I very much wanted the relationship, and was devastated. Initially, I plead with him to stay with me, but within moments, I became quiet. And so we ended. On top of this, I was very ill at the time, and the nature of my ailment made it very painful to cry. I was feeling pretty crummy.

 

Many friends were horrified that he left me during my illness. I was not horrified at all, as I don't want to be with someone who doesn't want to be with me. Period. I was grateful that he respected me enough not to hold up the facade of a satisfying relationship out of pity. Honesty, for me, is always a mercy.

 

As sad as I was that he left me, from the very moment he did it, I admired his honesty. I knew he had carefully weighed the situation and his own tolerance levels, and made this decision from a place of strength. Not only did I admire his difficult and considered path to this decision, but I choose to learn from it, and take that wisdom into my own life. I grew as a person.

 

Traditionally a crier, I could have wallowed in pity over my condition. Instead, I explored with curiosity new ways of addressing my grief, and learned a wider range of coping mechanisms for working through toward acceptance. Handy!

 

I could have blamed him for making my illness period worse, for causing my suffering. What a crock! Pain was inevitable, yes, but I took charge of my suffering through my choice in attitude, and reaped instead the benefits of facing adversity with a growth attitude.

 

In the long run, I found acceptance around our broken relationship, and healed. I never for a moment, even in my worst grief, regretted the relationship. I am so much stronger for it. We didn't communicate for several months, to facilitate healing. Now we are very good friends, happily dating other people on and off. Life is good.

 

I'm very glad that you got something good out of your horrible situation. Unfortunately, I'm not at that place yet. I try to be, but it just isn't happening for me yet.

 

I guess what I am saying is that difficulty and hurt aren't holistically bad.

 

I will agree with you that normally, those things aren't bad, but I take them to such unbelievable extremes that it can't be anything but debilitating.

 

Psychologist and concentration camp survivor Victor Frankl calls the choice of attitude in the face of suffering the last human freedom. If one chooses an attitude of the student, rather than the victim, the one who has come to harm (and even the transgressor!) can benefit from the difficult situation. That doesn't mean I go about hurting people on purpose to help them grow or something, but I now see that the reasonable pain that people cause each other every day--often without even meaning to-- can facilitate tremendous growth that prepares us for future hurts, some of which are unavoidable, like loss through death.

 

This makes sense. I don't think it's applicable to my particular situation, but it does apply to other social situations for me. That's something that I need to remember.

 

I can choose to forgive myself, to learn from an error in judgment, to accept that I am just not powerful enough to do anyone lasting, irreparable harm.

 

I guess you've never had a friend who was suicidal and reaching out to you as the only person who cared for her only to emotionally withdraw from her and say something to her that caused her to attempt suicide in front of you, saying that if you got her any medical attention, that she would kill you. Then you get her help anyway because, after all, it's the least you can do in that situation, but then she comes back to school and hears people picking on her because they don't understand the situation and you hear about her locking herself in the bathroom and not coming out. Even then you're too much of a spineless weasel to stand up for her, so you completely abandon someone who you cared about and who cared about you for reasons that you don't even remember. You never talk to her again because you're terrified of her, partly because you had a nightmare that night that you found her dead body, so you don't know how she's doing. She could be dead for all you know. She could've attempted suicide again and succeeded this time. Who knows? You want to contact her, but you know that there's no way that she could ever forgive you for the pain and the torment that you caused and how that negatively impacted her life and maybe continues to impact her life. So you hold onto these feelings, never telling anyone, never seeking help, because you detest yourself so much for what you did and the pain that it caused another that you feel that you have to shoulder that burden. You have horrible nightmares for years because of it, four or five nightmares a night. Vivid, terrifying nightmares where you try to scream but no sound comes out, but you're still screaming in your head, even when you finally force yourself to wake up. You have a dull ache in your chest that won't go away and only seems to get stronger at times, causing you to double over in pain. Anytime you talk about it or remember something about that situation that you forgot, it causes your entire body to shake uncontrollably. Maybe I didn't cause her irreparable harm, but how will I ever know that when I'm too terrified to contact her? All I know is that for an undetermined period of time, I made someone's life a living hell, and that is something that I will never forgive myself for.

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I have not been in this exact situation, though I have been overwhelmed by deeply suicidal loved ones who were looking to me to take responsibility for their lives.

 

This woman you care about is an emotional threat to you, a physical danger to herself and possibly a physical danger to you as well. Some professionals with specialized suicide crises training can sometimes help a person who is ready to learn to take full responsibility for her own life. You are not qualified to do this. There is nothing you can do except take care of yourself, which is your job. That means keeping your mind and body sound and whole.

 

Your friend is not your responsibility; her choices are not your fault.

 

Phanta

 

This already happened three years ago. I did get her medical attention and she had already been seeing two specialists at the time, so maybe she's a bit better. Like I said before, I don't know her situation.

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You don't have that kind of power.

 

I myself don't have that power, but words do. Words can make or break a person. As someone who has survived verbal and emotional abuse, I know this for a fact. The saying "sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me" is a fucking lie.

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Skeptic, the example you gave of the suicidal friend is an apt one to examine. Phanta is so insightful about this. Threatening suicide and turning over the responsibility for life or death to an unwilling and untrained other person is MY definition of causing hurt.

 

She caused hurt. To You. Not vice versa.

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