It seems to me that you’re possibly overanalyzing what other people say in this regard. You have some good qualities that other people find admirable. Maybe they’re somehow related to how flat you feel, but maybe it’s something else. You may be kinder than you realize, or more charitable. You may be a nicer person than you’re able to recognize.
I can actually be quite personable with some effort; I’ve never had trouble making friends, but I do recognize that I’m often just “reading off a script,” so to speak, at first at least; I have merely memorized the “social playbook”.
Exactly. People aren’t terribly thoughtful. It’s just a nice compliment people say based on some positive trait they observed.
DCnDC, people are telling you they admire your aplomb and self-possession. They’re not seriously reflecting on the emotional numbness and mild dissociation that comes with it. If you got drunk or high with them one night and had a serious discussion of the pluses and negatives, they most likely couldn’t seriously evaluate the pros and cons of the situation. It’s easy to imagine the appeal of being emotionally detached in a crisis, but hard to imagine life without the emotional highs. They can’t really imagine being emotionally numb any more than you can imagine experiencing emotions as strongly as they can.
“I am self-aware enough to recognize that I am not like the people around me.”
Well, they’re not like you, either, so there’s that. I’m curious why you use the vocabulary “dead inside” rather than “stoic”. What’s the difference to you in describing your inner world?
Also, what is it about this that motivates your OP?
To me, stoicism is the outward expression (or not) of my internal emotionless state. They are connected, but not the same.
I wrote the OP because I do not understand why others have expressed to me a desire to be abnormal, but the responses have actually been quite helpful in answering that question. I can now see that such a desire is the ironic result of a misperception and misinterpretation of apathy and total lack of self-esteem as confidence, competence, and steely emotional control.
Some of us feel so much on the inside that we wish we were dead on the outside. Some of us might suspect that feeling dead on the inside might be a good first step.
If it makes you feel any better, I don’t want to be like you.
Sometimes I wish I cared a little less about things, because Jesus when you have a heart, it’s stressful. So people might mean something like that.
No one has ever told me they want to be like me. But I know that not being the most emotional person in the room has benefits. I can come across as above the fray, confident, stoic, unflappable, and mysterious. These are admirable characteristics…most of the times.
But the trade-off is a feeling of constant detachment and unrealness. Deadness. The other day we had a meeting at work and the boss said a joke. The whole room exploded in laughter for a really long time, and I couldn’t crack a smile because it wasn’t funny to me. And then I thought: well, maybe everyone’s faking and I could too if I wanted to. After all, I can crack up when shit is actually funny. It’s not like I’m totally broken.
But still, in that moment I felt very isolated and dead.
Blaster Master, I think what you’re thinking of is schizoid personality.
That’s a really fair possiblity, you could also wonder about some version of Asperger’s Syndrome, or possibly (but less likely) a chronic mood disorder. If the OP really wanted to know some psychological testing (or a good psychological interview) could probably sort it out pretty well. In any event the OP sounds like he’s doing pretty well for himself in most of the ways that matter to him.
I was a lot like DCnDC once, until I worked really hard in therapy to change. It took years to get motivated enough to start, so I can understand why DCnDC doesn’t want to. However, having experienced life both ways, I don’t think anyone would opt to become numb or “dead inside”.
Why don’t you ask the people who say that instead of strangers on the internet?
I’m curious how one changes blunt affect without medication. I can’t imagine what this would entail. Care to elaborate?
That’s me except for being in a loving and stable relationship. People admired me because they thought I was so strong. Little did they know, I would go on to become severely depressed and act out in an extreme fashion. I relate to what you’re saying because that’s exactly what it was like for me when I was younger. As I got older, the inability to feel or care about anything became a huge problem which led to bigger problems.
I’d be interested to know, too, Fuzzy Dunlop…
I wonder if their version was the result of depression or something like that. Honestly, the words “dead inside” rather than a more neutral connotation made me think depression at first, too.
And here’s what I’ll say to the OP. I do wish sometimes that I was a little bit more like you. I don’t want to be dead inside, but I would like to be able to not have to worry about the pain of a breakup, something that has hindered my ability to form long lasting relationships for as long as I can remember.
DCnDC I can relate with you somewhat. I won’t say that I’m dead inside but I a very apathetic to most things.
I am lucky enough to be gifted with just enough intellect and muscle to handle just about anything that has popped up. I was lucky enough to work in a place with a friend and I asked him what people meant when they said they wanted to be like me. The gist of it was that they saw me as a rock during a storm. When this sunk in I could only laugh. It is easy to remain appear calm and cool during times of crisis when I’m not feeling the stress that other people do.
Now when people tell me this I tell them they just have to not give a fuck (or not care depending on company).
The upsides me being this way (as I see it):
People come to me for advice, decisions without emotions are so much easier.
Life stress free is, well, stress free.
Bosses love me. I do an honest days work for a days pay. I don’t do office politics and I’m normally given problems to deal with.
I can make just about anybody laugh. Without worrying what people think I can say what others are afraid to.
Since I have a very few friends I treasure them greatly.
I am not an outgoing person. I can be sociable with people I’m familiar with, but around strangers I’m the person standing in the back watching how people interact.
My sense of humor, sometimes I go too far with jokes, but not very often.
Lack of empathy. I am not a comforter. However I am an excellent shoulder to cry on and a vent for people.
Since there are so few people I care for I might go overboard if they have problems I can help out with.
I’m sure that there are many more on each side but those are the major things I can think of right now.
This is what I think saves me:
I like protecting people and I like kids and dogs.
I blame my Dad. He was a USMC grunt in 1970 and he had a group of buddies that helped each other in troubled times. I admired how these giants helped each other.
I was worried about being so different from the rest of the world for a while. Eventually I told myself fuck it, if I can take care of those I care about and maybe a little bit more I’m doing ok. The world doesn’t care for me, so fuck the world.
My advice to you is to find something worthy you care about and expand on it if possible. Don’t worry about what others think but be polite when they say things in admiration. They see the outside and not the inside. I think the fact that you posted this shows that you aren’t dead inside or you wouldn’t feel anything when people want to be like you.
Zago, I’m very interested in what larger problems came up. Send me a message if you feel comfortable. Thanks in advance if you do send anything.
Boogly, I’ll share. For years and years I felt numb. I had no feelings and lost interest in everything. When I started feeling again, all I felt was misery. I tried to kill myself. My friends and family responded with an out pouring of love and support that was impossible to ignore. I started laughing (and crying) again. I*** feel ***love and awe for my amazing friends and family.
I think some very emotional people have been motivated by their emotions to follow half-sensical or vain passions to the point of destruction. You don’t do that, and therefore certain things about your life can be cultivated in a context of stability. And it sounds like you’re apt enough to do exactly that.
I am a rather emotional person. There’s greed and ambition. There is lust and anger and euphoria. There is pain and depression and despair. Detachment- that, too, I consider an emotion.
It sounds like you are in a kind of state of detachment, without a lot of variation. I think it is a useful state for studying things, making decisions, or ‘getting in the zone’ i.e. in control in some activity. ‘Getting in the zone’ though is associated with ‘thrill’ for (I am guessing) most people. Perhaps the thrill is exhausting and you can actually spend much more- in fact, nearly all of- your time ‘in the zone’ and thereby achieve and passively demonstrate the advantages of that.
But the ‘dead’ thing sounds negative. I don’t know if you mean it that way, maybe you are depressed in a biological way but are adapted to it.
Henry David Thoreau:
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”
I can relate, but resent the requirement to be quiet about it.
First of all, thanks for sharing.
i have more questions if you don’t mind. Feel free to tell me to eff off whenever.
Why do you think that you felt sad when you started feeling things again? Was this a gradual transition or did you realize one day that shit was weird? Did you actively work towards feelings or did this happen naturally?