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My conflict of interest.


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Old 20th January 2018, 11:11 AM   #1
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My conflict of interest.

So, I understand that "dating" is mostly an innate biological tendency, and yada yada yada. But this tends to create a very frustrating conflict of interest for me, because in my mind, I know that dating simply isn't in the cards for me, and that I'm really not cut out for it. Yet, deep down, it's still something I strongly desire.

People may ask "Why do you think it's not in the cards for you? Why do you think you're not cut out for it?". Well, many reasons. First and foremost, "meeting people" and establishing relationships have never been something I can accomplish very well to begin with. I'm extremely introverted and reserved, and very socially inept. Not for a lack of trying, mind you; I've always been in situations where I'm around people or dealing with people, and I've tried to learn and become better at being more social, but those concepts just escape me. No matter what, I absolutely cannot "connect" with people. And that's kind of a pivotal first step in dating, being able to meet and connect with someone. Even if I could connect, there's nothing worthwhile there; I don't have a good career (I basically have a bottom of the barrel job that a high school kid could do, living paycheck to paycheck), I don't have any good career prospects on the horizon, I can't even afford to move out of my parents' house, and my hobbies and interests are all things that are super nerdy and not at all attractive to women.

Looking to what comes after that, I really do not think I'd be able to be a good partner for someone. Dates would be unpleasant because of my introversion and social ineptitude. I'm not interesting enough to hold someone's attention, nor clever and adventurous enough to come up with activities and things to do together. I'm bad at communication and would mostly choose to appease the other person while quietly stewing in my own frustration. While it wouldn't be deliberate on my part, I believe I would frequently be inconsiderate of a potential partner, mainly because I'm just so used to doing what I want and not having to think about that kind of thing. I have zero experience with physical affection and intimacy, so all of that would be horribly awkward and unpleasant (I don't even mean just sex, but kissing, hugging, and whatever else people do).

Is this stuff that can be learned? Eh. Maybe. But realistically, I'm close to turning 30, and to a degree, I am who I am. I don't see myself becoming a radically different person, regardless of what I do.

And I know, people here tend to say I sound very depressed or overly negative, but I don't really look at it that way. Am I cynical and pessimistic? Yes. But I generally try to look at myself from a realistic and logical way. I'm not sulking and beating myself up and feeling sorry for myself. I'm just kind of calling myself what I am.

Yet, as much as I know that dating is off the table, there's still part of me somewhere deep down that just won't let it go. I don't WANT to think about dating or any of that stuff. I don't want to waste any time preoccupying myself with fantasies of things that aren't meant for me. But as much as I try to distract myself and focus my attention elsewhere, it's always there, sitting the back of my head. What am I supposed to do about that?
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Old 20th January 2018, 11:59 AM   #2
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Looking to what comes after that, I really do not think I'd be able to be a good partner for someone. Dates would be unpleasant because of my introversion and social ineptitude. I'm not interesting enough to hold someone's attention, nor clever and adventurous enough to come up with activities and things to do together. I'm bad at communication and would mostly choose to appease the other person while quietly stewing in my own frustration. While it wouldn't be deliberate on my part, I believe I would frequently be inconsiderate of a potential partner, mainly because I'm just so used to doing what I want and not having to think about that kind of thing. I have zero experience with physical affection and intimacy, so all of that would be horribly awkward and unpleasant (I don't even mean just sex, but kissing, hugging, and whatever else people do).
This sounds less than fun for both of you. Are you sure you would enjoy this? I would suggest that before you do this sort of thing, you should sort the rest of your life out and get to a place where you could do it with at least a small amount of confidence. To do that, you need to have something to hang your hat on or take pride in. If there's currently nothing, you need to step out of your comfort zone and change it. Improve your situation somehow. Go back to school, learn a new skill, anything like that that will advance your situation in life. Then you can at least show some promise. You'll have a much better time dating someone if you can both see that your situation is likely to improve, rather than you being downtrodden and assuring her "this is as good as it will ever get."

I say go back to school and learn something practical, that you can earn money for, that you hopefully enjoy as well. Even if you don't love it, I'm sure you'll enjoy the opportunity and change it can afford you.

Best of luck.
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Old 20th January 2018, 12:35 PM   #3
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This sounds less than fun for both of you. Are you sure you would enjoy this?
Well, that's my point. Logically speaking, I know that dating shouldn't even be in my mind, because I know I would not be a good partner. Yet, deep down, I have the strong desire for love and intimacy and affection. But I don't actively try to date or find that, because I know I can't be that.

My conundrum isn't that I want to date and get what I can out of the other person even if that makes them unhappy; rather, my conundrum is that I don't date because I know it would be bad, but there's a part of me deep down that wishes I could have something good with another person, and it won't shut up.

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I say go back to school and learn something practical, that you can earn money for, that you hopefully enjoy as well. Even if you don't love it, I'm sure you'll enjoy the opportunity and change it can afford you.
I would be totally willing to do that if I could come up with something that I feel I could reasonably pursue and hone my skills at and be able to make a living off of. But I really can't think of anything. I never had a "plan B", and for the life of me, I still can't come up with one. And I don't want to go back to school without having a "plan", otherwise I'll waste a bunch of time and money floating around aimlessly.
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Old 20th January 2018, 11:53 PM   #4
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Hi Inflikted,

I was wondering whether you have ever felt that you were able to connect with someone, whether family, friends, pets etc? If so, what led to the connection? If not, what specifically do you think would create a personal connection for you?

Do you know why specifically you keep coming back to the thought or fantasy of dating? Where would you like to be in terms of relationships with friends, family or dating? Putting aside the barriers you mentioned.

My view is that going from an introvert to a relationship can be very daunting a a bit of a learning curve. But if you really want to, you can achieve a relationship. No one is a perfect partner, especially in early relationships where we are learning to be part of a couple. It’s something you can absolutely learn. Probably a learn as you go. That is how it has been on my experience having started dating at 25. I’m now 30 and have learned so much and am far less worried about the types of concerns that you mentioned in your post, concerns that I had also. But I am still learning a lot and will always, we are all learning.. Dating and all it entails did not come naturally for me and I had a lot of anxiety but overcome it just by going with it and taking things slowly.
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Old 21st January 2018, 2:25 AM   #5
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I would be totally willing to do that if I could come up with something that I feel I could reasonably pursue and hone my skills at and be able to make a living off of. But I really can't think of anything. I never had a "plan B", and for the life of me, I still can't come up with one.
Try harder. Even people who are of below average intelligence manage to go to college, graduate, and get jobs. You've shown you're capable of stringing some sentences and coherent thoughts together without any noticeably grammatical or syntactical errors, you should be more than able to get into a state college, at least. The bar isn't that high. Look through a course catalog at the state university, pick your program, and go for it. Don't waste time or make excuses, do it now. You're getting older. It's now or never.

Best of luck.
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Old 21st January 2018, 2:58 AM   #6
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You're overthinking things again, IMO. Lots of us introverted types think or wonder about the same things when we have zero experience. I know I did. We carry on with life, work on our careers, do things that interest us, meet people there, GET experience - and our perspective changes.

There is no way to theorize yourself through this. Either DO something about it, or don't.
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Old 21st January 2018, 10:22 AM   #7
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I was wondering whether you have ever felt that you were able to connect with someone, whether family, friends, pets etc? If so, what led to the connection? If not, what specifically do you think would create a personal connection for you?
I dunno, not really, I guess? I always feel like I'm just a perpetual acquaintance, "that guy I work with/ go to school with/ interact with only at this specific activity".

I mean, there was an instance several years ago where I really thought I was connecting with this girl I worked with. We got along really well, and seemed like we were very in sync, and for me, it actually felt so natural to be able to loosen up and be myself around her. It just felt... "right", for lack of a better word. Naturally, I developed feelings and pursued her, but it turns out, she wasn't actually into me. I had a lot of trouble dealing with the rejection, and in the end, I ended up creating a lot of awkwardness and making things uncomfortable, and she pretty much grew to hate me and want nothing to do with me.

So, I THOUGHT I was connecting with someone, but as it turns out, I was wrong. Beyond that, I've really never felt like I connected with anyone.

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Do you know why specifically you keep coming back to the thought or fantasy of dating? Where would you like to be in terms of relationships with friends, family or dating? Putting aside the barriers you mentioned.
I mean, when I was a lot younger, my life goals were pretty simplistic and plain. I wanted a satisfying career, I wanted some level of a social life, and I wanted to "fall in love" and settle down with someone. But, the older and less naive I got, the more I started seeing how those social aspects didn't really fit into my life. Somewhere deep down, I still yearn for them. It's especially difficult, because I'm constantly around people, due to work or whatever, so I constantly see people that have so much more going on in their lives than I do. People who are married, or in relationships, people who have good friends, people who have some calling to put their energy into. It's hard to not still have that itch when all that stuff is constantly around me, almost "taunting" me.

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Try harder. Even people who are of below average intelligence manage to go to college, graduate, and get jobs. You've shown you're capable of stringing some sentences and coherent thoughts together without any noticeably grammatical or syntactical errors, you should be more than able to get into a state college, at least. The bar isn't that high. Look through a course catalog at the state university, pick your program, and go for it. Don't waste time or make excuses, do it now. You're getting older. It's now or never.

Best of luck.
I mean, I've been doing that, though. I look through degree programs at schools, I look through local job listings, I try to find something that resonates with me, that I feel I could reasonably become decent at and make a living doing, and I just can't find anything. I know my time is running out, I get that; I put a lot of pressure on myself, because I know how dire my situation is. And it frustrates the hell out of me. And I just can't find a way out of it.

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You're overthinking things again, IMO. Lots of us introverted types think or wonder about the same things when we have zero experience. I know I did. We carry on with life, work on our careers, do things that interest us, meet people there, GET experience - and our perspective changes.

There is no way to theorize yourself through this. Either DO something about it, or don't.
Is this a case of overthinking, though? As wordy as I might be, what it boils down to is that my conscious mind wants one thing, and my subconscious mind is nagging me about something else.
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Old 24th January 2018, 7:23 AM   #8
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My advise to you is to think more of yourself. A low opinion of yourself is projected subconsciously to everyone around you and everyone you meet.


The amazing thing about life is small improvements can make you feel better, you might not have that date but the process of striving to be better can make you feel better and give you more purpose. Think about it this way, you chase an objective and it gives your purpose.


Like you, away from the professional work/hobby world I don't really connect with people easily, for the most part I simply don't but this isn't the end of the world, find something that makes you happy, life is too short to be unhappy about one aspect of it when life is more than just that one aspect.


Feel good about yourself, a good example of something small. I have a property portfolio and one of the tenants was having issues with AC, I got someone around, kept her informed and got a really nice thankful e mail back with "you are the best, thank you". I didn't do much but it was a nice compliment to get (I admit she is extremely attractive so some attention was nice).


Each day you decide how you face that day, you either say 'same old" or "some new" and new can be anything, different lunch, different outfit.


Yes, you will always want to date, even though at face value it doesn't make logical sense. I think a lot of it down to biology but a lot is also down to wanting things because we want them for no real reason at all.


Keep yourself motivated, its important for life in general and enjoy the small things.
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Old 24th January 2018, 7:45 AM   #9
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Hmm, it's odd you posted this. I was just reading an article about someone very similar to you. This caught my eye

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My conscious belief was that I wanted to be loved and in a relationship.

My subconscious beliefs were extensive and included believing that no one would love or want me, that love hurts, and that I f-ck things up. I was convinced that I turned emotionally available men unavailable. Net result is that I engaged with men and in situations that reaffirmed these beliefs, specifically unavailable relationships where I never really had to truly risk myself and that inevitably caused me to be in pain (my comfort zone). ‘Available’ wasn’t an option for me and I also settled for less because, well, why would somebody who has everything going for them want to go out with someone like me? Also, note that I wanted to be loved – my relationships were about ‘getting’ a feeling that would allow me to feel a certain way where I might like myself. I figured if I had little or no boundaries then I would be loved (and they’d have no reason to choose someone else over me), clearly forgetting that no boundaries also meant the erosion of my self-esteem. Then I’d go out there, put myself in yet another intolerable situation and stick a label on it and call it a relationship. Surely their love should be compensation for all of the pain I put myself though, was my thinking.
Some of this doesn't seem to apply to you, but the part that seems to (first part) is based in fear of rejection. Number human behavior "protect yourself". It's hard to point out how irrational this fear is to someone who feels it very real. Kinda like convincing my aunt that a house cat won't climb on her chest at night and suck it he air from her lungs. The belief is so ingrained.

Ultimately, a woman will enter your life at some point that will make these fears disappear, conversation will flow, there will be enough in common that you won't even have to think about holding her attention.

Just move, get out of your own way so you don't miss her.
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Old 24th January 2018, 3:29 PM   #10
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I mean, I've been doing that, though. I look through degree programs at schools, I look through local job listings, I try to find something that resonates with me, that I feel I could reasonably become decent at and make a living doing, and I just can't find anything.
For a lot of people, having a job that resonates with them is a luxury to begin with. At some point (I'd suggest "imminently"), you should weigh your options and see that having a merely tolerable job that affords you opportunities to make you happier in other areas of life is better than whatever you've got going on now. So assess your options, and think which you'd rather have:

1). Your current life without the prospect of getting things you still desire, or
2). A different life with a tolerable job that pays the bills enough to instill you with enough confidence and respectability to get those things you desire, like a girlfriend

Don't hold your breath waiting for your dream job to drop into your lap. It's likely not to happen. At this point, you should take what you can get and make the most of it. You don't have the time to waste or the clout to demand something better.

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I know my time is running out, I get that; I put a lot of pressure on myself, because I know how dire my situation is. And it frustrates the hell out of me. And I just can't find a way out of it.
Here's the way out: do what's necessary, not what's comfortable.

Best of luck.
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Old 24th January 2018, 7:24 PM   #11
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I have to tell you, you don't seem at all introverted on this forum. You write a lot more than most people. You seem to have plenty to say, so don't know why you think no one would want to talk to you in real life. I think maybe anxiety is more the problem and that can be fixed if you see a doctor.
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Old 24th January 2018, 8:22 PM   #12
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I think as long as you continue to live with, and be codependent with your mentally ill mother who beats into your head that you will never accomplish anything...... you will in fact, not be able to accomplish any goals.

Is not that your were born with an inferior brain, or an inferior body, or a bad personality.

Your current state, your mind set, is the result of conditioning. Conditioning that needs a lot of undoing.

It reminds me of a fascinating sociological / psychological study.

There was an orphan child, and for some reason, not due to his capabilities, but due to convenience was placed in a home for the mentally disabled.

He was raised around the mentally disabled. He was interacted with as if he was mentally disabled - and he behaved, spoke etc, as if he was mentally disabled.

Years went by and he fell through the cracks, and those caring for him didn't realize he was born mentally "normal".

It wasn't until a social worker noticed something different about him... and his history was discovered.

He was in fact "normal" not mentally deficient at all. And with the help of therapy etc, over a number of years gained the skills to behave, interact, speak etc like a high functioning person.

I feel you are like that man. Obviously bright, but told something different, so much so, that you have adopted the traits of someone you are not destine to be biologically - but rather believe that is all you have.
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Old 26th January 2018, 4:05 PM   #13
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Some of this doesn't seem to apply to you, but the part that seems to (first part) is based in fear of rejection. Number human behavior "protect yourself". It's hard to point out how irrational this fear is to someone who feels it very real. Kinda like convincing my aunt that a house cat won't climb on her chest at night and suck it he air from her lungs. The belief is so ingrained.

Ultimately, a woman will enter your life at some point that will make these fears disappear, conversation will flow, there will be enough in common that you won't even have to think about holding her attention.
Perhaps, but I don't really know that I "fear" rejection. To be honest, I kind of expect rejection and failure, at this point, because that's what basically all of my endeavors result in. If anything, I find it to be a mundane inevitability.

Like I described previously, there was a time I thought I'd found someone I could connect with, someone like you described, but I was wrong and it was nothing, and I got too attached after the fact.

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For a lot of people, having a job that resonates with them is a luxury to begin with. At some point (I'd suggest "imminently"), you should weigh your options and see that having a merely tolerable job that affords you opportunities to make you happier in other areas of life is better than whatever you've got going on now. So assess your options, and think which you'd rather have:

1). Your current life without the prospect of getting things you still desire, or
2). A different life with a tolerable job that pays the bills enough to instill you with enough confidence and respectability to get those things you desire, like a girlfriend

Don't hold your breath waiting for your dream job to drop into your lap. It's likely not to happen. At this point, you should take what you can get and make the most of it. You don't have the time to waste or the clout to demand something better.
I don't expect any "dream job" to fall in front of me. Honestly, I've never really been under the allusion that I'd have a job that I absolutely love, some kind of "dream job". But I do want something that makes me feel dignified, something I feel proud of, something I feel I can reasonably do and make a life doing for a long time. And unfortunately, I just don't feel like there's anything I could really do like that. I feel like the only thing I'm "decent" at is being a bottom of the barrel "robot" that can fulfill simple tasks in the most bottom tier job, and that's about it. And that frustrates me a lot, and bothers me. But no matter how much I try to evaluate things, I just can't find a better path. My life is pretty much half over, and I'm still basically doing the job of someone that just graduated high school.

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I have to tell you, you don't seem at all introverted on this forum. You write a lot more than most people. You seem to have plenty to say, so don't know why you think no one would want to talk to you in real life. I think maybe anxiety is more the problem and that can be fixed if you see a doctor.
Writing anonymously comes a lot easier than connecting with people face to face. This type of thing is really my only outlet to vent, and people here are really the only people I have to listen to me ramble and talk about my problems. Beyond that, I don't really have anything worth saying, and in a face to face scenario, I simply can't connect with another person.

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I feel you are like that man. Obviously bright, but told something different, so much so, that you have adopted the traits of someone you are not destine to be biologically - but rather believe that is all you have.
Possibly. I mean, growing up, like in grade school and high school, there were classmates and staff that seemed to consider me one of the "smarter" ones that would go on to be successful. And when I was younger, and dealing with bullies and stuff, I use to take comfort in those thoughts. Like, "One day, this will all be different, they'll be pumping gas and flipping burgers, and I'll be something great". And... what a disappointment I turned out to be. I'm the one that's at the bottom of the barrel. I was supposed to be smarter, better, I was supposed to become something. And I'm just a disappointment, a failure.

As for my mom, yeah, I'm sure my toxic family situation doesn't help matters. But, for all the "bad" that comes with it, there's still some "good". She still does more for me than anyone else seems to be willing to. She's still the only person I can have face-to-face conversations with about certain things. She gives me more time of day than anyone else is willing to. Even if I can't tell her everything, or I can't tell her the exact things I'm going through, I can still get something from her, which is more than I can say for anyone else I interact with in person on a day-to-day basis.
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Old 26th January 2018, 4:21 PM   #14
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As for my mom, yeah, I'm sure my toxic family situation doesn't help matters.
I would argue its the source of your issues.


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But, for all the "bad" that comes with it, there's still some "good".
And I would again argue that these are not really positive things.

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She still does more for me than anyone else seems to be willing to.
That is because she has stifled and coddled you, so that you can't be independent - she wants you dependent on her. Good parents give their children tools to be independent, and then insist that they do things for themselves. They want their children to be capable - your mother wants to keep you helpless.. and thus needing her.

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She's still the only person I can have face-to-face conversations with about certain things.
Again - you shouldn't be this dependent on your mother at this age. She has hindered your social development. You SHOULD be able to talk to other people.

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She gives me more time of day than anyone else is willing to.
See above, co-dependency, stifled social skills. At your age, your mother shouldn't be the center of your life. That should be filled with friends, romantic interests etc.


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Even if I can't tell her everything, or I can't tell her the exact things I'm going through, I can still get something from her, which is more than I can say for anyone else I interact with in person on a day-to-day basis.
This is not a positive - just a symptom of dysfunction.
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Old 26th January 2018, 4:59 PM   #15
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But I do want something that makes me feel dignified, something I feel proud of,
That's fair, but beggars can't be choosers. Dignity and pride in the workplace are also luxuries. If I was you, I'd get real liberal in qualifying the dignity of a job and/or the fruits of it. Working at McDonald's probably doesn't seem too dignified on the surface, but if it allows you to take care of yourself, pay your bills, and change your life for the better while providing a service to people, isn't that a good thing? You could say that about any job that isn't actively making the world a worse place (ex: crime). If you can contribute something positive to a business and/or society, take that and run with it.

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something I feel I can reasonably do and make a life doing for a long time.
That's something to shoot for. But in the meantime, stop wasting what's left of your youth and figure out what you can do. Take an aptitude test. Enroll in some classes, try your hardest, and see if you pass without absolutely hating it. Get a degree. I feel like that's how most people ended up in their jobs. They might not be the happiest, most proud, most fulfilled bunch, but it's better than the alternative, isn't it?


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And unfortunately, I just don't feel like there's anything I could really do like that.
You need to start doing things and pushing yourself to do things regardless of how you "feel" about them. Your feelings are irrelevant. You might not "feel" dignified doing X, or "feel" qualified doing Y, but at the end of the day if you can do it and it improves the aspects of your life that you wanted changed, then it's a positive outcome, isn't it? I hate to be the bearer or bad news, but the world, job market, and work force, doesn't care how you feel. The world will keep spinning, and you'll need to keep feeding and sheltering yourself. The position you're capable of filling will get filled by someone who wanted the opportunity more and cared about their feelings less. It's like an illegal Mexican immigrant coming across the border to work in the US. He's happy to get paid a pittance to have a job and sustain his life. He doesn't have the luxury of having an opinion on how dignified it is, or how much he enjoys it. When his hunger and family's wellbeing became more important than his pride, he knew what he needed to do. You aren't there yet, you're too comfy. You aren't desperate and I fear you'll be using "feelings" for some time going forward to keep you from stepping out of your comfort zone and doing the things you need to do to get the things you want. It's too bad, but you're only hurting yourself.

You can find some sympathy here, but you need to know that if you hold off on doing necessary things because you don't "feel" 100% positive about them, you won't get the things you want. Accept that life isn't perfect for you, like 99.9999% of people, you have to play the hand you're dealt, like it or not. So maybe it's time to bite the bullet and make some effort to change. It will probably be a tough road, but you even start to feel accomplished or empowered once you start to find some competence and purpose.


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I feel like the only thing I'm "decent" at is being a bottom of the barrel "robot" that can fulfill simple tasks in the most bottom tier job, and that's about it.
Why don't you stop "feeling" or assuming you're only capable of those things and make the effort to prove to yourself and others that you're capable of more than that?

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Originally Posted by Inflikted View Post
And that frustrates me a lot, and bothers me. But no matter how much I try to evaluate things, I just can't find a better path.
There is a better path in trying to prove your preconceived notions about yourself wrong. It isn't that hard. Why not enroll in some classes at community college? Study hard. Put yourself to the test. If you're not an abject failure, which I don't think you will be because you possess at least some basic writing and comprehension skills, move on to state college. Pick a major you can do that you can don't hate and don't spend 3 years letting your feelings prevent you from making a choice. The time for that has long passed. If you can provide yourself some semblance of hope that the rest of your life will be improved upon, you can get a girlfriend when all's said and done.

Take this test and report back with the results: https://www.careerfitter.com/
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