depression and interpreting feelings of love/affection

Posted , 2 users are following.

Just wanted to ask if anyone has similar feelings or thoughts on this - I have incredible trouble understanding if I love people because I love them in a pure way, or if I love people in order to ensure they will love me, and then alieviate the feelings of worthlessness and self-hatred/disgust that are so wrapped up in my depression. I think the need for others' love makes me love them in a needy way, and then I end up hurting people - they eventually have this sense of being kind of used by me and I feel a constant sense of guilt. I never realise I'm doing this until it's too late. I really want to be a good person, selfless etc. I think this is one of the only paths to happiness, but I feel I'm trapped in this cycle of kinda very dysfunctional love. It's ultimately making me increasingly alone as I drive more and more people slowly away from me, which then, of course, makes me more needy. Does anyone here recognise this as a process, or have any advice? 

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  • Posted

    Hey Elias,

    I think I identify with what you're describing. I suffer with zero self-esteem, worthlessness and constant self hatred and guilt (for what I don't know). Only had a few long term relationships where the guy ends up cheating / leaving / hurting me badly. BUT, I'm starting to think that it's down to me. I am needy because of my troubles, I don't think I can love another person properly because I am always scared they're going to find better- cos in my mind, every other person is better than me! So I guess I get controlling and have become quite good at manipulating partners to feel bad if they do things away from me. But then at the same time, I don't even know if that's true! Because I am a very selfless person and I go out of my way for others, partners especially, but then I think it hurts me even more when it is not reciprocated so then starts this huge ball of confusion and emotion where I don't know what's right or wrong or what the hell is even going on! Is it them? Is it me? It's exhausting and really I just give up.

    So.... I've given you no advice whatsoever but at least you know there is someone else out there who is struggling with this! You're not alone my friend 😊

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    • Posted


      Thank you so much for your reply, it really helped to hear someone else's problems about this. I'm sure for both of us, the truth is somewhere between our critical appraisals of ourself and the fact that we could manage our emotions better. I can only say that right now because I'm having a good head day. You sound like a good person though, and I'm sure those people you feel you have manipulated can look back in hindsight and probably know that your intentions were not bad, just coming out of insecurity. I just feel for you that it drives people away, and I know that feeling well. For me, i feel like I always unconsciously create this kind of emotional intimacy with people because I can't be myself unless I can be open about all my worries and messed up thoughts, and this makes people trust me and open up to me because they feel they can do the same. Ultimately though, even though I think I don't care, I always end up with people seeing through it and telling me it's just this manipulative act and that I don't care. They think I just use them for emotional support but don't give it back. It's really confusing to me because I do feel I care. My ex told me recently that whenever she was upset I would get upset and thus make it about me, but for me I was upset because I found it kinda unbearable that she was unhappy and i couldn't help but get upset. So what she saw as selfish I see as an expression of me caring so much that I couldn't help but get emotional. But then I don't know, I think maybe it is all manipulative and how much do I actually care? How selfish are other people? I seem to spend most of my time with these racig anxious thoughts that are all about me and that makes me a bad person, and then I stress about being a bad person and it just goes on and on

      Sorry to babble away, it's just nice to spill it all out to someone I don't know.

      Why is life so ridiculously confusing? :-)

      Thank you for reply though 

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    • Posted

      Hey Elias,

      Sorry for the late response.

      Firstly, I don't think somebody who cares about others to the point where they get upset and hurt could EVER be a bad person! I feel the same way, in fact, I feel for other people more than I feel for myself. I think for me, the problem lies in the fact that I think everybody else feels just like I do, so when the person I'm in a relationship with doesn't care about me in the same way I care about them, I get hurt! And that is the perfect opportunity for the other person to call you selfish. I have this problem in all my relationships, boyfriend, parents, friends etc. I expect them to care about me more than themselves because I care about them more than myself!!

      I am learning that I either need to accept that the majority of humans put themselves first and be myself without expecting anything, or, put myself first so nobody else has to.

      Not gonna lie though, I'm struggling. I actually feel like an alien.

      Hope you're having a good week.

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    • Posted

      Hey, I'm sorry too for taking so long to reply. I really want to write you more, I have a lot to say, I feel what you are saying and alot of how you describe yourself  makes me really know you don't deserve to be feeling the way you are right now. Being too caring makes you susceptible and vulnerable and the expectations are never met on the same level by other people, bt there is something special in the way you are, even if it is dysfunctional, maybe at times incompatable with the world.


      I'm sorry you're struggling, I am too, the last few weeks are properly on the edge. I appreciated your message more than I can explain, even tho I don't know who you are. I started taking all these sleeping tablets as well as my antidepressant, which I don't feel is working anymore, and then I am so groggy all the time as a result, so it was a dumb move. I just need to sedate my thoughts, otherwise I am too exhausted to think and I keep saying to myself I don't care about life anymore, and thinking about overdosing (although I won't do that because a friend of mine did that recently and I am watching the effects of this on everyone and it is kind of unbearable, and the whole thing is devastating, and suddenly I understand why people say it is selfish, even though I don't blame him).


      Sorry, I am babbling. About what we are talking about -  I feel like people do care about me but I am incapable of giving it back because I am too consumed by myself, and no matter how hard I try, it somehow always relates to me. I even wonder when I think I feel their pain and then get upset that I am putting on some kind of show, a way to convince people I am this caring sensitive person, but then they eventually see through it. I even think recently I am performing grief about my friend somehow. I don't know how you are supposed to know how you feel about anything at all, like the real deep down reason I do things. Do other people just not think about this stuff? The more I analyse it, the more lost I get in myself. But like you I see selfishness all around me, but somehow people get away with it, while I go crazy trying to be a good person and constantly feel like it's some unattainable thing. 

      Do you know this writer called David Foster Wallace? He wrote this speech about self sacrifice and expressions of genuine love being the only way to become a well adjusted person and lines from this are always echoing round my head. I will find the link and send it to you on here if it will let me. It is quite simple stuff maybe, but for me it has always been very moving.

      I will write more I promise. I want to help. It feels good to talk to someone I don't about this stuff and also I genuinely want to help (I think I don't have any reason for pretending somehow that I want to help because I don't know you). If i am getting weird tho, tell me and I will stop, I am always worried I'm getting weird. 

      I hope you are surviving ok these last few days. Maybe the key is not whether or not you should feel like an alien but somehow learning to like the fact that you are different from how you see others, and finding a way to use that to your advantage.

      When I have a good day, sometimes I think this kind of pain has some purpose, it makes us wise, or at least a different kind of wisdom. Maybe. I dunno. Sorry. Look after yourself. I will write more again


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    • Posted


      Sorry I've taken ages again. I've actually read your message over and over and I'm pretty overwhelmed at how like me you are with everything you say. It's like talking to myself! Things are really hard at the moment for both of us it seems, but your view point has really helped me at least attempt to see things differently. I've always hated the way I think and wanted to change to be like everyone else, but like you say, I need to appreciate my differences. We are not typical people in this world and that's okay, good even!

      I know this all too well as I have two boys who both have ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and although they are both high functioning, they do struggle with the social side of things. It's an ongoing learning process and I get so anxious about them "fitting in" but lately I've been thinking, forget about fitting in! Forget about being like everyone else! They are smart, funny, loving and beautiful boys so why should they change just to do everything the "normal" way. Nope, not forcing that on them any more.

      Totally understand what you mean when you say you feel as though you're acting out grief and certain feelings as I do that too sort of. I don't act necessarily but I feel that I am not worthy of feeling the emotion, because it is worse for other people and who am I to get upset and have people comfort me? I rarely show emotion for this reason and I keep everything I feel under wraps. I'm a bit like a pressure cooker though, every now and then I explode - or implode rather cos still nobody knows! I just cannot explain things properly to other people so now I have given up trying to.

      I still don't think you are selfish at all, you are like me in that you feel too much. When bad things happen to people I'm close to, or even not that close to, or not even anything that bad, I feel it. I feel it more than if that same thing were to happen to me. It's like I feel pain for other people in the exact same way I feel it for myself but even more. But when you try to vocalise this, it will come across like you're making everything about you but that's not what you're doing, its just that you FEEL it. Trust me, the majority of people in your life will never understand this so there is little point trying to explain it. I kinda keep it to myself which is damaging too I guess. I've become this vessel that endlessly cares for others and will never stop and say NO WHAT ABOUT ME?! I literally don't have the capacity to be selfish and it's bad. I have tried CBT and counselling but to no real avail thus far.

      I googled the writer you mentioned, are you talking about his 'This is Water' speech? I read that and again, it's like someone has jumped into my mind and then put how I view life into words. It was so refreshing and uplifting to see those words that reflect how I think everyday and have it somehow validated as a GOOD thing. I think I'm crazy with the way I think! I never make snap decisions, every time I'm in a situation I try to consider so many options for all that are involved and how they could have come to be there - it's never about my discomfort or annoyance. I do not worship money, power, looks - never have and never will. This is something that seems to have alienated me from most of my friends and relationships. Don't get me wrong, I'm no hippy and I am very well put together etc but I don't chase material things. Past relationships have left me with no self esteem cos people think I have no drive or ambition, I do, I have loads! But with things that matter to me in life. Like being a good person, mother, friend, developing myself spiritually, being cultured and knowledgeable, reading, writing, connecting, trying to look after my body and mind.

      I have rambled on totally. Sorry!

      You're not being weird - well if you are then so am I so we're good here!!! (If you read some of my other posts you'll get an idea of how not weird you compared to me!)

      Hope you've had a better week.

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    • Posted

      Hi, I'm so sorry for taking so long to reply again, I really am a total disaster at the moment. I hope you're okay. It was really nice to read your last message, you sounded kinda positive.

      I was talking about This Is Water, it made me think of how you describe yourself. My ex was the same and I always thought of that and agreed that in some way my own happiness involved becoming more like that.

      I think I am one of those people hypnotised by their inner monologue and who 'worships' various unhealthy things, I derive my self esteem entirely through work and feeling attractive etc. and I have found it to be true that it eats you up. I guess at least I am aware of this and trying to be a better person and I guess the problem for you may be that you have lost yourself in the process of being selfless. There has to be some perfect balance right? Or maybe it's just that no matter how selfless you become you can never lose the desire to receive something in return and that makes it ultimately feel fruitless. I thinkyour children are lucky though to have you and that the fact that you have them means you will never be truly alone. That is the purest kind of love right?

      I worry about this alot as I fear I will never have a family of my own, I think I am getting old and so so so far away from even being emotionally stable enough to even be in a relationship and by the time I am it will be too late. Right now I just want to not die. I feel like the most terrible person ever and that I don't deserve love, success or even basic things. I'm taking this to a crazy level, I stopped taking all my meds because I decided I don't deserve psychiatric assistance and then when I think about suicide it is in some crazy way to show everyone I love once and for all that I cared - like I couldn't live with the fact that I hurt them and couldn't repay their love and couldn't stand the knowledge of their pain. I know they could never understand this, and I know it sounds insane but in my head it feels like the most beautiful thing I could offer, like literal self sacrifice. But then I think again and know I would just be inflicting more pain and that living with my pain is more of a self sacrifice but then it just seems too hard.

      I started reading Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. Do you know this? If not I will send you links to quotes (I know I said I would do that before, sorry, I am not on top of what I need to be doing and then things fall away). But it is helping me quite a bit with just day to day survival. I have to go now, but I will write again soon, hopefully quicker than before

      I hope you are doing alright

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