Welcome to the Anti-Social Social

BananaInTheBackPocket

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Have you ever wondered if you’re cursed and/or blessed with a paradox?

Do you have an ability which may be natural but seems to go against your nature?

Are you good at something which perhaps you wish you were not good at?

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“Life always gives us
exactly the teacher we need
at every moment.
This includes every mosquito,
every misfortune,
every red light,
every traffic jam,
every obnoxious supervisor (or employee),
every illness, every loss,
every moment of joy or depression,
every addiction,
every piece of garbage,
every breath.

Every moment is the guru.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck

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According to people… I’m good with people.

According to me… I’m not good with people. I’m good when people aren’t around.

So, for me, being good with people is a talent I’d rather trade in for something else, but apparently this isn’t an option. Or at least I haven’t yet figured out how to make it an option.

Bargaining… it’s one of those things… those stages you go through when you’re not accepting life, and your life, as it is. You’re not accepting yourself as is.

Being good with people serves no purpose for me. It doesn’t get me special treatment or useful gifts and favours. What it does is make people seek me out when they need special treatment, useful gifts and favours.

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“We have a fictional “I” that we try to love and protect. We spend most of our life playing this futile game. “What will happen? How will it go? Will I get something out of it?” I, I, I—it’s a mind game of illusion, and we are lost in it.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck

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This happens with strangers as much as those I know socially.

If someone needs an ego boost, a shot of self-esteem, inspiration, a muse to kick their creativity into go, an explainer of puzzles, a rational voice during an irrational spell, a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, an eye to witness, a singular support system, a free and unofficial therapist, a friend in need, a person to rant at who won’t take it personally, a safe place to let it all out… then I’m suddenly on their radar and they home in on me.

As soon as they get what they want from me… they’re gone… until the next time.

But if I need any of that… better luck elsewhere.

I only exist when people need me to exist for them, when they don’t need me, I don’t exist.

Much of this is my fault, and I really can’t blame anyone else. Or can I? What’s the point of doing that!

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“…we’re constantly waking up to what we’re about, what we’re really doing in our lives. And the fact is, that’s painful. But there’s no possibility of freedom without this pain.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck

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The photo with this post is one I took the other day. I’m not sure if the cyclist is giving the peace sign, the V for victory sign (pretending he’s crossed some cycling trophy finish line), or telling me to eff off – as he saw me spin around to take this pic and knew he was my subject. I didn’t want to take it head on because there were cars behind him and I wanted to capture a lone cyclist.

Perhaps because I see myself as a lone cyclist. We tend to capture what we see… what we see is influenced by more than just they eyes.

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“At any given moment, we are the way we are, and we see what we’re able to see.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck

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I tend to blank myself out when people are around, when dealing with people. I go to sleep and let them dream, let their dreams take over. I get out of their way, and so the party is for them. They need this, I don’t.

I don’t need you to blank yourself out for me, don’t need you to deal with me, don’t need you to go to sleep and let me dream, or let my dreams take over. I don’t need you to get out of my way, and don’t need the party to be mine.

I’m okay as I am even when I’m not okay with that. Effing paradoxes!

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“I struggle with my life because instead of just doing what needs to be done, I fight the underlying fear; I try to unlock the door. Paradoxically, the only way to unlock the door is to forget the door.
Instead of obsessing about the locked door, we need to be going about our lives, which means cleaning up the house, taking care of the baby, going to work, whatever.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck

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This week I thought I’d share some of ‘my bad’ with you… see what happens. Maybe you can relate. Or not. Maybe it may help you to relate to those people in your life who, like me, are anti-social… not because of you but because of them. But perhaps also because of you, but it’s not your fault.

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“Who knows how you should be? We simply do our best, over and over and over.”
― Charlotte Joko Beck

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Welcome to the anti-social social!

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26 thoughts on “Welcome to the Anti-Social Social

  1. Hi, I chanced upon your blog through the Discover channel, and what a blog you have!
    First of all, this post TOTALLY resonated with me, which I probably never dug into until you have laid it out all in front of me. “I only exist when people need me to exist for them” – so many times this has occurred and so many times have I accepted this as my “normal value-add” and it’s not acceptable! Why should I only exist as the trash can for people’s worries and disturbances? Just as you wouldn’t see me in people’s curated instagram “besties hugs” pics; you would see me come to the rescue when the fallout occurs. I try not to think of this paradox. Sometimes I find the most peace when I am just being alone…or talking with strangers! 😜

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      In many ways this blog is what happens when I spend time on my own. I’m an only child who grew up without socialising that much with other kids until I went to school, so my first friend became me. I tend to have a lot of conversations with myself, chatting about life and the experiences and observations which come along with living. If something occurs which puzzles me I like to try and figure it out, see it from as many perspectives as possible until I make some sense out of it and understand it better.

      I love asking questions and seeing where those lead, and whether there is an answer or just more questions.

      People are puzzling – we’re as puzzling to others as they are to us. If you were to confront those whom you see as treating you as a dumping ground for their problems about them only contacting you when they are worried or disturbed, chances are they would be surprised (and probably hurt) that you didn’t like this role they’ve given you in their life. Whatever their reaction they would most likely end up blaming you for why they treat you that way – if you didn’t like it why did you do it, why didn’t you say something sooner.

      The answer to that question is as difficult to give as the answer to why they do what they do.

      Relationships are a constant source of puzzles and paradoxes. The things which people do in relationships which are the most puzzling are usually not something they think about consciously, they’re a patchwork of things they’ve picked up from their environment, from their social interactions, from absorbing random rules of social interaction and cultural customs, from the way they were treated as children, from how they saw their parents behaviour (which becomes the template of our later adult interactions), and mimicking what they see others doing and saying without necessarily understanding why these things are done or said.

      We often don’t think about the way we are, what we do and say, how we treat others or ourselves, how we allow others to treat us, until something makes us pause and notice it in a manner which makes it impossible to ignore, dismiss, and ask why?

      The talking with strangers thing is an intriguing paradox – Why can we talk more openly and honestly to strangers than we can to friends? And if a stranger with whom we have a particularly great connection and great conversations should become a friend over time, do we end up finding that we can’t talk to them anymore like we did when they were a stranger?

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      1. Hey, that’s excellent, your words flow effortlessly and are pleasure to read. I have constantly marvelled at the ease with which I can strike up connections with virtual strangers, yet recoil from telling such things to friends. From my perspective I am liberated from judgement / preconceptions / expectations when it comes to strangers that otherwise I would have to observe with friends. Sometimes it is just tiring… I have recently tried to explore this in the context of holiday romance – https://somuchtotellu.wordpress.com/2016/09/25/romance-on-the-road/ – if this is of interest ^_^

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        1. What a wonderful exploration, you have a beautiful style of self-expression and an insightful imagination – I noticed in the comments of your post that you said you hadn’t actually experienced what you envisioned so well.

          This made me smile – “The thought of your holiday romancer as the permanent fixture in your life has the potential to turn any vestige of romance to dust.” – I met my life partner while we were both on holiday. I’d never been in love, so it took me awhile to realise that was what was happening to me. When we parted ways I didn’t think we’d ever see each other again as an ocean separated us, and, like you pointed out, it fell under the heading of ‘holiday romance’ and no one expects those to be anything more than ephemera which can’t exist in the ‘real life’ of the day to day. We’ve been together for two decades. 😉

          One of the things I sometimes do when with those I know well is imagine what if’s – what if I didn’t know this person, what questions would I ask them about themselves to get to know them – what if they have a secret life, what would it be – what if none of my assumptions about them due to knowing them for so long are right – what if I listened to what they say differently than I usually do – what if they’re not who I think they are, what more to them to they have which I haven’t noticed…

          People always have facets to them which we haven’t seen, no matter how long we’ve known them and how many facets we have seen 🙂

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          1. Wow – that’s exactly the story I was hoping for when I set out to write that piece! I romanticise it because I know it must exist out there and I think I would gladly be a guinea pig if I was myself available 😂 Thanks very much for sharing your story.
            Hey, I ask the what ifs all the time! But people think I’m crazy, “why ask such silly questions when you know the answers…” It’s hard, that’s not to say I don’t appreciate friends, quite the contrary there are friends I grew up with that will always remain so.

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  2. So true. I was thinking of how much you give from your own deep awareness which has come with engaging with your deep wounds and so having the ability to see this in others, too. It is frustrating at times when we are the ones seeing and giving a lot, often giving the benefit of the doubt or just cutting someone some slack when they are being very hurtful. What I am learning for me is that sometimes I feel really angry about that and its okay to feel that way. In my case I got a lot of conditioning from my Catholic background and at home about not being human and messy. I constantly find myself cleaning up my own “mess” at home which others with a different conditioning would not see as mess. I’m trying to relax a bit more with being messy as its a creative place to be often. Also when we have had a pattern of not being seen or getting our own needs met we learn to meet others needs in the way we would have liked ours to be met, but secretly, like Lynette said it can be frustrating when we don’t get seen for having needs too.

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    1. As much as my family was a frigging nightmare, I’m really grateful that religious indoctrination wasn’t a part of that. That’s adding a layer to the layers which are already too much of a burden for a developing being.

      My paternal grandmother was Roman Catholic, and always lighting candles to pray that those she loved would become who she wanted them to be or do what she wanted them to do. While she benefited from those she prayed for doing otherwise. She wanted my father to be a bus driver (this was a story I was told), but he went down a different career path which enabled her to never worry about money and stuff again (because he always provided for her and made providing for her a priority) – but she still criticised him for his career choices. Family!!!

      We get given a mixed bag of mess which we then have to make some sense of it for ourselves. Sometimes we live it out later on with those we meet later on. At some point we get to a promontory where we assess things and… if we’re listening, we hear what we really need to hear.

      We’re all a bit of a mess… that mess is what we make of it 🙂

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  3. Oh, I definitely resonate with this: “Being good with people serves no purpose for me. It doesn’t get me special treatment or useful gifts and favours. What it does is make people seek me out when they need special treatment, useful gifts and favours.”

    And my experience is similar with regard to people seeking me out when they need a boost, a shoulder, some inspiration, etc. and then, with many of them, I won’t hear from them again til the next time they need … stir and repeat. (Or the good folks who say “I just want to pick your brain …” — yuck. I really don’t want my brain picked, thanks.)

    I’d say I’m a natural introvert (rather than anti-social) who just happens to be sociable, aka ‘good with people’. So yep, that’s a paradox all right.

    Thanks, I enjoyed the post, as I have others you’ve shared. ~ Jamie

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Yes! That brain picking thing is a bit questionable! There are so many sayings which at first seem okay and then you do a double take! ‘Can I bounce this idea off of you?’… is it going to hurt when it hits me? ‘Can you lend me your ear?’… do I have to remove it first? ‘Can I borrow your eyes for a minute?’… um, no?

      I’m a natural introvert too. I do love people, just from a safe distance 😉

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  4. When I feel like you describe here, I use to think that we are born alone and leave this life again alone…
    I’m an only child too and remember how this was 🙂

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I think there’s definitely truth in that, in being born and essentially leaving life alone, there’s a certain dignity to it, we do need to have time alone as well as sharing our time with others and balance those scales.

      It’s funny being an only child, those who aren’t only children have so many opinions about the only child, which somehow tend to be a bit biased against us. We learn to accept being alone, which I think makes us a bit scary to those who don’t feel comfortable with that way of being.

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  5. I always enjoy your blogs even if I don’t agree with them. Ten months ago they described so accurately a situation I was in they stopped me going insane! As to today’s blog..my problem is I’m too empathic, im good with people but they tend to use me, so im going hermit crab like so I don’t get hurt anymore, then I dont have people and I’m lonely. Paradoxical!

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      I love what you’ve shared!

      I disagree with myself all the time, it’s one of my favourite ways of figuring things out. I do love a meaty debate, it’s a good way of getting the brain juice flowing. I tend to expect everyone to disagree with me, and kind of hope for it, when people agree I get a bit confused or suspicious 😉

      I can definitely relate to the hermit crab option, although I don’t do it to avoid being hurt because being hurt by others or by the self is also an option. Most people when they hurt you do it because they’re hurting and they’re passing on their pain. Mostly they don’t mean to do it or want to do it, but it happens because that’s what humans do. Same thing applies when you hurt yourself. Look under the hurt and there’s a story there of something else which is often misunderstood. Somethign which wanted to express itself but was thwarted, and now it thwarts. I do the hermit crab thing because I’m least lonely when I’m all by myself, but then again I’m an only child who spent a lot of time on my own, I became my own social group – which explains why I’m probably rather weird.

      LOneliness is a crying within for connection, everyone has it, everyone misses it, we reach out… and we’re not sure who or what will take our hand, something touches us, we pull away… reach out again… and so it goes.

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      1. “I’m least lonely when I am on my own”. Yes. I think this capacity for aloneness goes with a capacity for introspection. You dive deeper and look up at the surface from a different angle and see all kinds of refractions and reflections that others don’t see because they come from a very different perspective. And such a childhood where you don’t seen or mirrored causes you (or me or anyone) to question and doubt and consider and reflect and question and ponder). I think you have this amazing mind that sees so deeply into the nature of relationships. Its also interesting that people who spend a lot of time alone challenge other people who are threatened by this or see it as a sign of something “wrong” with us. My ex accused me of being agoraphobic when really I just loved being introverted but always feel in a deep shadowy part of myself that I should be feeling there is really something wrong with me if I decide to spend the entire time at home in my pyjamas (like today).

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        1. I have been trying to get back here all day! Got interrupted by busyness – it’s always that, isn’t it? I often think of those whose busy busyness defines them, makes them feel important, helps them to not feel alone. Stopping to just be is anathema to them. I’m really not a fan of busy busyness, or people peopleness. 🙂

          Perhaps the irritation you feel at “being good with people” means that you’re not, and that you’re right in your own assessment of yourself. Maybe it just means that you’re being polite, or that you like figuring out the jams that others come to you with for advice or help, but (very rightfully) dislike the way you’re treated as some sort of convenience. You like the puzzles but not the people? Perhaps I don’t know what I’m talking about. 🙂

          Good post – as usual, you have prompted me to think. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Oh, you! ❤ You know exactly what you're talking about… and you do what I do when I do what you just did 😉

            You're spot on, and you know it! I totally prefer the puzzles! Puzzles can be solved, and don't mind it if you treat them like puzzles to be solved! I'm always getting called out on this by my partner. Luckily he quite likes being treated like a puzzle (and cuts me a lot of slack – which he gets returned) 😉

            I am 'good with people', but only because I'm a people and know what that's like (and what it's like to be bad with yourself, and how that sucks). I am wounded as they are, I have issues which they have, I'm a mess like they are, human, etc – which is something that people seem to forget about me. That's what irritates me.

            Somehow I'm not a people to other people.

            I get frustrated when they expect me to understand that they're in a mood and I mustn't take it personally (which I don't)… but they don't understand when I'm in a mood and they mustn't take it personally (which they do). It's because I get in moods, that I understand when others get in those moods too.

            Some people get it… it boggles the mind how many don't, and that's a puzzle I keep trying to solve!. Hate it (and sort of love it) when a puzzle refuses to be solved!

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            1. Wow – thank you. 🙂 To say that I do what you do when you do what I just did places me in pretty good company! 😀 But honestly, I can feel very insecure about my interpretations, even when I’m sure (!). Doubt can sometimes creep in anyway.

              The fact that others don’t allow you to be in moods or to see you as a people is very irritating. And maybe it’s a Gordian knot. However, if this puzzle can be solved, I would bet that you would be the one to do it. 🙂

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          2. Some times the busy people who cant stop don’t want to face what they may have to face in being alone. My ex was like that and I think it was one reason my way of being threatened him. Some people ask me (when they find out I don’t work in the traditional sense) “what do you do all day?” A lot of the time I’d rather not answer if it feels like I am trying to justify my existence. And you can have a very rich life being able to just “be” from that creative place so much wells up.

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            1. There is that too. People being busy to avoid what happens when they’re not busy. Filling the silence with noise. The whole “Quick, look busy, someone is coming!”. And what is that someone who is coming going to do? Judge you for doing nothing according to them? Or are the going to envy you for doing what they don’t have the gumption to do themselves?

              What do you do all day? – it’s probably one of the most feared questions in human life. Those who ask it, usually aren’t asking it as genuinely as they may seem to be doing, because it might cause their own fragile system to crumble.

              The hardest thing to ‘do’ in life is what is known as ‘nothing’. For many reasons. We even worship, admire, fear due to awe, those who have turned ‘doing nothing’ into something. But if you’ve turned doing nothing into something… it is no longer nothing, and you’re being human hiding nothing behind a seeming something.

              The best things in life… are the simplest ones, which happen to also be the most complex. It takes a lot of courage to just be. 🙂

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        2. The more we know about ourselves, the more we understand other people. The more you’re in touch with your own wounds, issues, complexities, the more you can see those dimensions within others and understand where they’re coming from. The world becomes less fearsome when we deal with our personal fears. It takes time, and sometimes we have to rewrite our training, which can be quite tricky.

          When someone tells me something about myself, I usually see it as narrative about themselves. So a compliment for me, is a compliment about them. Same with a criticism.

          When someone tells you that there is something ‘wrong’ with you – it’s them talking about their own story. Sometimes it is also about your story. We’re always overlapping each other. If what someone says to you hits you in some way, good or bad, positive or negative, etc, then you share a path, a human puzzle.

          It’s a fascinating experience in all its shades and colours 🙂

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          1. I’m in a helping profession of sorts. It’s something I’m technically very good at and it also drives me nuts. Everyone is in crisis.

            I sometimes call my assistant ‘homicide prevention ‘ department It’s her job to divert a lot of the chit chat and drama bc it makes me want to lash out

            I spend most of my day listening and solving problems The only time I hear from ‘friends’ is when they have a ‘situation’ or a question, which is usually something they’d pay a fee for if they came to my office.

            They are completely unaware that I spend birthdays, Xmas completely alone. No one ever really seems to care what’s going on w me after I fix their problem.

            The few times I have reached out in desperation for an ear, I get that ‘but look at all you’ve achieved bs’.

            So I find it easier to reach out in anonymous places. I have always relied on the kindness of ‘strangers ‘ I have been let
            Down too many times by those who know my first name

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            1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

              In your previous comment you mentioned – “Many years ago someone read my chart and told me there was an aspect that was like running a bathtub w the stopper missing and that’s just how I feel.”

              I’m not sure what the person who read your chart was talking about, or where they were going with this, but water in astrology often equates to emotions, and running water is the flow of emotions, which is actually better off if it can’t be blocked and contained. So, I would hazard a guess that this aspect in your chart is why you gravitated towards a helping profession.

              You could say that the running water is people pouring their troubles out to you… perhaps it is better if you don’t have a stopper or you’d get stuck with their water in your bath.

              I wonder how your assistant sees her relationship with you. She sounds like one of those friends who we sometimes don’t know that we have because we don’t take the time to see them, we’re too busy seeing all the friends we don’t have. She plays an important role for you, maybe she’s the missing plug?

              I don’t know…

              I know with myself, what happens with others is usually of my own doing. I like being this way, even if I sometimes don’t and complain about it… it’s a human thing.

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