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At the moment, I live at home with my grandmother and siblings (my mother and grandfather died years ago; my father lives close by us and we remain emotionally close) while I work to ultimately go to medical school. I also work full-time and volunteer at three separate locations. I also frequently spend time with my siblings or my close friends.

I have had a consistent feeling of dissatisfaction as I wonder whether or not I'm an 'authentic' person (this isn't to say that I'm self-aware). I often feel like a 'fraud' at work and at home; I feel like I'm deliberately an entertainer because no one would care about me if I wasn't of some value to them. I often deliberately 'imitate' the other person(s) I'm with (i.e., appear as they are); I mirror them and say what they want to hear, be what they want to see, etc.. I've stopped considering the moral and ethical ramifications of my behaviors as such and have become more 'dubious' simply because it's efficient. I 'fool' people into being accepting of me and thus vulnerable, and in their most human expressions I understand I'm a 'fraud' and a manipulator even though I may care about the person. I'm unsure whether or not I care as much as I pretend to about my own family and my friends (and, perhaps, even my own future). I also have a consistent feeling that either I'm an unimportant and insignificant person or that I will never become important or significant in the eyes of others and myself. I have a desire that I will be harmed or killed, though I never actively pursue that desire. Most of the time I appear to most everyone as very amiable, conscientious, enthusiastic and mild-mannered. Inside, however, I feel mentally dissatisfied and empty. No matter what I do (be it healthy or unhealthy), my dissatisfaction and emptiness remains. I may physically act or feel otherwise, but mentally I remain dissatisfied and empty.

I talk to a counselor about this once a week, but even then I feel like I'm 'inauthentic' and have fooled him. That seems highly unlikely, though.

And I don't know exactly what to do about this.
 

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You should look into being an Enneagram 3. I do not know how to help you with your problem, but I do know that you share many traits with type 3s. Perhaps you should read their growth threads for assistance.
 

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The deep impact of loss

Hmmmm, you articulated some very difficult states of being - I can relate to your experiences well, most likely because I have suffered similar losses early in my life too. I lost my father aged 7, my grandmother aged 16 and my mother aged 22. Add to the mix a difficult relationship with my emotionally distant and short tempered mother up until her terminal cancer took hold and my abusive alcoholic half brother - then it kind of makes sense to me that I adapted by jumping hoops to get love and acceptance elsewhere. I have huge issues with loss and abandonment - some caused by unfortunate circumstance and some by emotional deprivation and neglect.

I also find dissatisfaction in most things and find it hard to feel joy in my achievements, I am unsure how genuine my relationships are with others - save for my children, though I can be emotionally distant from them too (not on the surface of course!). I see a therapist once a week too and this is helping me a lot, I have been lucky to find a good online support community as well and am learning to accept myself as a trauma survivor and begin to thaw out my 'real' feelings as well as setting boundaries with others and voicing my 'real' needs. It has been baby steps all the way - i'm two years in to my active recovery process of 'getting real' and I fall down often - all in all though I feel like I am finally going in the right direction.

Books that I really identified with and have helped me are 'The Four Agreements' by Don Miguel Ruiz

and 'The Loss that is Forever' (I forget the psych author's name, think it is Maxey) - it is the only book I have ever found about the impact of parental loss in childhood and I identified with so much of it.

My primary support forum is Out of the Fog - it is for those who have been involved with or related to someone with a personality disorder (I have sadly chosen poorly in all my past romantic relationships), there are many like me there who suffered early trauma and learned adaptive behaviours because of them - for me it is my sanctuary of authenticity.

Good luck with your own journey - I do believe it is possible recover/uncover authenticity but that it will take effort and time.
 
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Discussion Starter #5
Hmmmm, you articulated some very difficult states of being - I can relate to your experiences well, most likely because I have suffered similar losses early in my life too. I lost my father aged 7, my grandmother aged 16 and my mother aged 22. Add to the mix a difficult relationship with my emotionally distant and short tempered mother up until her terminal cancer took hold and my abusive alcoholic half brother - then it kind of makes sense to me that I adapted by jumping hoops to get love and acceptance elsewhere. I have huge issues with loss and abandonment - some caused by unfortunate circumstance and some by emotional deprivation and neglect.

I also find dissatisfaction in most things and find it hard to feel joy in my achievements, I am unsure how genuine my relationships are with others - save for my children, though I can be emotionally distant from them too (not on the surface of course!). I see a therapist once a week too and this is helping me a lot, I have been lucky to find a good online support community as well and am learning to accept myself as a trauma survivor and begin to thaw out my 'real' feelings as well as setting boundaries with others and voicing my 'real' needs. It has been baby steps all the way - i'm two years in to my active recovery process of 'getting real' and I fall down often - all in all though I feel like I am finally going in the right direction.

Books that I really identified with and have helped me are 'The Four Agreements' by Don Miguel Ruiz

and 'The Loss that is Forever' (I forget the psych author's name, think it is Maxey) - it is the only book I have ever found about the impact of parental loss in childhood and I identified with so much of it.

My primary support forum is Out of the Fog - it is for those who have been involved with or related to someone with a personality disorder (I have sadly chosen poorly in all my past romantic relationships), there are many like me there who suffered early trauma and learned adaptive behaviours because of them - for me it is my sanctuary of authenticity.

Good luck with your own journey - I do believe it is possible recover/uncover authenticity but that it will take effort and time.
I'm glad someone can understand and remind me that, yes, what I went through was difficult. 'Jumping through hoops'...ha, I can understand that metaphor quite well. Yes, I believe that I can recover and become a person, but it'll take time. I can't deny that I hurt so badly inside despite what I show otherwise. I've done that for years. It doesn't work. 'Denial', 'projection', 'identification' and bitterness have worked thus far, but, damn it, I want to grow past that.
 

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Recovery

I'm glad someone can understand and remind me that, yes, what I went through was difficult. 'Jumping through hoops'...ha, I can understand that metaphor quite well. Yes, I believe that I can recover and become a person, but it'll take time. I can't deny that I hurt so badly inside despite what I show otherwise. I've done that for years. It doesn't work. 'Denial', 'projection', 'identification' and bitterness have worked thus far, but, damn it, I want to grow past that. (Quote functions dont work on my PC, its overloaded like it's owner:tongue:)

Seriously though it sounds like you are onto yourself and ready to start taking steps into authentic recovery, whatever that may be for you. I learned early not to show my grief or pain to others, it was only met with a 'move on and get over it attitude' or something along the lines of disgust - most people cannot handle grief because they do not wish to acknowledge their own or the impermanence of life. Even the mental health professionals I turned to in the past had that kind of attitude - from my own experience CBT methods are based on focussing on changing the behaviours without looking at the root causes and it isn't very effective for complicated/unresolved grief.

Finally the pain inside was too much and I was so sick of f'ing up my life externally too (usually by taking on disordered partners or friends in a bid to 'fix' their lives and avoid my own messes). I found a wonderful Jungian Analyst and my primary support board, they are my witnesses and finally I am grieving my losses, the abuse and a life not fully lived to this point. I do have faith that I will emerge from the thick of it a more integrated person but I am working on accepting that trauma has shaped my life and a large part of who I am - being INFP would speak for that :laughing:

Here is a wonderful quote from Kahlil Gibrhan which pretty much sums it up;

"Many of us spend our whole lives running from feeling with the mistaken belief that you cannot bear the pain. But you have already borne the pain. What you have not done is feel all you are beyond that pain."

Here's to learning to feel beyond the pain - but first to feel through it.
 

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Well there are many people who spend a good portion their waking life pretending that they are somebody else and not themselves and interacting with other people on this basis. They earn big bucks at Hollywood for it. Thing is that it is not morally deficient in any manner to adapt yourself to ease interaction with other people. Most people do it - you're just overly sensitive of this capability in yourself.

To bring MBTI into perspective it is something that INFJs struggle with. Ni wants to maximize number of perspectives from which you are able to look at things. The result of this feels sort of like dissolution of one's sense of self, destructions of one's sense of identity. You cannot hold on to any identity too strongly, as then you won't be able to consider things from all possible perspectives. If you sit down and ask yourself "who am I?" suddenly it feels like you're falling into this bottomless abyss, face down staring at it and trying to grab onto something to hold on to but not finding anything. Usually this is alleviated by judging functions somewhat - Fe that says "well at least you want to be nice to people, work towards social harmony and happiness of others" and self-critical Ti that says "and while you're at it you should also strive for personal competence". Also alleviated by not overanalyzing yourself too much and yes remembering that there are people who get paid a lot of money to do what you do naturally :p
 

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I'm a person who knows who I am better than anyone. I know what I want and I know how to get what I want. So I don't know how you feel. But I do know the feeling of useless and empty.

My suggestions:
Take several test about yourself for mundane things, like your favorite colors, foods, books, movies, songs, pets, subjects at school, clothes, etc. Ask yourself why you like those stuff. Explore your true self. Make a long list from it. Like: "I love purple because it looks elegant and high class and I wanna be like that" or "I like this movie because it tells about this character that similar with mine".

Read those lists and visualize it through scrap books, paintings, photos, pictures, art, whatever. Next, renew your room with those images. Every morning, take some time to enjoy your new room, be grateful, and see if there's anything you can do to make it better. Ignore what others said. It's your room, so nothing else matter.

If you did those things and you feel better, then I will continue my suggestion with the next ones. Until then, I will stop here for now.
 

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My suggestions:
Take several test about yourself for mundane things, like your favorite colors, foods, books, movies, songs, pets, subjects at school, clothes, etc. Ask yourself why you like those stuff. Explore your true self. Make a long list from it. Like: "I love purple because it looks elegant and high class and I wanna be like that" or "I like this movie because it tells about this character that similar with mine".

Read those lists and visualize it through scrap books, paintings, photos, pictures, art, whatever. Next, renew your room with those images. Every morning, take some time to enjoy your new room, be grateful, and see if there's anything you can do to make it better. Ignore what others said. It's your room, so nothing else matter.

If you did those things and you feel better, then I will continue my suggestion with the next ones. Until then, I will stop here for now.
Your suggestions were quite helpful. I had a lot of fun writing down my list too! I laughed when I wrote about, oh, spaghetti and wine. But I also found a lot of similarities as I wrote. So, it helped begin to regain a greater sense of who I am as a person.

In fact, I've a got a figurine right here on my desk of one of my favorite fictional characters ever!

Anyway, thank you for your suggestions!
 

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Your list can also help you to discover who you are as a person and what is your image of an ideal person that you're strive to be. Ask yourself, is that ideal image is what you really really want to be? If yes, ask yourself how you can begin to reach that dream, step by step. If no, then ask yourself how you can develop yourself, make positive improvements, and just be a better you.
 
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