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Comment I made in this post at living400lbs about loneliness. (Someone suggested that some people choose to be lonely because they "want to be miserable and 'play the victim'. I suppose people like that might exist but I don't think I've met very many of them. Most of the people I know who are persistently unhappy don't seem to be deliberately choosing it, but seem to have health and life challenges that are creating difficulty. Some such people might be able to learn better coping skills and change their loneliness or unhappiness, but that still doesn't mean that their unhappiness is chosen.)
I get lonely under two conditions. If either of these conditions applies, I will feel lonely whether or not I am around other people.

1. I am tired. (I was happy when I figured that one out. If only everything were fixable by having a good sleep!)

2. I am depressed. In which case it might seem from the outside that I am choosing to be lonely, because I tend to act cranky and cynical, which drives people away. But I am not choosing. One way that depression manifests itself for me is that I have a lot fewer behavior choices.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:19 am (UTC)
I think there are people who either like, or easily fall into, a victim role because it's a way for them to get attention, or a story and role they know how to do. That isn't the same as wanting to be miserable: it can be wanting to be indulged because [allegedly, or in their self-image] they have it harder than everyone else.
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:00 am (UTC)
My reaction to the "want to be miserable" thing is mixed. I can remember times in my life when I was quite unhappy but also had a fairly strong and persistent suspicion that I was borrowing trouble in order to justify my own unhappiness, and thereby excuse me from responsibility for fixing it myself. Which is not quite the same as wanting to be miserable, maybe, but it may be more or less what that expression is often a shorthand for. Of course, my suspecting that of myself doesn't mean it was so -- but the moments in which I grappled with that perception at least *felt* like my more honest moments. The way I understand that now, it wasn't really about wanting misery for its own sake, but wanting something to which misery seemed like a means, and wanting that something more than I wanted to be non-miserable. My best guess is that what I wanted was to have other people take care of me -- but then, that may itself have been an outgrowth of something like loneliness. Besides, maybe my wanting that more than I wanted to be non-miserable is an indicator that the degree of "non-miserable" of which I perceived myself to be capable at the time was still in fact pretty miserable, and so the whole "wanting to be miserable" thing was really more about choosing my variety of misery than choosing misery over non-misery.

(I should also note that at the times I'm thinking back to, I was probably about thirteen years old. To say that my early-adolescent psyche may have worked this way is not to say that it should be expected to be at all common in people who are way past that point in their lives.)
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
I appreciate your perspective on this.

(Somewhat tangential) I realize I'm coming from a place of privilege as far as my reasons for loneliness are concerned, because I do usually have people to help take care of me, these days. At times in the past I have not had enough intimate relationships in my life, and I felt lonely for reasons other than fatigue and depression. (I usually made efforts to get out and hang out with people, but I didn't have intimate relationships with those people so they didn't fulfill that need.)
Jul. 1st, 2009 02:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the timely reminder that I need to take care of myself in order to banish the loneliness that I've been feeling of late. It's been a rough year (separation from partner of 11 years, plus recent loss of job), and I've been hovering on the edge of my own slough of despond since before it began.
Jul. 1st, 2009 03:30 pm (UTC)
[hugs] That does sound rough, all right. I hope there's a path out.
Jul. 1st, 2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
the times I can recall someone accusing me of "choosing to be unhappy" it seemed like it was out of their frustrations that I had problems they couldn't solve. It would often be accompanied by a desire on my part that they acknowledge that I was facing hard choices.

the subtext I sometimes hear is that I'm supposed to settle for what I have and be content with my lot, rather than agitating for someone else to check their privilege.
Jul. 2nd, 2009 02:30 am (UTC)
I can agree with both of them. I'd never really sat down and figured those things out, but at least so some degree, they both apply to me also. That second point really resonates with me. Thanks!
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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