Living Life As a Fake

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I have a tendency to fake my emotions and reactions based on what society wants. I’ll start this off by saying I feel nothing for humanity as a whole. Even my 5-year-old son. I think I love him but am not completely sure. Even as I type this I don’t feel upset about it. I have the urge to just shrug my shoulders.

When it comes to personal relationships as friends, the only thing I need is for them to act as if they love me. I go through great pretend changes for people, by this I simply mean that although I act as if I am one with this person I know deep down I am not and have no desire to have anything in common at all. Once that feeling seems to have diminished in the slightest I stop applying myself at all, slowly withdrawing from the other person. I can only have one friendship at a time. I ignore everyone else when I find someone new.

In a physical relationship I’m become infatuated almost immediately and usually to a guy that has his on emotional/mental issues.

The me I present to the world: Meek, passive, bleeding heart, empathetic, “one of the greatest people anyone has ever met”(this is a quote), sweet, optimistic, child like, naive, self image issues yet don’t care. Having a very live and let live mentality.

The me I live with: I have fantasies about having power like Hitler, a cult leader would be a perfect example. Killing people I have never met that way no emotions can interfere. I have complete contempt for all the people around me. Their lives disgust me actually. I surround myself with all the losers so that I am better than them and they think they are lucky to have me in their lives because they don’t deserve me. I also go extended periods of time with no social network at all. Currently, I have 2 friends, one of which, I believe is a complete narcissist. At the same time I hate myself.

I have tried to express this to peers and numerous counselors and shrinks since I was 12 years old. They just shrug it off, basically telling me I’m too sweet to have anything wrong with me (Dx: treatment resistant depression and ADHD). I was molested for 4 years by a person in my immediate family. I have since forgiven them and they currently have a day to day contact with me.

To end this I suppose I want to say I want to be connected and feel anything… but am trapped outside looking in. A hypocritical manipulator who is faking every emotion I have.

Any insight would be super, I guess. Not sure if I’ll act on it. I feel as if my issues go deeper then even I fathom.

A. You have minimized the effects of your sexual abuse. I suspect that the abuse is the root of your problem. It is easier to be isolated and “not connected” to those around you and it is much safer. If they are close to you, if you care for them, then they have the power to hurt you. Strangers do not have the power to hurt your emotionally. If a complete stranger came up to you and said “you are the biggest idiot in the world and I despise you” you would walk away perhaps perplexed but not seriously wounded. If your mother or father or husband came up to you and said the same things, you would feel very hurt or at least you should. The words of someone you love can soothe and reassure or cut deeply. In a way, all of those around you who should be close to you are at a distance, like a stranger. They can’t hurt you but they also can’t produce the positive emotions that you crave and that would add meaning to your life. You say you have forgiven the person who sexually abused you but have you? You can say the words out loud but can you really forgive this person while in the emotionally disconnected state that you have made so clear in your letter? I seriously doubt that you can.

The cure is in-depth counseling, with someone who is capable of helping you to reconnect to your emotions. You seem indifferent to those around you. Your indifference is simply a defense mechanism and all defense mechanisms come at a great cost. Just as the tourniquet will stop the bleeding to save your life it will also destroy the limb that it is on, if allowed to stay in place too long. Defense mechanisms can protect you from a total system shutdown. They help you get through the day and the week and the year but they also stop you from truly experiencing life.

You also have fantasies of killing and having great power. This is also to be expected from someone who was abused as a child. The child can protect itself only if it has great power.

You say you would like insight but that you may still choose to do nothing. That’s your call. Do you want a full life? Do you want to feel the world around you like other people do? Do you want to feel the love for your son that he feels for you? If you are content with your life, you need do nothing. If on the other hand you want more than you currently have then you know what the answer is.

It took very little effort and very little risk to write an email to an anonymous entity on the Internet. It will take much more effort and trust to find a good therapist and to open up to him or her. You can present to the world a “sweet, optimistic, child-like, naive” persona but as you admit, that is simply an image. The real you is safely hidden away. If you want help you must drop the persona and be brave enough to present the truth to your therapist. Think about what I’ve written and I hope you will make the wise decisions. Good luck.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Apr 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Living Life As a Fake. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 28, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/04/13/living-life-as-a-fake/