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Do you think you have that 'Fatal Flaw'? Article

amathus

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A Secret Cause & Cure for the Socially Anxious | Childhood Emotional Neglect

'The Fatal Flaw: A deeply buried, un-nameable sense that:

Something is wrong with me. I am missing some vital ingredient that other people have. I am set apart, different. I do not quite fit in anywhere.

Fortunately the Fatal Flaw is not as bad as it sounds, because it’s not a real flaw. Instead, it’s something far more powerful than a flaw. It’s a feeling.
 
SomersetScorpio

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This is something I can relate to.
I don't feel that in as a person in a more general sense I am lacking, I do have good qualities.
But I do feel that I lack that 'something' that enables other people to be able to get on and socialise naturally.

The childhood emotional neglect thing isn't something I can easily accept, though.
My parents were both very loving and supportive, so I don't feel neglected by them...

Then again, when I dig deep enough there were times when I felt a bit unrecognised and pushed out - by that's through no fault of my parents.
It was because my siblings were being such a pain in the ass that they didn't have time for me.
 
Jaminacaranda

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I certainly did experience 'emotional neglect' as a child/teenager and although I am sure this left me with the crippling low self-esteem I occasionally experience, I have never felt it affected my 'performance' in social situations.

Something is wrong with me. I am missing some vital ingredient that other people have. I am set apart, different. I do not quite fit in anywhere.
The difference for me is, I celebrate this - I think to myself - 'thank God'.

I learnt to observe quietly and learn the rules of social interaction so I could merely ape them even whilst I secretly despised the people I was interacting with. Despised is too strong a word - I mean they never really mattered to me.

I can now talk to anyone and behave appropriately in any social context so fine, lucky me - but is that really important? Not to me. It's false.
 
coldwater00

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I certainly did experience 'emotional neglect' as a child/teenager and although I am sure this left me with the crippling low self-esteem I occasionally experience, I have never felt it affected my 'performance' in social situations.



The difference for me is, I celebrate this - I think to myself - 'thank God'.

I learnt to observe quietly and learn the rules of social interaction so I could merely ape them even whilst I secretly despised the people I was interacting with. Despised is too strong a word - I mean they never really mattered to me.

I can now talk to anyone and behave appropriately in any social context so fine, lucky me - but is that really important? Not to me. It's false.

I relate to this a lot. However, I suppose for me the way I'd see it exactly is that I know the rules of social interaction and sometimes don't quite get it, so I come across as awkward, or conversation is stilted/contrived.

So instead I have no choice but to go about it my own way - sometimes it can be profoundly isolating.. Having the feeling that I'm being forced by my own inadequacies into accepting a life of less satisfying social interaction.

I don't really know why I am socially awkward. I was shy as a child, was bullied a lot and had emotionally distant, neurotic parents. That probably contributed. Having said that, I don't really like slagging my parents off, they have been very supportive in recent years in many ways and we are all flawed. I have to be forgiving because I have caused a lot of chaos in my family that they've had to adjust to.
 
Jaminacaranda

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So instead I have no choice but to go about it my own way - sometimes it can be profoundly isolating
Yes, I understand this. But...
I suppose for me the way I'd see it exactly is that I know the rules of social interaction and sometimes don't quite get it, so I come across as awkward, or conversation is stilted/contrived.
...so maybe that's their fault ? Because they are the ones who are 'stilted and contrived'? Why do you care?

Having the feeling that I'm being forced by my own inadequacies into accepting a life of less satisfying social interaction
Nooo...it isn't necessarily about YOU...maybe it's other people who are inadequate! If you are 'different'...if you struggle to conform to the mainstream 'acceptable norm' yes of course some individuals are going to feel compelled to reject you...but so what? They are the sheep!

Sorry - I know this post sounds flippant. I know there are many people on this forum who just want to feel accepted. I struggle with this myself. But...

in the end Coldwater...you are YOU and would I want you to change or be different or anybody else? Absolutely NO. FFS. You are as valuable and important as any other human individual and fwiw, that is exactly the value of a forum like this.
 
AliceinWonderland

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I 'like' the article, I think it is quite direct in identifying a simple and fundamental truth (true in my experience), that feeling 'different', not fitting in, feeling there is something wrong with you inside, and that there is something that sets you apart from everyone else, is a feeling that is the result of something, rather than being actually the case.

The Fatal Flaw is a product of the invisible, subtle powerful force, Childhood Emotional Neglect (CEN): A parent’s failure to respond enough to a child’s emotional needs.

Children who grow up in households where their feelings are ignored or discouraged push their emotions down and away, to adapt. As adults, they lack access to their own feelings, which are a vital source of richness and connection in life. Deep down, they sense something missing in them that other people have (it’s their emotions). These two results combine to form this un-nameable sense of being different, of not fitting in, of being alone and out of place; a perfect breeding ground for social anxiety.
(my bold, because this seems the nub of it, and I like that it is put so directly).

I'm not 100% sure that I agree that what's missing is their emotions, I think there may be other things as well (sense of self? self-acceptance?), or even that emotions are so repressed that they are completely missing in every case (I think reality is more nuanced than that), but the gist of it agree with. Also, I think social anxiety is only one thing that can arise from this Childhood Emotional Neglect. In my experience, there's also depression, paranoia, oh probably a whole heap of things (but I realise this post and the article is in the social anxiety section, so I won't digress). I'm not sure I think that the four things suggested will 'quickly and effectively put you in control of your social discomfort', I don't think it's as easy as that, I've struggled for years trying to find ways to feel more comfortable and confident, but I think they point in the right direction.

And I still feel fatally flawed, it goes very deep, and I don't think it's easily or quickly fixed, or even straightforward to understand and get to the bottom of. I think it's very complex. Self-acceptance, self-belief, self-confidence, take a long time to build, in my experience, if you haven't had the right experiences early in life. I feel like there will always be something missing in me, but that I can accommodate that enough to get by. I guess things fluctuate.
 
T

TheRedStar

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I don't have social anxiety - although general anxiety is part of my diagnosis - but nevertheless I can definitely identify with that quantification of the 'Fatal Flaw'. I can also see it's suggested genesis in my past as well, but I don't want to 'blame' my mum for this... she had no choice but to work, so she was often away from me and could be quite tired and moody even when she was around.

Personally, if there's any 'blame' to be apportioned for this, I blame a society which makes it so parents have to work as much as they now do, and which denigrates full-time parents - or people who'd like to be full-time parents - as being somehow 'lesser' than those who work/return to work (depending on gender). Personally, I think that bringing up the adults of tomorrow is more important and useful than shuffling paper around and forwarding emails in some office, or trying to bully people into buying sh*t that they'd already have if they really wanted it and could afford it.

I relate to this a lot. However, I suppose for me the way I'd see it exactly is that I know the rules of social interaction and sometimes don't quite get it, so I come across as awkward, or conversation is stilted/contrived.

So instead I have no choice but to go about it my own way - sometimes it can be profoundly isolating.. Having the feeling that I'm being forced by my own inadequacies into accepting a life of less satisfying social interaction.
I think my own take on the subject is similar to this; I believe I know all - or at least most - of the contemporary social rules, but I don't particularly understand some of them, and simply don't see the point of certain others. This means I can sometimes feel very formulaic and automated in my interaction with others (ask about work - check. Ask about family - check. Etc., etc.)... on one hand this generally pleases people - because everyone loves being asked questions about themselves - and I like pleasing people, but on the other hand I feel guilty for being artificial, and perhaps even a bit manipulative? I do genuinely care about the answers I get, and am generally curious about others' lives and feelings... I guess I just don't like how sometimes I'm so systematic in bringing people out of themselves.

At least I want to though, right...?

I do hate contrived situations though, in a 'slightly cringing, wanting to chew my own fingers' kind of way... it's why I can't stand work inductions, and one of my (many...) issues with going on dates.
 
Toasted Crumpet

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I have read the book Running on Empty from which this is extracted, and the author does explain she is not trying to blame parents and that in most cases they have been loving and supportive and done their best which is exactly why their kids are not understanding where their difficulties arise from. It can be very subtle, a parent just not being attuned to their child's emotional needs, so it wouldn't even appear like any big deal on the surface.

The examples she uses in the book are quite helpful in understanding this, comparing the scenario of a parent who is attuned and one who isn't for whatever reason - overwork, illness for instance.

This isn't my experience and I actually believe my mum was a sociopath - I'm not saying that to be dramatic.

In terms of the fatal flaw though, I'm sorry but for me I don't believe that it is just a feeling. I know this is on the SA forum so maybe for people with SA that is the case, but as someone with BPD I can't really deny I am different from other people, and reading all the crap on the net about people with BPD does not exactly counter this belief!! I mean they more or less say that people with BPD have a lack of identity etc, are not able to form relationships like other people or have trouble with empathy.

So when I am with normal people I do feel like I am a bloody secret Axe Murderer or something! I am not like them! Mostly in social interactions I don't understand wtf is going on so I probably do lack something and it aint just social skills.

I don't think going around repeating "it's only a feeling" (wasn't that a song?) is going to help, frankly.

Sorry to put a downer on it as usual.
 
AliceinWonderland

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No, I revise my position based on what you've said Toasted. Tbh, I flip between thinking 'yep, definitely fatally flawed', and 'not as bad as I think I am'. I agree "only a feeling" doesn't cut it at all. If I was wider awake, I'd expand.

And 'blame', TheRedStar, hmm, I have a troubled relationship with the concept of blame. I don't think I blame as such. But doesn't mean I don't still hold responsible, and feel justifiably angry. But blame is something I've been trying to get my head around for some time. Yes, the way society is structured has a lot to answer for too.
 
T

TheRedStar

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And 'blame', TheRedStar, hmm, I have a troubled relationship with the concept of blame. I don't think I blame as such. But doesn't mean I don't still hold responsible, and feel justifiably angry. But blame is something I've been trying to get my head around for some time. Yes, the way society is structured has a lot to answer for too.
I'm sorry if me writing about the concept of blame has triggered you in any way... it wasn't my intent to do that, to you or to anybody. I'm just very careful when I discuss blame now, as in a general societal sense - and in any context, not just mental illness - people seem to have become very sensitive to the concept. Personally, I feel the trend towards CBT - which itself stems from a general culture of 'self-responsibility' being very much in vogue - signifies an attitude within contemporary psychiatry which frowns upon patients/customers/service users apportioning any kind of 'blame' onto anyone or anything; we're supposed to 100% 'own' our problems, because we can't change other people and we can't change the past and blah blah blah...

The thing is though, sometimes things are other people's fault; if they hadn't said and/or done certain things, then we would have nothing to 'own', or 'take responsibility' for in the first place, would we?! And I'm sorry, but certain things - such as sexual abuse, and violence - are the fault of the perpetrator, and so blaming them is, in my opinion, very much appropriate.

A very personal annotation here is that 'blame' seems to be very political now... as someone whose defective psyche has been very much shaped by negative experiences with the opposite sex, I've noticed in recent years that being male and 'blaming' some women for contributing to what's wrong with me can provoke a hell of a reaction in certain circles. Nowadays, articulating my feelings on this subject very much feels like walking on eggshells... literally one poorly chosen word can easily start a gender war and get you accused of being a misogynist.

I think as well that people have become very quick to read 'blame' in the words of others, when what's fundamentally meant is simply causation; pointing out that something person A did and/or said led to behaviour B, ergo that specific person is connected with that specific behaviour, is an observation. However, it seems to me that a lot of folk now automatically interpret that as blame, and react accordingly.

Personally speaking, I feel that when you live in a democratic/plutocratic nation where the population numbers in the millions, in a complex society leaving you little to no choice in relying on others in various different ways, and have to dwell in close proximity to a large number of other individuals, the concept of having complete self-responsibility for your life is laughable. We are at the mercy of other people, and so when they fu*k up and it affects us then - in my opinion - they deserve to be blamed... as much as anything else, the perpetrator learning what they've done to others and how it's affected them - instead of the victim(s) just sucking it up and internally 'owning' it or whatever - is an opportunity for that perpetrator to better understand themselves, and so a chance for self-growth.
 
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Jaminacaranda

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Redstar - similar situation, I think, to me. I happen to have been sexually assaulted three times in my early 20's by men from the same ethnic group. I find this a bit hard to put down to coincidence since within this period I was not sexually assaulted by anyone from any other ethnic group. My experience has left me with a certain, specific prejudice in that I am simply not able to trust any male from that particular ethnic group ever again, and yes, I have a generally negative view of men in that ethnic group because of what their behaviour implied about their beliefs towards women and indeed perhaps towards other human beings in general. I know it's not entirely rational - I know there are, no doubt, examples of immensely intelligent and humanitarian men from within this ethnic group but - sorry, in the interests of my own personal survival, I cannot help but choose to be suspicious of them and avoid them. I have been accused of racism because of this, many times. Sobeit.
 
AliceinWonderland

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I'm sorry if me writing about the concept of blame has triggered you in any way... it wasn't my intent to do that, to you or to anybody.
Not at all, it didn't.

TheRedStar said:
Personally, I feel the trend towards CBT - which itself stems from a general culture of 'self-responsibility' being very much in vogue - signifies an attitude within contemporary psychiatry which frowns upon patients/customers/service users apportioning any kind of 'blame' onto anyone or anything; we're supposed to 100% 'own' our problems, because we can't change other people and we can't change the past and blah blah blah...
Totally agree.

TheRedStar said:
The thing is though, sometimes things are other people's fault; if they hadn't said and/or done certain things, then we would have nothing to 'own', or 'take responsibility' for in the first place, would we?! And I'm sorry, but certain things - such as sexual abuse, and violence - are the fault of the perpetrator, and so blaming them is, in my opinion, very much appropriate.
This is where I struggle to make sense of it all. I went away and wrote something on the subject...

Blame. Been trying to square that circle for many a year. I don't think I really blame them, not in the sense of being bitter, or being sure they could have just fucking not done it if they'd tried harder. In a sense they couldn't cos they weren't somebody else. They were them. But I can't go totally down that road of well "But they were fucked up in their turn, By fools in old-style hats and coats", there were still choices. What can we choose and not choose? I don't want to fuck up my kids, I try my utmost not to. There are choices I make. There are easier roads I try not to go down. Could I try harder? Probably. Am I trying hard enough? I hope so.

No, I don't really understand blame. I don't know whether what I think about it all is blaming or not. I know I was harmed. I can see how it happened. Some of it was malice, some of it was ignorance, some of it was weakness, some of it was avoidable, some of it may not have been, I don't know. I don't feel forgiving, that concept doesn't compute either. What use is forgiveness? (I think probably it doesn't make sense if there has been no apology, no understanding that harm has been done, I don't find unilateral forgiveness a very helpful concept. I know some people set a lot of store by the healing/releasing power of forgiveness, but I don't get it). Acceptance seems more useful. I don't know if even understanding why someone is the way they are really helps, that fact remains that they are that way. Examining why, and wondering whether they could have done things differently seems a bit of a rabbit-hole. It's me and my reactions that are the only thing I can really address.

I am less bitter than I used to be. I rail less. I am still very hurt and damaged. The fact remains it wasn't fair.
I notice I have gone a bit CBT myself there in saying it's only my own reactions I can change, but in this instance I feel it's true. I don't feel this makes me a victim. And I don't feel I've stressed hard enough how very determined I am that I don't relate to my kids in the way I was related to and treated. It is paramount for me.

TheRedStar said:
We are at the mercy of other people, and so when they fu*k up and it affects us then - in my opinion - they deserve to be blamed... as much as anything else, the perpetrator learning what they've done to others and how it's affected them - instead of the victim(s) just sucking it up and internally 'owning' it or whatever - is an opportunity for that perpetrator to better understand themselves, and so a chance for self-growth.
Some people will never accept or wish to understand that they are to blame though. The simply refuse to look at what they have done. It is a waste of energy trying to get them to see.
 
Toasted Crumpet

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Personally, I feel the trend towards CBT - which itself stems from a general culture of 'self-responsibility' being very much in vogue - signifies an attitude within contemporary psychiatry which frowns upon patients/customers/service users apportioning any kind of 'blame' onto anyone or anything; we're supposed to 100% 'own' our problems, because we can't change other people and we can't change the past and blah blah blah...

The thing is though, sometimes things are other people's fault; if they hadn't said and/or done certain things, then we would have nothing to 'own', or 'take responsibility' for in the first place, would we?! And I'm sorry, but certain things - such as sexual abuse, and violence - are the fault of the perpetrator, and so blaming them is, in my opinion, very much appropriate...


....We are at the mercy of other people, and so when they fu*k up and it affects us then - in my opinion - they deserve to be blamed... as much as anything else, the perpetrator learning what they've done to others and how it's affected them - instead of the victim(s) just sucking it up and internally 'owning' it or whatever - is an opportunity for that perpetrator to better understand themselves, and so a chance for self-growth.
I got told by a psychologist that all my problems stem from the way I see the world and blaming other people for my problems...because I was politcially aware, wtf

My OA sponsor once said, it's all very well people talking about not blaming and that your parents did the best they could, but the reality is if they were still alive they would be in prison.
 
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