Losing my self-worth: A history by atma505

[Cross-posted from FA because this is important to me.]

There was a time when my dad got fed up with his job and decided to begin his own medical distribution company. It was around the same time I started facing college as well as the workload that came with applications: Housing, becoming my own independent self. With my parents working from a blank slate to produce a completely new business, they were able to spare little time for me, and my work ethic all but disappeared. I turned to video games and my internet buddies to seek the guidance that a college-bound teenager so desperately craves. I sought this accompaniment from furries. Do you have any idea how bad of an idea that was?
I became close to a friend of a friend, a fox in his early twenties who was an able composer and a man whose morals and abilities as an artist I greatly respected. A person who I looked up to. A person who I was intimate with -- we were no strangers to hugging, kissing, and sex. As our relationship deepened, I asked if I could call him my father. Although he seemed hesitant at first, he soon embraced the idea, and I was ecstatic to have someone so dear to me consider me important and vice versa. After that, I didn't see him for several days. A week. Worried, I asked our mutual friend what had happened. He told me that my newfound father had ceased all communication with me -- just me -- because our relationship had put far too much stress on him. Devastated, I reached out with tears in my eyes, and shouted through my screen, "Give him back! Give me back my friend! My dad!" I was refused, and soon learned that the fox and our mutual friend had become a dedicated couple. I felt like a dog who was taken out to a picnic and then consequently deserted. You know, like in those Looney Tunes episodes.
It was a downward spiral from there on. I continued to seek out companionship, I suppose to fill the void caused by my parents' constant inattention and loud arguing. I wasn't used to rejection. The furries I'd met up until this point were, for the most part, accepting and open-minded people regarding their relationships with others. I didn't know what it meant to be refused as a friend.
Now an avid member of FA, I sought out people who had simple art styles and who would often draw comics with an intent to amuse. I suppose I was drawn to their ability to convey simple ideas in a way that lots of people could quickly relate to and love. I felt that, as a result, conversation together would be easy. These people, often bombarded by fans perhaps looking for the same level of attention as I, often wanted nothing to do with me, especially once our conversations proved that I had nothing stimulating to offer for their time. They told me to leave them be, and then resorted to blocking me from websites and messengers. Intent that I could somehow turn their opinions around, I proceeded to build a horrible reputation as a stalker, messaging people from multiple accounts. Words of my actions spread, and people who I'd never even met or talked to prior suddenly added me to their block lists preemptively. I felt more dejected and lonely than I ever had before. Fearing only ostracization from my parents had I attempted to explain my position, I continued my unfortunate habits, compounded by experimentation with new and mostly ineffective medications for depression & anxiety.
Now, popular artists in a fanbase such as this often have close followers. Ones who desire praise and affection like I did, but exacting alternative methods to try and achieve them. Unprovoked, they would message me and tell me how awful of a person I was. They told me to "stay away from their favorite artist!" "Stay away from this website! "Stay away from the fandom!" "Go away and die already!" I become expectant that people whom I'd never met before hated me. I was suspicious of everyone. To feel so cold, so dejected, there was no worse feeling in the world to me. I cried often during this time.
Over years of time, I've made up with a number of people who I didn't get along with. But to this day, I still have nightmares of friends that I have now and friends that I had before screaming at me. Telling me that I'm worthless. I often wake up in the morning sad, lonely, and wanting to be by myself. My brain tells me to avoid life. I do my best to tell it to go fuck itself. Bullying has hurt me more than you could ever imagine. If I have hurt anybody else who didn't warrant it, then I dearly and deeply apologize to them. No human being with worth deserves that sort of disrespect from anybody else.

Losing my self-worth: A history

atma505

19 May 2014 at 19:10:58 MDT

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  • Link

    Oh wow... you have had it pretty rough...
    This makes me think "maybe I should talk more to this guy over the IM stuff, I see him online pretty often... or at least used to when I was online".

  • Link

    I'll never understand why people treat others so horribly. Hang in there, man. I hope things get better for you!

  • Link

    Your story sounds very painful. I can relate to that pain.

    This fandom has perhaps more than its fair share of people who just don't know how to deal with other people. I count myself among them. Anyone can be badly, unnecessarily hurt because of that. On top of it all, the text-based, 2D nature of internet communication gives many people the false impression that they can't actually hurt anyone. That one is insidious and doesn't always go noticed. And meanwhile real human psyches are tortured into silence and isolation.

    It's important and a good thing for you to have been able to sum your experience up so far; just taking stock of one's life can help build a narrative to explain how you found yourself "here" in a spot you're not happy with. But moving forward, the thing that can be hard to remember is that this narrative doesn't have an ending yet -- you are the author of your own story, and you are writing it now. I often forget that I always have choices, no matter how restricted and disadvantaged I feel. Just in case you're also feeling stuck, my advice to you in general is to try to stay mindful of how much control of your life you truly have -- and also try not to use that to further beat yourself up (that's what I do); there's a balance between self-acceptance and self-mastery to find).

    For my part (sorry to keep rattling on about "me"), my mantra is something like, "we have thoughts, we have feelings in response to the thoughts, and we have reactions to those feelings. Because of how are brains are wired, we only really have control over our reactions. But assuming we're healthy, we always have that control." I hope that rings a bell, or something, for you.

    Best wishes~

  • Link

    People can be callous. I often tell people that but they don't quite understand the gravity of the saying. It seems so foreign or cartoonish for people to understand what bullying and neglect can feel like no matter how open you can be about it, and to the person being abused it's hard to paint this or anything/everything else otherwise.

    Just know that not everyone is so abrasive, and that there's more out there then just this subculture.

  • Link

    Hey, sorry I'm very late reading this journal, and I hope you are ok, but you will always have a friend in me dude. Hit me up for hugs anytime <3