Avatar universal

Am I really selfish to the point where I'm told this for nearly 18 years?

Basically, all I ever remember is people telling me that I cannot show care. I'm used to being called manipulative and selfish. Everyone thinks I don't care about them because I can't reciprocate feelings the way they do. They keep telling me that if I really cared about a person, I would know how to help them and do things for them. But the problem is, it doesn't even cross my mind. They are all important people in my life. Recently, it's mostly my family that are constantly upset with me because I am being selfish (and I don't even realize that I've hurt them, or I've been rude until they explode and yell at me). My close friends have come to understand that just because I can't reciprocate doesn't mean I don't care. And I feel guilty when I don't know what to say or how to feel when someone shows affection. I had a mental breakdown on my birthday because I was overwhelmed by the number of people giving me attention. Movie theaters makes me nervous. and I constantly fidget with the cuticles of my thumbs to the point where it bleeds (and I still do it). ive been diagnosed with depression and stress disorders before, but the medication just made me drowsy and inattentive (made things worse). I am just so tired of feeling guilty when I don't know how to fix it. So please tell me. Am I really selfish and unable to care, or is there something really wrong with me? How do I fix this.
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Avatar universal
Truly, how do we know?  We're not there to see if you're really like this or if you're exaggerating because you're feeling down.  We can only go by what you say in your post.  For example, it might be that your family isn't actually upset with you at all.  We don't know.  You might not really know if in fact you are depressed, as depressed people very often think the worst when the worst isn't really happening.  But let's say you really don't give as much as you receive in your relationships -- you use the word "can't" but you actually can.  If you want to.  If you don't want to, you are happy with yourself and just unhappy with others giving you grief about it.  You can deal with that by just ignoring the negative chatter.  If these people are still spending time with you and talking to you they aren't all that upset as you think, right?  When folks are really upset with you they stop having anything to do with you.  I also note that it's your family that's upset with you, not your close friends.  That also says something, because families we're stuck with by birth but friends are with you by choice.  Says more.  But again, if those people criticizing you are right, you can change if you really want to.  It's up to you.  As for treatment options, medication isn't the only show in town.  Therapy is an even better option if it works, because you might find an actual fix to the problem, which medication doesn't currently offer.  Peace.
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Thank you for answering  This is a perspective I've been visiting a lot, and has fuelled some effort in showing acts of affection however mentally exhausting it is to make sure I don't say something wrong.
You really have to learn to be yourself.  Again, it doesn't seem like others are really that upset with you.  People have different personalities, it doesn't mean you have some fancy named disorder.  The only way to know for sure is to see a psychologist and get diagnosed and start working on you.  Some of us are very insecure, and some are really secure without any reason to be based on their talent and performance.  Sometimes people are just different from what they think they ought to be.  It does sound like you do suffer from depression, which leaves us with a low self0-image and a sense that others are very negative about us.  I hope you find yourself and learn to accept it but if you do have depression do work on that.  Peace.
973741 tn?1342342773
Oh goodness, I'm sorry.  You know, my son has sensory integration disorder.  This involves some different things and for some people it can be very subtle.  He feels things but differently than what is considered typical. First of all, he has what is called 'low registration'. He doesn't pick up cues from others socially all the time and he also literally doesn't notice what is going on around him.  So, people can walk by him and be looking right at him and say hi and he doesn't respond.  Why?  Not to ignore them but because he never registered their being there, looking at him or voice. He has to work to 'notice' others. He also tends to be self preserving.  As his mom, I sometimes see it as selfish but in reality, he's trying to take care of himself as best he can. The world is cruel, look out for thyself.  

My son also is very sensitive to noise.  He LOVES movies but for years would hold his hands over his ears when we went.  Now he wears a hoodie and puts it over his head. He has headphones that cancel out noise at home (as I have a very loud second son!).  

He also fidgets.  We get him hand fidgets which help.  But the reality of fidgeting is that is often done to keep you alert subconsciously.  

So, perhaps your nervous system is a little out of whack like my sons.  What helps him most is physical activity.  Life some weights, do some push ups and go for a march (hitting feet on ground) or run around the house. Swimming is really a great exercise.  (deep pressure and heavy lifting all in one).  I'm happy to tell you more about sensory integration disorder if you think it matches at all and to be honest, from what you've written, it does sound similar.
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While I do relate to some of the symptoms of the disorder, I don't think I have it as tough as your son. There are often times where I'm so focused in work, I don't even notice someone talking to me but I believe that's true for a good amount of people. I guess it's just, for a very long time, I've been beating myself up for being a bad person to everyone even if they say otherwise. Thank you so much for answering, it makes me feel at ease knowing that maybe there really is something I can do about this.
Again, on websites people have a tendency to throw around all sorts of diagnoses without really knowing you.  So again, I suggest seeing a professional who can help you figure out what's actually going on and hopefully help you make a plan to work on it.  
You know, it's fairly a common thing to have.  It bothers people to different degrees.  I am happy to share some about it.  And what you get on websites, is ideas of things to look into.  That's the true beauty of it.  And what this site is for.  To get other people's ideas and answers to your questions.  I'm happy to help any time I can.
Avatar universal
Sounds like Asperger's. Try study a book on Body Language. (I think Allan Pease has one. Looks like Barbara Pease also has one.)  And try various books on Asperger's Syndrome.

(I of course can't diagnose you here, it's just the first idea that popped into my mind as a possibility. Asperger people tend to look at the mouth more since that is where the words come from, whereas others tend to watch the eyes more because they see a wealth of information in other people's eyes.)

Communication can break down if other people are looking for emotions rather than words, and aspie people rely on words and don't emote the emotions others are looking for.

For example, a person smiles and says they are very sad. An aspie will conclude they are sad, because they said they were. Other people may conclude she is happy, because she is smiling.

See the movie Mozart And The Whale for an example.

Studying body language helped me become more aware of my own body language, and how to interpret the body language of others.

Aspie people can be the most kind and caring people, even if they don't emote the emotions others are looking for, they still feel it inside.

Aspie people also are very prone to depression, due to feelings of isolation.

(Depression is a whole nother topic. Finding a med that works for a particular person can be a long task. Worth it though if one is suffering greatly.)


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That would be hilariously ironic. which probably isn't the best way to relay my shock because yes, I just looked it up and im not sure I'm okay with the number of symptoms I relate to. From the obsessive routines to having a breakdown if someone opens a specific window that must be shut at all times. It would be ironic because I'm pursuing a career in psychology and am in the process of learning to be a therapist. The sheer idea of having Aspergers is terrifying in terms of its implications on what would be a lot of answers to the problems I have. It's not that I don't understand emotions, I have learned, it's more like machine learning. I can predict and offer solutions. But honestly, at this point, I'm more comforted by the fact that something may actually be wrong with me than the idea that I'm a horrible person at the roots. So, thank you so much for answering, I really appreciate it.
Well, there's the problem right there.  Psychiatrists and psychologists have a high rate of mental problems.  It's often what attracts them to the field, having dealt with the stuff themselves.  But again, the things being suggested you have are impossible for us to know one way or the other.  Try to relax and find the answers.  
649848 tn?1534633700
Before one can actually become a practicing psychologist, one, typically has to go through therapy of their own to make sure they can handle other people's problems.  Even though you're studying psychology, you'll need to have some therapy and will have a supervisor/mentor for a time while you work on becoming a good therapist.  

I agree that forums like this are so people can put out ideas for others to work  on, such as the Asperger's or a sensory disorder - both excellent ideas and neither would prevent you from becoming everything you're capable of being, but I also agree that therapy is really the only true way to find out for sure.  It will help you understand yourself in ways you'd never think possible.  Once you know, and are comfortable with, yourself, you become better at helping other people.

Best of luck...  :-)
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