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Have you ever told the whole truth to anyone?

Perfectly Normal Beast

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Oh the joys of anonymity...
This is the first time i'm admitting this to anyone but it's cool because you guys think i'm just an owl (so this doesn't count!?). I've never been entirely truthful about all aspects of my life/thoughts/feelings and so on to anyone, ever. I always keep various aspects of myself secret from every person i interact with, though most things have been revealed to at least one person. I've often wondered if this is 'normal' (to intps?) but never asked anyone because that might lead to awkward and intrusive questions about what i'm holding back. I'm inclined to assume that everyone is this way, but then i recall how much intimate detail certain fairly casual acquaintances are prepared to reveal.
So i'm asking the forum: does anyone know the whole you?
 

Jennywocky

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I have a tendency to compartmentalize a lot of my life, although the people that I'm closest to (the few there are) tend to know more the "complete" (or at least representative) me.

Most of it for me is the chameleon thing. I tend to use the pieces of myself that are similar to the people I'm communicating with and not show them the pieces that are different. I'm making connection points. At the worst, there were a lot of people who thought I was like them; in actuality, there were parts of me like that but they were unaware of whole other facets of me. So to myself, I was always me (because I knew all of myself); but to everyone else, I was just what they wanted me to be, in essence.

I've eased back on that some, because I finally got sick of the scenario where all these people "knew me" but didn't really "know me." The end result is that it can add distance in relationships but you get some self-consistency back and don't have to keep shifting gears when interacting with people. It was kind of shocking when I finally did that, and all those people felt like they no longer knew me even if I was the same person I always was; their perceptions had just been incorrect.
 

DelusiveNinja

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I don't tell the truth unless I think they are willing to go to great lengths to get it. Such as, one of those sadists down in the arena. You don't want to be lying to people who will strap you up and let bugs eat you alive, shoving honey and milk down your throat to attract more insects. No one knows the whole me as far as I know.
 

Hawkeye

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I've never needed to.
 

Cherry Cola

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I do what Jennywocky describes. Haven't started turning it around yet, but at least nowadays I've realized that I can be myself in more contexts than before; if it wont lose me my job or lead to other inconveniences then who bloody cares?

If being 100% honest means telling every secret than I've never been 100% either, at least there are a few whom I've shown honesty that's up there in the final percentiles somewhere. That'll have to do.
 

Architect

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In my experience nobody, even somebody as close to you as your best friend/mind-soul mate spouse is able to take everything in. For one nobody can understand your truths/secrets as much as you do, from your unique experience having lived it.
 

Brontosaurie

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i dunno if it's possible from an information theory point of view.

but it is my idea of love. mental reciprocal feedback synergy thing.

never experienced it.
 

Jennywocky

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I don't tell the truth unless I think they are willing to go to great lengths to get it. Such as, one of those sadists down in the arena. You don't want to be lying to people who will strap you up and let bugs eat you alive, shoving honey and milk down your throat to attract more insects. No one knows the whole me as far as I know.

Fudge. Looks like we'll need to implement Exotic Death #2, backup plan.

In my experience nobody, even somebody as close to you as your best friend/mind-soul mate spouse is able to take everything in. For one nobody can understand your truths/secrets as much as you do, from your unique experience having lived it.

That's one reason why I think loneliness can be pervasive at core -- we will never totally be in sync and 100% understand another human being or vice versa. There will always be a buffer there that cannot be surmounted or crossed.
 

r4ch3l

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I relate a lot to what Jennywocky said and compartmentalize a lot of my life, especially my social life. Sometimes I think about how if I were to die tomorrow the people who would show up at my funeral would not have a lot in common with each other. It amazes me that people have these contained social circles where everyone's friends know or are introduced to everyone else's friends. My social circle is mostly composed of people I spend one-on-one time from all different strata of society/life experience/geographical location. Each individual within it knows a different version of me where some parts are emphasized in order to relate at all. The person who probably knows me the best in a complete way that I have few secrets from is the INTJ guy who I met while traveling and lived with off and on all over. I feel that other NTs are the easiest to be myself around.

My friend wrote this, and I think it describes me (and him) well (I suspect he is INFJ):

"You are so genuine and sincere, and I think that you, much like myself, use compartmentalized masochistic arenas and personas to express the selfishness, wants, and desires you feel guilt over indulging outside of that space, because it’s such a departure from who you are at your center. All my debauchery amounts to is armor – I showcase it because sometimes, most times, it’s easier to be that part of me exclusively than trying to be all of me and being misunderstood, chased, or to be dug into looking for something I don’t know if I can give. I am empowered, in control, and unapologetic in that limited relationship, but I will always be a slave to love and truth.

That’s what burdens me, this constant dichotomy I’ve had to develop to balance out what, and when, I need to satisfy or suppress. The more I achieve balance there, the farther I feel from myself because neither are who I am when separated. Maybe stripping and the more devious motivations are like that for you, I don’t know."
 

Nezaros

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Not the "whole" truth, but to one person, far more than to anybody else. It put extremely unnecessary strain on our relationship because she failed to understand everything in context. The only positive result was that now I know never to reveal so much; it's impractical for one thing, unnecessary, and it can complicate their perception of you. There's really no reason to say more than needs to be said.
 

Polaris

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i dunno if it's possible from an information theory point of view.

but it is my idea of love. mental reciprocal feedback synergy thing.

never experienced it.

I have witheld information most of my life; particularly from parents (we never discussed emotional things at home) and people closest to me. All my ex-partners were volatile SF types; I had to listen to them more. I had to be strong and weather the storms that frequently blew up as a result of me being reserved and supposedly unaffectionate. This caused me to withdraw even more; I could not go through having to brace myself every time I spoke the truth about some matter, unaware of the emotional storm I was triggering. I became accustomed to walking on eggshells until I got sick of it and gave up on relationships all together.

Lately I have been privileged to experience what bronto refers to as mental reciprocal feedback synergy thing (MRFST).

Because I trust this individual to not fly off the handle emotionally every time I say something a little bit (or very) controversial or provocative I feel very confident that I can say anything to him. So I am less inclined to divulge as a result because I know he understands intuitively when I'm having a downer, and he doesn't ask incessant questions or tries to 'fix' me as he instinctively knows I am perfectly capable of finding solutions for myself. Yet, he offers to listen without judgement.

Because of his almost uncanny understanding of me, I'm completely relaxed and contented when we are together. This makes me want to protect and support him in reciprocation, so we end up having what we refer to as intermittent uncharacteristic gush-fests.....I have never experienced anything like it: two NT's gushing over each other :confused: Afterwards, we both sit there giggling because it seems so absurd to indulge in such liberties when we both regard ourselves as highly un-romantic (in the traditional sense).

I am now a believer in MRFST, f..k this wishy-washy thing called love.
 

Jennywocky

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I have witheld information most of my life; particularly from parents (we never discussed emotional things at home) and people closest to me. All my ex-partners were volatile SF types; I had to listen to them more. I had to be strong and weather the storms that frequently blew up as a result of me being reserved and supposedly unaffectionate. This caused me to withdraw even more; I could not go through having to brace myself every time I spoke the truth about some matter, unaware of the emotional storm I was triggering. I became accustomed to walking on eggshells until I got sick of it and gave up on relationships all together.

That's how I felt growing up. My family was very unstable. When I couldn't escape the premises or lock myself in my room, I had to be as calm and self-controlled as possible. It is a useful trait to have, but... not always a good thing if you actually want to live.


Because I trust this individual to not fly off the handle emotionally every time I say something a little bit (or very) controversial or provocative I feel very confident that I can say anything to him. So I am less inclined to divulge as a result because I know he understands intuitively when I'm having a downer, and he doesn't ask incessant questions or tries to 'fix' me as he instinctively knows I am perfectly capable of finding solutions for myself. Yet, he offers to listen without judgement.

Because of his almost uncanny understanding of me, I'm completely relaxed and contented when we are together. This makes me want to protect and support him in reciprocation, so we end up having what we refer to as intermittent uncharacteristic gush-fests.....I have never experienced anything like it: two NT's gushing over each other :confused: Afterwards, we both sit there giggling because it seems so absurd to indulge in such liberties when we both regard ourselves as highly un-romantic (in the traditional sense).

I am now a believer in MRFST, f..k this wishy-washy thing called love.

I'm jealous a bit, yes... but even happier that you found that kind of haven where a reciprocal relationship is possible. :) Sometimes such people are hard to find. I had a taste of it, once. That relationship didn't last, but it gave me hope maybe there might be another one out there.
 

Perfectly Normal Beast

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I have a tendency to compartmentalize a lot of my life, although the people that I'm closest to (the few there are) tend to know more the "complete" (or at least representative) me.

Most of it for me is the chameleon thing. I tend to use the pieces of myself that are similar to the people I'm communicating with and not show them the pieces that are different. I'm making connection points. At the worst, there were a lot of people who thought I was like them; in actuality, there were parts of me like that but they were unaware of whole other facets of me. So to myself, I was always me (because I knew all of myself); but to everyone else, I was just what they wanted me to be, in essence.

I've eased back on that some, because I finally got sick of the scenario where all these people "knew me" but didn't really "know me." The end result is that it can add distance in relationships but you get some self-consistency back and don't have to keep shifting gears when interacting with people. It was kind of shocking when I finally did that, and all those people felt like they no longer knew me even if I was the same person I always was; their perceptions had just been incorrect.

I have also gradually found the ability to reveal the uncensored self like this, partly because i find the constant gear-shifting utterly exhausting. A few years of almost total social isolation has helped - because time spent without having to don masks made me realise the true weight of those masks. I'm just no longer prepared to do it (and barely capable actually). Now the only 'pretense' is that of omission when in the company of people to whom my causing offense is more trouble than it's worth - in-laws, neighbours etc.


I relate a lot to what Jennywocky said and compartmentalize a lot of my life, especially my social life. Sometimes I think about how if I were to die tomorrow the people who would show up at my funeral would not have a lot in common with each other. It amazes me that people have these contained social circles where everyone's friends know or are introduced to everyone else's friends. My social circle is mostly composed of people I spend one-on-one time from all different strata of society/life experience/geographical location. Each individual within it knows a different version of me where some parts are emphasized in order to relate at all. The person who probably knows me the best in a complete way that I have few secrets from is the INTJ guy who I met while traveling and lived with off and on all over. I feel that other NTs are the easiest to be myself around.

Haha, i'm so glad to know i'm not the only one who has had such worries about the potential awkwardness of my own funeral!
Yes! - i am always amazed and rather horrified by those people who introduce all their friends, family, lovers and co-workers to each other. Although i've overcome most of the secrecy on a one-on-one level with age, i still have a huge issue with the idea of certain individuals meeting others in my life. I guess partly because i have friends who are very different from me and so although i'm more open than i used to be, they still only see a slice, and one which may have very little in common with the slice that another sees - what happens if they start comparing notes and realise my deceptions!? I've always had this terror that one day i will come home to a surprise party and find them all together...aaarrgghhh :eek:

In my experience nobody, even somebody as close to you as your best friend/mind-soul mate spouse is able to take everything in. For one nobody can understand your truths/secrets as much as you do, from your unique experience having lived it.

That's one reason why I think loneliness can be pervasive at core -- we will never totally be in sync and 100% understand another human being or vice versa. There will always be a buffer there that cannot be surmounted or crossed.

I don't want to believe this, it's so bleak. If it's true, we are inevitably and permanently completely alone. Of course no-one is ever going to totally understand your life in its entirity but is it possible for almost 100% understanding to emerge from years of mutual revelation unhindered by fear of causing offence?
What comprises the buffer? Is it failure to be brutally honest? For me it is caused be perception of fragility - i often refrain from saying things if i think someone's feelings will be hurt. Now my holding back comes down to honesty about my darkest thoughts which i didn't make clear in my OP.

but it is my idea of love. mental reciprocal feedback synergy thing.

It's my ideal of love.

Not the "whole" truth, but to one person, far more than to anybody else. It put extremely unnecessary strain on our relationship because she failed to understand everything in context. The only positive result was that now I know never to reveal so much; it's impractical for one thing, unnecessary, and it can complicate their perception of you. There's really no reason to say more than needs to be said.

I understand why you feel like this, i've had similar negative consequences from too much honesty. But for me non-disclosure feels like lying. Perception/understanding of another's mind must be complicated by definition. I want to hear and tell the whole truth even though some of it may not be pleasant to hear or admit.

I have witheld information most of my life; particularly from parents (we never discussed emotional things at home) and people closest to me. All my ex-partners were volatile SF types; I had to listen to them more. I had to be strong and weather the storms that frequently blew up as a result of me being reserved and supposedly unaffectionate. This caused me to withdraw even more; I could not go through having to brace myself every time I spoke the truth about some matter, unaware of the emotional storm I was triggering. I became accustomed to walking on eggshells until I got sick of it and gave up on relationships all together.

Lately I have been privileged to experience what bronto refers to as mental reciprocal feedback synergy thing (MRFST).

Because I trust this individual to not fly off the handle emotionally every time I say something a little bit (or very) controversial or provocative I feel very confident that I can say anything to him. So I am less inclined to divulge as a result because I know he understands intuitively when I'm having a downer, and he doesn't ask incessant questions or tries to 'fix' me as he instinctively knows I am perfectly capable of finding solutions for myself. Yet, he offers to listen without judgement.

Because of his almost uncanny understanding of me, I'm completely relaxed and contented when we are together. This makes me want to protect and support him in reciprocation, so we end up having what we refer to as intermittent uncharacteristic gush-fests.....I have never experienced anything like it: two NT's gushing over each other :confused: Afterwards, we both sit there giggling because it seems so absurd to indulge in such liberties when we both regard ourselves as highly un-romantic (in the traditional sense).

I am now a believer in MRFST, f..k this wishy-washy thing called love.

I had very similar experiences with my family and early friendships and relationships - i frequently triggered incomprehensible (to me) emotional outbursts with what i thought was an uncontroversial statement of truth. Now i avoid those highly sensitive types of people and your current relationship sounds quite similar to mine. But, do you also have anti-gush fests? By this i mean are you honest with each other about negative thoughts/feelings?

I have the feeling that anything less than complete revelation is dishonest - it creates a permanent barrier which i am constantly aware of, the result of which is a feeling of isolation. I find 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything it all' nonsensical in the context of close relationships. I want to hear what sucks about me from someone else's point of view, because who knows what glaring character defects i may have missed from my subjective self-assessment. It's like the old cliche 'does my bum look big in this' on a much larger scale. Society conditions us not to tell harsh truths.

Personally i prefer brutal honesty, however unpleasant that may be and hearing that a loved one sometimes completely despises me for some behavioural trait (for example...i'm not actually going to post my specific darknesses lol!) would actually seem like a positive thing from my perspective - rather than feeling upset upon hearing these truths, i would be honoured by the trust that was necessary for such an admission and would be inclined to laugh and reveal similar secrets. Because we all have them, don't we??
 

Architect

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I don't want to believe this, it's so bleak. If it's true, we are inevitably and permanently completely alone.

Well we are, except I'd take out the underlined word. Of course we're not completely alone, we're strangers in real life talking on this board, aren't we? You stated it in absolute terms, "the whole truth" and I pointed out that you can't state the whole truth. Of course there are degrees.
 

Huggogguh

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I don't think I've ever shared the whole truth with any single person. But the majority is certainly spread around a group of close friends. Sometimes the logical side of me overrides everything else and I get caught up in thought. Then when it comes down to sharing, any problems or questions I might have had have been made insignificant or answered by already. I do have an ENTP friend who has extremely similar thought processes to me, I have probably shared the most with him.

I had to listen to them more. I had to be strong and weather the storms that frequently blew up as a result of me being reserved and supposedly unaffectionate. This caused me to withdraw even more; I could not go through having to brace myself every time I spoke the truth about some matter, unaware of the emotional storm I was triggering. I became accustomed to walking on eggshells until I got sick of it and gave up on relationships all together.
I can understand where you're coming from, I feel like I'm experiencing this the very moment I hit send. She overreacts so much sometimes, and this makes it really hard. I'm usually such a calm, analytical person but when she keeps pushing and pushing with the same issues every time we have an argument. . . I feel like erupting sometimes. Then when that fades I sink back into cynicism and nonchalant.
Sorry for the anecdote guys, its been a while since I've vented any of that.
 

Perfectly Normal Beast

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Well we are, except I'd take out the underlined word. Of course we're not completely alone, we're strangers in real life talking on this board, aren't we? You stated it in absolute terms, "the whole truth" and I pointed out that you can't state the whole truth. Of course there are degrees.

It's true - you can't state the whole truth - there isn't time and much of it is probably forgotten or irrelevant anyway.
I should have titled the thread 'is there anyone with whom you are completely honest (to the best of your recollection of your own life and regardless of whether your honesty might be hurtful)' - which i do see in absolute terms.
 

Jennywocky

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Yes! - i am always amazed and rather horrified by those people who introduce all their friends, family, lovers and co-workers to each other. Although i've overcome most of the secrecy on a one-on-one level with age, i still have a huge issue with the idea of certain individuals meeting others in my life. I guess partly because i have friends who are very different from me and so although i'm more open than i used to be, they still only see a slice, and one which may have very little in common with the slice that another sees - what happens if they start comparing notes and realise my deceptions!? I've always had this terror that one day i will come home to a surprise party and find them all together...aaarrgghhh :eek:

I admit to a bit of anxiety there as well, although it was far worse in the past. I had friends and connections from various perspectives, faiths, behaviors, etc. My God-fearing family would have shit bricks if they had met some of the people I was friends with. (Heck, they'd shit bricks hearing me use phrases like "shit bricks") Throwing all those people into the same room, where I knew some would offend others, and then the offenders would become offended that someone got offended, was rather a nightmare to anticipate, since then some of their criticisms might reflect on me as well.

Yeeesh. Talk about Fe anxieties.

I don't want to believe this, it's so bleak. If it's true, we are inevitably and permanently completely alone. Of course no-one is ever going to totally understand your life in its entirity but is it possible for almost 100% understanding to emerge from years of mutual revelation unhindered by fear of causing offence?

Oh, you make it sound so dreadful. ;)

I don't actually look at it as "bleak," it's simply either true or not. "Bleak" is a value judgment/reaction attached based on the person considering the scenario. If it's true, it has to be dealt with in some way / come to terms with, regarldess of whether it is happy or bleak or pessimistic or optimistic sounding.

What comprises the buffer? Is it failure to be brutally honest? For me it is caused be perception of fragility - i often refrain from saying things if i think someone's feelings will be hurt. Now my holding back comes down to honesty about my darkest thoughts which i didn't make clear in my OP.

I think you aren't totally understanding where I am coming from, but I didn't explain it thoroughly either.

I'm talking about the basic reality of human non-omniscience. I will never know what it is like to be you, and you will never know what it is like to be me. Not 100%. Hopefully if we trust each other and have good intention and want to be close, then we will communicate as much of that private revelation of living as we are capable of, and we can grow close.

I'm simply saying because we cannot be each other -- the same personal makeup, the same historical past in context, even the same physical space, we will always be looking at the world from different angles even if those angles can be made close with effort. We can never be someone else, even if we can learn enough about them to think we grasp them well enough.

This isn't necessarily "bleak." It does mean there is always an aura of mystery around the other, and that mystery is not necessarily a bad thing, if you like mystery. It also demands that we communicate rather than just knowing everything without effort. It also leads us to value those relationship more where we find someone who is both capable and desiring of entering as deep a relationship as possible, to strive for an intimacy that will never be 100%.

I think if there is any disappointment for me, it stems from that crazy SX thing, where I just want to dive into someone's depths and have them dive into mine, to find each other. and if I had been able to have an intimate relationship like that in life before now, I probably wouldn't feel the inherent loneliness of it. It's like looking up into the night sky and wanting to reach out and touch all those stars, but they're too far away, across a gap too broad, for me to cross and vice versa. Maybe some day? But probably not in my lifetime. Still, the stars are glorious. I have trouble associating the word "bleak" with their transcendence. Maybe people are the same way, if I think about it -- it doesn't have to be bleak, maybe just frustrating.

I understand why you feel like this, i've had similar negative consequences from too much honesty. But for me non-disclosure feels like lying. Perception/understanding of another's mind must be complicated by definition. I want to hear and tell the whole truth even though some of it may not be pleasant to hear or admit.

Just want to say that I agree with this. And that is after spending a lot of life dealing with people who like to veneer everything with a superficial (well, to me) layer of niceness. Nowadays sometimes it leaves me ill. I mean, courtesy is not a bad thing and can show respect; but too often it also seems to be used as an avoidance mechanism for dealing with raw reality in a way that could result in positive gain. They hamstring themselves by not being able to grapple with issues directly.

I had very similar experiences with my family and early friendships and relationships - i frequently triggered incomprehensible (to me) emotional outbursts with what i thought was an uncontroversial statement of truth. Now i avoid those highly sensitive types of people and your current relationship sounds quite similar to mine. But, do you also have anti-gush fests? By this i mean are you honest with each other about negative thoughts/feelings?

I have the feeling that anything less than complete revelation is dishonest - it creates a permanent barrier which i am constantly aware of, the result of which is a feeling of isolation. I find 'if you can't say something nice, don't say anything it all' nonsensical in the context of close relationships.

Agreed. That is a rule for people who don't know each other well.

My closest friends -- as long as I know that their criticism or frustration doesn't mean they loathe me or plan to abandon me -- I prefer to have be honest with me. Honestly, as I look back, I think any reticence to that for me stems in having disapproval/criticism usually associated with abandonment and judgment; I'd rather someone be honest, as long as their investment is not questionable.

(For example, I pretty much feel like my relationship with my sister is over, honestly, because she can't get real with me. (She's ISFJ and religious, so mandated by her faith to "be nice.") But it's also a nice little excuse to not engage in a potetially contentious discussion -- which allows her to maintain her views without challenge, at expense of our relationship. I'm not really interested in sending cutesy little letters to someone and pretending to be part of each other's lives when there's a huge elephant in the middle of the room that prevents us from really accepting each other; but she would rather play that game. I understand the game, and I understand for her it's not a game and/or it serves some positive purpose in her head; but I no longer want to play it, it goes nowhere substantial, it's a cop-out.)

Personally i prefer brutal honesty, however unpleasant that may be and hearing that a loved one sometimes completely despises me for some behavioural trait (for example...i'm not actually going to post my specific darknesses lol!) would actually seem like a positive thing from my perspective - rather than feeling upset upon hearing these truths, i would be honoured by the trust that was necessary for such an admission and would be inclined to laugh and reveal similar secrets. Because we all have them, don't we??

Yes, and that dovetails nicely into what I said above -- that the ability to be brutally honest is built on a foundation of trust and commitment to another person. The haters and abandoners haven't earned (or invested) the trust necessary to earn the ability to speak with such candor; it just comes off as assault, rather than a form of intimacy.
 

doncarlzone

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I have also gradually found the ability
Personally i prefer brutal honesty, however unpleasant that may be and hearing that a loved one sometimes completely despises me for some behavioural trait (for example...i'm not actually going to post my specific darknesses lol!) would actually seem like a positive thing from my perspective - rather than feeling upset upon hearing these truths, i would be honoured by the trust that was necessary for such an admission and would be inclined to laugh and reveal similar secrets. Because we all have them, don't we??

Great post, not just this part.

If we are not attempting to be brutally honest with ourselves then we are basically letting our ego and insecurities run loose. I have one very close friend whom I try to be as honest as possible with and we sometimes challenge each other to share which traits we dislike the most about each other, for the exact same reasons as you outlined.

Older people in general (+40) seem more inclined to openly share their insecurities. Once you've discovered and acknowledged your own insecurities, you suddenly see insecurities pop out everywhere in other people too. So I think that introspection combined with the realization that other people are just as damaged as you, is a part of maturing which builds self-esteem.
 

Jennywocky

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I think that introspection combined with the realization that other people are just as damaged as you, is a part of maturing which builds self-esteem.

Great observation -- I think earlier in life, people are kind of self-absorbed in their own flaws (if they accept them at all), too much to realize everyone else has their own as well and so we're all on level ground here.

When we're all bozos on the bus, there's no need to pretend to be something else or to hide ourselves. Let's Get Real instead. ;)
 

Perfectly Normal Beast

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I admit to a bit of anxiety there as well, although it was far worse in the past. I had friends and connections from various perspectives, faiths, behaviors, etc. My God-fearing family would have shit bricks if they had met some of the people I was friends with. (Heck, they'd shit bricks hearing me use phrases like "shit bricks") Throwing all those people into the same room, where I knew some would offend others, and then the offenders would become offended that someone got offended, was rather a nightmare to anticipate, since then some of their criticisms might reflect on me as well.

Yes, the same is true for me - part of my anxiety concerns who might (definately will in some cases) offend others. Not to mention their incomprehension that i'd even have friends 'like that' (which would apply in both directions, i.e. for example 'you have friends who are metalheads??' but they would be equally shocked 'you have friends who aren't metalheads??'


I don't actually look at it as "bleak," it's simply either true or not. "Bleak" is a value judgment/reaction attached based on the person considering the scenario. If it's true, it has to be dealt with in some way / come to terms with, regarldess of whether it is happy or bleak or pessimistic or optimistic sounding.

I was intentionally making a value judgement as though i had accepted that it were true. Labelling it bleak was not a denial of the fact that it has to be dealt with somehow. But anyway due to the ambiguity of my title (i chose catchiness over clarity,tsk) and continued with ambiguity in my OP to boot, there was some misunderstanding about what 'it' was! :

I'm talking about the basic reality of human non-omniscience. I will never know what it is like to be you, and you will never know what it is like to be me. Not 100%. Hopefully if we trust each other and have good intention and want to be close, then we will communicate as much of that private revelation of living as we are capable of, and we can grow close.

I'm simply saying because we cannot be each other -- the same personal makeup, the same historical past in context, even the same physical space, we will always be looking at the world from different angles even if those angles can be made close with effort. We can never be someone else, even if we can learn enough about them to think we grasp them well enough.

I was not talking about the inevitably solitary nature of subjective existence, sorry - it did come across that way. What i find bleak is the concept that it is so difficult for two people to be completely honest about everything, including their own possibly nasty/selfish/mean-spirited thoughts and desires as to be virtually impossible. Because i find keeping these things to myself and the thought that the other person is doing that too very isolating, as all secrets shared by only one tend to be.

Just want to say that I agree with this. And that is after spending a lot of life dealing with people who like to veneer everything with a superficial (well, to me) layer of niceness. Nowadays sometimes it leaves me ill. I mean, courtesy is not a bad thing and can show respect; but too often it also seems to be used as an avoidance mechanism for dealing with raw reality in a way that could result in positive gain. They hamstring themselves by not being able to grapple with issues directly.

(For example, I pretty much feel like my relationship with my sister is over, honestly, because she can't get real with me. (She's ISFJ and religious, so mandated by her faith to "be nice.") But it's also a nice little excuse to not engage in a potetially contentious discussion -- which allows her to maintain her views without challenge, at expense of our relationship. I'm not really interested in sending cutesy little letters to someone and pretending to be part of each other's lives when there's a huge elephant in the middle of the room that prevents us from really accepting each other; but she would rather play that game. I understand the game, and I understand for her it's not a game and/or it serves some positive purpose in her head; but I no longer want to play it, it goes nowhere substantial, it's a cop-out.)

I completely agree with you here. The fact that some people don't seem to realise that it is a game has been a lifelong source of great confusion to me. It confounds me, i can't grasp it at all - how is the superficial niceness possibly desirable and comforting? Please tell me if you figure it out, it makes me ill too.
 

Perfectly Normal Beast

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If we are not attempting to be brutally honest with ourselves then we are basically letting our ego and insecurities run loose. I have one very close friend whom I try to be as honest as possible with and we sometimes challenge each other to share which traits we dislike the most about each other, for the exact same reasons as you outlined.

Older people in general (+40) seem more inclined to openly share their insecurities. Once you've discovered and acknowledged your own insecurities, you suddenly see insecurities pop out everywhere in other people too. So I think that introspection combined with the realization that other people are just as damaged as you, is a part of maturing which builds self-esteem.

I agree that being honest with yourself becomes easier with age, although this does not seem to be true for everyone unfortunately. I think that being brutally honest with yourself about your weaknesses allows you to understand them and tackle them - they cease to be insecurities and become tools with which to evolve yourself in to a kinder, more moral person, more easily capable of honesty in general all of which i think are vital for emotional maturity and happiness.
What a wonderful way to strengthen a friendship (i hope) and get another's perspective on your own flaws. I think i have one or two friendships which are strong enough to try this approach, let's hope so anyway...:eek:
 

Jennywocky

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Yes, the same is true for me - part of my anxiety concerns who might (definately will in some cases) offend others. Not to mention their incomprehension that i'd even have friends 'like that' (which would apply in both directions, i.e. for example 'you have friends who are metalheads??' but they would be equally shocked 'you have friends who aren't metalheads??'

Lol, it does run in both directions!

"Your friends are freaks. What dumpster did you find them in?"
"Your family is lame. Are you sure you weren't adopted?

What i find bleak is the concept that it is so difficult for two people to be completely honest about everything, including their own possibly nasty/selfish/mean-spirited thoughts and desires as to be virtually impossible. Because i find keeping these things to myself and the thought that the other person is doing that too very isolating, as all secrets shared by only one tend to be.

It is isolating, if people keep wearing the masks in the relationship. Maybe the criteria shouldn't be "perfect knowledge" of another, but just "unvarnished unfolding knowledge" of another. Just because we can't know it all doesn't mean we're blocking the flow, the vulnerability can still be present and the willingness to know as much as possible.

I guess I should also say I don't find it bleak because I don't let it define me. I'm a hardcore realist and yet a foolish idealist simultaneously.

There is this story called "The Cheese Stands Alone" by Harlan Ellison (I think that's what it's called), about a guy who goes into a bookstore run by Clotho et al (i.e., The Fates). And basically there is a book in that store for everyone, that will tell them what they most wanted to know about their lives.

When he goes in, the store is full of people who never left the store, because they have no reason to go. Knowing their deepest mystery has taken away their motivation or even demoralized them, if the answer was not up to par.

Anyway, they connive to get him to read a book that tells him the best moment he will ever experience in his entire life -- and he discovers it happened when he was 10 or so. No moment in his life will ever be as good as that one sweet, wonderful moment of bliss that he experienced at such a young age.

He puts down the book, crying, and goes to leave the store. The store owners are flabbergasted. "You're not supposed to leave. And why would you? What is left out there for you now anyway?"

And he says, "I know that, but it's my life. MY life. And I'm going to live it." And he leaves.

That's kind of my own approach to this -- despite the inability to reach perfection and the inevitability of disappointment, I'd still rather live my life, futilely trying to climb the gate into Nirvana. What else is there? Quitting just ensures the unhappiness, but I think there is something in how we face life and what we invest, ESPECICALLY when the outcome seems futile or inevitable.

Does that make me a romantic in some way? Maybe. But there's never a delusion there. I'm not expecting it to work out. I'm just living as if it still can anyway. It beats the alternative, and there is something fulfilling in it.

I completely agree with you here. The fact that some people don't seem to realise that it is a game has been a lifelong source of great confusion to me. It confounds me, i can't grasp it at all - how is the superficial niceness possibly desirable and comforting? Please tell me if you figure it out, it makes me ill too.

The best I can see is that it provides the comfort of predictability and control. They seem awfully afraid of the gray areas and taking risks.
 
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