Thursday, March 14, 2013

Fake it till you make it

From a reader:

recently, with xmas on it's way i've started to ponder a little on this subject. i rarely buy gifts for my family, i never saw the point, even with those who gave to me i'd just claim to be broke and it's not like i care about what my family thinks because i don't really want a relationship with any of them, at least, i don't really care whether they are part of my life in the future when i move out ect... (i'm a teenager). i thought a couple of your recent posts were of some relevance, like when you used to go shoplifting, i'm curious about your thought process behind stopping. do you get narcissistic satisfaction from doing things in a legit, socially acceptable manner? were you afraid of getting caught? and did you see something to be gained from changing (like the incentive to go out and earn more money)? personally i thought incentive, gain and even the fear of getting caught would work best but maybe it's a good form of self-control for sociopaths to indulge in a little narcissism, even if i didn't care about something beforehand i'd actually start to feel for it if i simply just started acting in that way, maybe that's why your past seems to emotionally contradict your current self? but it begs the question, where can you draw the line between self-help and self-delusion?

My response:

This -- "even if i didn't care about something beforehand i'd actually start to feel for it if i simply just started acting in that way" is so true. Biologically we know it is true, for whatever reason when we smile we actually get happier. I sometimes coach friends on how to become better speakers and get them to speak in front of me to the point where they seem relaxed. I then take note of the things that they do or say, how they position their body, etc., while they are relaxed. I tell them -- do these things when you speak in public and the very act of doing them will signal to your brain to relax. It is starting to become apparent that our brain is more plastic than scientists have traditionally believed. Every day, every thing that we do is wiring and re-wiring our brain and (I think) for people like us it is even a bigger deal because we don't have the same sorts of mental rigidities and concrete self-concepts that other people seem to have.

With that said, it is very difficult to fight the tide, so to speak. If your current incentives encourage being a jerk to your family (for whatever reason), you probably don't have the willpower to treat them nicely. If you really want to change a behavior and it is impossible to change your physical incentive structures (whatever would be the equivalent of taking antabuse in your situation), you might still be able to change your perspective. Our brains only process a small fraction of what we encounter. The way we see the world will always be distorted, but it is not a static sort of distortion. We can nudge ourself to see the world in a different sort of distorted way that benefits us. People do it all of the time to become more happy and optimistic with things like gratitude journals, or they become depressed and suicidal by doing the opposite. You can easily learn to love or hate something because, as you say "even if i didn't care about something beforehand i'd actually start to feel for it if i simply just started acting in that way".


  1. Very true. I once turned the tables around on a creepy exhibitionist who started "covertly" jacking off in front of me in a train when I was only a teen. At first, I was uncomfortable and looked away, but it only took me about 5 seconds to realize that my discomfort was getting him off. So I decided instead to stare brazenly and aggressively into his eyes, making no attempt to mask my contempt, now and then looking down at his cock and smirking. He started getting all shifty eyed, nervous and flaccid, which was incredibly empowering. I kept staring him down until he scrambled off the train in an embarrassed rush.

    I wasnt the nervous, easily intimidated little girl he had hoped for, I guess. That is when I first realized how weak guys like that truly are. I felt momentarily like superwoman. What a rush.

    1. become the lie

    2. just what this blog needs next to the wannebe's and 'nearly sociopaths' confused teenagers
      way to go ME

    3. to the op it's called growing pains

  2. Thank you for this post, M.E.

    You can easily learn to love or hate something because, as you say "even if i didn't care about something beforehand i'd actually start to feel for it if i simply just started acting in that way".

    When you want something or someone, simply because you want them and you want to be in love with them, and you start to act as if you are in love, then are you truly in love ? Or are you faking it til it sticks?

    1. Arranged marriage ;(

    2. If you're faking it til it sticks, you're dating?

  3. Replies
    1. For psychopaths?

    2. I think you are right, Medusa. For me, it is. I can remember the exact day I told myself I would BE in love with my ex husband.It was a terrible decision. But I did not fall. I decided. He's pretty much the only guy I never obsessed over.

  4. Let's talk about marriageMarch 14, 2013 at 7:18 AM

    Arranged marriage....

    Pros... Rational, rules are defined, both parties aware. This could get kinky.

    Cons... Some decision forced on you by others (but, what if the selection really makes sense?)

    Given what a shaky institution marriage can be, I see any form of it at a 50-50 success rate for both parties.

    1. All marriages are arranged.

      But back to Earth, arranged marriages tend to be more successful because there is no other way but to choose to love. Otherwise you're fucked for life, and not in the good sense. At the very least you know it's not based on dopamine or emotion, both of which are transient and unreliable when thinking long-term.

    2. I see no reason to marry unless there is a lot of money.

      Medusa, I think choosing to love can be fine. But can you choose to trust? I talk to people all the time about trust and love. They say it's impossible to love without trust. But I have done it. It took a long time and it sucks looking over my shoulder. But idk.

      I always wonder if I should go back to the way i used to do it, but I'm happier this way. Someone broke the shit out of me and I'm not sure I lost on this one.

    3. Happier what way? Looking over your shoulder all the time?

      You are being vague.

    4. No, not happier looking over my shoulder. It just is what it is.

      i don't hope for fairy tales anymore. What I don't know, idk, it might not kill me. Also, now I don't allow myself to have someone unless I can take or leave them.

      Looking over my shoulder i don't like at all. If something smells like shit, it's real hard not to, though. But everything smells just a tad bit like there's a diaper genie hiding in some corner of some room. This is my reality atm. It's where i am.

      I've tried on lifestyle after lifestyle, always hoping this one.. yes, this one right here, this is the one that will solve my problems. I'll do it this way...his way. We'll do it together and live happily ever after. It's comfy here. He likes me! I'm happy, aren't i? Look, I'm in looooove wooohoo. Ooooo I hope they don't dump me, because I looooooooooove them. Bullshit. I didn't love them. How could I have possibly loved all of them?

      Now they have to fit in to my life. They want to run with me, they really have to prove it. Or I'll keep on running. They know. I don't have to strong arm. I don't have to say a goddamned thing. I don't have to look at them sideways. They just know. No, not to kiss my feet. THey have to put their money where their mouth is.

      Even when they do, though, it only means I trust for the moment. They can put their money where their lying lips are all they want. They're still only as good as their last move, liar or not.

      Yes. I'm happier this way. For now. I know I sound pissed off and jaded. I'm not at peace like this. But I'm better than before.

    5. anon 9:00 pm

      Thank you Themes.

      And I'm really sorry about sucking the air out of the room here. It's my season. Atleast i dont do it irl anymore. It's a start. <3

    6. Anon 9:00 PM
      You are just being human, not a drag!

    7. Maybe not so much irl then either, then? When i was fucked up, straight out of hosp, i thought i did. My brain does it to my brain. Lots of noise in here.

    8. Yes, me too. You need a place to let things out. I am here to listen <3

    9. that's very nice of you.

      Me too, you?

  5. Has anyone seen "Elegy" ? If so, can they me why they think Ben Kingsley didn't "decide" to be with Penelope Cruz?

  6. Haven had a post with "Fake it Till You Make It" too.


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