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    Dear Anita

    If this is your decision, I will have to respect it.

    The only thing that hurts me is the fact that you make it sound like I did it on purpose and as if intellectual honesty is something I should have been born with.

    I appreciate all the help you gave me. And I apologize if I hurt or offended you in any way.


    Anita, now that you told me about the contradictions in my posts, you made me think more about everything I believe and say. Do you think it’s possible that I have such contradictions in other areas too, like my relationship with my parents? Is it possible that I think they are not the cause to my anxiety while in fact they are? Is it possible that there are things in my past that have triggered my anxiety which I do not remember or would not think of? Or what else could be the reason for my anxiety and these depressive thoughts?

    I don’t want to talk about this with them because I feel they would not understand me and would rather ask me where I got these crazy ideas and would imply that I’m accusing them of not being good parents, which would not help any of us.


    “All in all, well, contradictions, lack of logical continuity. Matthew- please don’t add more contradictions to the mix, I have low tolerance for contradictions.”

    – Anita, I understand hat you don’t like contradictions, I don’t like them either, but to be honest, when you write things like this you are making it sound like I am doing it on purpose, which I hope you know I am totally not. Contradictions are as annoying to me as they are for you.


    Thank you for the nice words about me. I found it interesting that mainly what you wrote was how proud I am for my family. My family is not part of the so-called “elite”, we are neither rich, not powerful, (we actually have a lower financial status than many other families) and I’m aware that people in my family have made mistakes (some even big ones), so it’s far from perfect. Yes, I am glad that my family loves me and supports me, and that they haven’t hurt or cheated people in any ways, but I don’t feel like it’s the best family ever or so, and I don’t like every member of the family.

    “I think that you think very badly of people that you don’t know (and it may be an attitude that was expressed to you by your family), and that you carry a lot of hostility toward those people, particularly the people who you say spend all their time on the streets (I wonder if they are of  a different ethnic group than yours, or if they are merely a lower socio-economic group of people to yours). In other words, I noticed a prejudice against a group  of people that is not based on knowing individuals in that group.”

    – I want to start by clarifying the fact that I am not racist, and I don’t tolerate racism or anything similar to it. It’s true that I have a bad attitude towards the people I referred to, the ones who live in the ghetto, but my attitude is towards those who aggress people and steal, not to the exceptions who don’t.

    In order to avoid further contradiction, let me refresh things:

    – Yes, they are a different ethnic group.

    – In that ethnic group there are people whom I know personally and who are normal, working people, whom I respect and behave nicely with (My criteria has never been race, gender or nationality, but behavior, mentality and actions). But most others don’t want to work, they live on welfare they steal and they defend themselves by being aggressive. It’s something known among people, it’s not just something I came up with. You know, if somebody is aggressive, they are usually given what they want in order to get them silent.

    – My opinion is that they are afraid of those who would be able to beat them up, but they are not afraid of the non-aggressive people, or the slim ones like me and they are not afraid of the police, who doesn’t beat them up, only uses words, because as far as I know a police officer uses physical force against somebody under 18, they would get into trouble.

    – I’ve seen it numerous times happening that older children were disturbing the people in public places and the police was just standing by, or just told them to stop and go away, but without any effect. To be honest, it’s easier for the police to be a by-stander than to try to solve such an issue. And the police here is not like police in the US.

    – the older kid who poured the drink on me was part of the group of those who are known to steal and be violent. He is well known, I even knew his name. He actually used to have a photo at the police station because he was part of so many things. But he was underage so couldn’t be arrested. I didn’t think he might be from the school. My classmates did when I told them, and I decided to see and make sure, but like I thought, it wasn’t him.

    – I am afraid of everybody who seems to be aggressive, because as I said before I am not physically strong or intimidating in any way, and I was never part of a physical fight because I knew I would be the one to lose.


    Is there anything that you think is lacking logic and continuity?



    And now regarding “I wonder if the guilt, shame and regret following you believing that you don’t deserve pleasure/ because you don’t have a girlfriend-  is a a better kind of guilt, shame and regret of the religious kind.”

    – this is a very odd question. I guess, objectively speaking, feeling damned it worse than feeling alone (only a joke). But seriously speaking, I don’t see the change from one guilt to another like a step forward. Why did you ask this question? What were you trying to imply? I’m curious.


    Before I reply, I have a question: by those you call “other people” you mean the people who live in the ghetto and who aggress others on the street?


    Dear Anita,


    “I am not motivated to ask you questions because I don’t trust that I will receive answers close enough to the truth.”

    – What I propose is that we give it another go and I’ll give my best to answer your questions as well and as raw honestly as I can, trying to see things deeper and using more exact terms instead of extreme ones like I tend to. What do you think?


    “ask me questions, if you want to, maybe I will be able to clarify some things for you.” – In this case, there is one question that comes into my mind right now: How do you see me? What can you conclude so far after all we talked about?


    “so, you “managed to get over it” much of the time, but not all  of the time, is what I figure you meant by getting-over-it.”

    – I think that in order to answer this I should offer you the main background of the subject. If you are not comfortable discussing sexual issues just let me know and I will understand. So, at some point while I was in school I discovered masturbation, which I enjoyed doing. I’ve been raised religious and I used to go to confession 2 times a year. One time (I think I was in the 6th grade) at a confession I told the priest about masturbation and watching pornography to which he answered that by doing this I could die and go to hell, that I should never ever do it again if I want to be forgiven, and that I am not worthy of communion, but he will grant me permission only if I promise never to do it again. This has been such a powerful shock to me that it managed to stay deep inside my head (at the beginning consciously, and afterwards unconsciously) for about 10 years. After that I focused on abstaining but I gave in at some point and every time I did it I used to feel extreme guilt and shame for being dirty and sinful. And that feeling of guilt, shame and strong regret that followed immediately after every time I finished has become something like a reflex. I think that the main thing that helped me get over it partially was the fact that over time I realized the difference between faith and religion, because I’ve seen countless events where priests have used religion to gain power by making people feel bad about themselves. So after reading a lot about it on the interned, listening podcasts, etc. I managed to become a little more open about sexuality by telling myself that it can’t be wrong if it’s not excessive and nobody is hurt by it. So I feel that I was able to make the change because I could see clear proof for it.

    Now, regarding the times when I still feel guilty: whenever I’m in a bad mood I start doubting my beliefs. So if I feel down and masturbate, what follows afterwards is a feeling of guilt, shame and regret, but not for considering it a sin, but thinking that I don’t deserve to have that pleasure. And other times, if I feel very lonely (which I very often do) I tell myself that I should be doing this together with somebody, not by myself, but my only and last sexual encounter happened 2 years ago (I was 23 then) and since then I haven’t even been capable of finding anybody to be with me in the last 2 years (unlike many others who have no difficulty in doing so) which creates regret and shame. This lack of intimacy for such a long time makes me feel weak, unwanted, unworthy, confused and sometimes even less of a man.

    If I look at things from a different perspective, I could say that I have always respected women, I have always treated women well and as equals, I have never and would never force a woman into doing anything she doesn’t want, so all this makes me a real and strong man. But what gives me a hard time seeing things this way is the fact that people don’t seem to care much about it. I have seen so many of my peers treating women badly and looking them down who have had lots of girlfriends without even making a tiny effort, while from what I remember I’ve been mostly considered too sensitive or too nice to be attractive.

    I believe you might think about the possibility of me being too picky or too pretentious, so I’ll offer you a “preventive answer”: I don’t think I am. I’m just looking for genuine, respectable, open and honest people whom I can trust, and whom I can have good conversations with, without feeling inferior or disrespected.


    Dear Anita,

    “I felt good when you assured me: “please never think that I am hiding anything on purpose”- thank you.”

    – I may give opposing answers sometimes, but that doesn’t mean I’m ever lying to you. I always tell you what I feel, and the truth is I do feel very confused regarding many things. I am aware that improvement and real solutions can only be found if I don’t hide anything, so I don’t even think about doing that. Anita, I want to tell you again how much I appreciate your help in all this. Thank you.


    “At the time, the image of myself that I saw in the mirror was a shameful, bad, disgusting, unworthy, unlovable, guilty person. Fast forward, I retroactively see the person that I was as good, 100% loving, and lovable and oh, so innocent. (If only I lived so much of my life seeing the latter image, and not the former).”

    – I feel the exact same way! You used the same words as I would have. But, looking at the past and retrospectively seeing myself in a good way doesn’t help me see myself differently in the present. I feel as if I know the theory but I have no idea how to put it into practice. I know it’s ok to have flaws, I know that I am not a bad person, but I still can’t get myself to apply these beliefs onto myself and replace the guilt and unworthiness with confidence.

    The only guilt that I somehow managed to change was the one for sexual pleasure. I used to feel so guilty about any kind of pleasure I’ve given myself for about 10 years. I used to think I was weak and dirty for it. And about 2 years ago I managed to get over it. I still feel guilty and weak sometimes, but it’s usually only when I’m down emotionally.


    Dear Anita,


    Thank you for replying so fast (as usual).


    Regarding the movie, how did the mirror scene help you see reality and yourself the way you are? If it actually made you go out in the world alone something in particular must have a had a huge impact on you, that’s why I’m asking.


    Regarding my answer, again, as I said in my previous reply, “the world outside my home” means other countries, not my hometown (I interpreted “the world” as actually the world). But the fact that I believe I tent to see things differently than they really are, because of my past experience, is still true.

    And as you could see so far I sometimes think or write things that oppose each other. It’s not the first time it happens. Whenever I reply to you I write what I feel in that moment. I don’t know myself and I don’t know all the answers. If I did, this post would not exist.


    You wrote “How can I trust that what you tell me is close enough to the truth when you moved so far from the truth?” – Ever since we began this chat, I’ve been writing my most honest thoughts to you, and I am willing to tell you even my deepest secrets, because I know very well that the point of all this is to be honest. I would never lie to you intentionally, because that would imply lying to myself, so please never think that I am hiding anything on purpose. I always give my best to answer all your questions as well as possible.


    Dear Anita,

    I will begin by replying to the last question, about the contradiction between my two replies: The best answer I can give is that by “the world outside my home” I referred to other places outside my hometown or country (but not just any place, of course). On the other hand, it’s clear that I see my hometown or other similar places as being more dangerous as they actually are. Nevertheless, all I’ve said about those bullies is still true today. I feel that one who is physically strong and brave can face them without problems, and would not describe the place as being dangerous, because even if the law enforcement is not defending them, they know that they can trust their own physical strength. But for someone like me who is not physically strong it’s harder because I personally feel that I cannot rely on either the bullies’ (almost non-existent) fear of the police or my (also non-existent) physical strength to inspire fear inside them. People would tell me to defend myself. But I just can’t imagine that scenario working. The way I see it is that if I hit back I will be hit back even harder and the one suffering the damages will still be me as the bullies would not be punished by the law (or they would not care about being punished).

    If you are not satisfied with my answer, please ask me additional questions.



    In previous posts you wrote:

    “I want you to, take on your emotional learning journey as the leader: show me the way in this journey of yours. You figure out what these quotes mean and what is helpful for you to do next (not just to think, but to do)…… Pick any one quote that makes you feel a particular way, a feeling that calls you to look more into the quote, and respond to that quote, or to part of that quote.”

    “I felt I belonged to the world I was part of”    and    “In kindergarten things were good, I enjoyed playing with others and I felt that they did too with me”    –     maybe the most powerful lines of all. It’s what I’m still confronting with today. I remember feeling accepted and having a sense of belonging. I felt I knew how things worked. I knew that if I do X I will get Y. But now I feel I don’t know how the world works, and I’ve lost that sense of belonging. But I cannot fulfill your second requirement and write what I should do, because I don’t know. I can only tell you what I think. I think I should try to keep looking for my place in the world, and I think I should move away to a different part of the world where I feel I might find it. Sometimes I have moments when I envision the whole thing and I really think I can manage and make it, but then I’m being reminded of this feeling of not being wanted or needed, which takes my hopes and courage away.



    And regarding The Neverending Story:

    I liked the idea and the message of the movie. I especially liked how “the Nothing” represented the lack of imagination, and I think it can be extended to lack of hope, lack of people doing things they want and like. It’s a very powerful element, which I often see around me, because so many people give up all the things that they like or want in order to adhere to a lifestyle that actually takes away the beauty of life.

    I’m curious what in the movie has had such a strong influence on you that it managed to motivate you to begin your journey?


    Dear Anita,

    I apologize for being absent for such a long time. I was busy with some things and I also wanted to write back to you after I watch Never Ending Story, which I still haven’t done, but will soon. So after I watch the movie I will write a new post with answers to all unanswered questions.

    In the mean time, I would like to recommend you the movie Brooklyn (2015). I liked its perspective and message. I think you will too.

    I’ll be back soon, and thank you!

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by Matthew.

    Dear Anita,


    In the last paragraph of your last reply you asked me to “figure out what these quotes mean and what is helpful” for me to do next. (referring to the quotes you pasted in the reply from previous posts of yours and mine).

    I know the movie. I haven’t watched it yet, but I know it’s soundtrack, which I really like. Now that you told me about how much the movie influenced you I will watch it. I have absolutely nothing against old movies and music. I actually prefer older music (and sometimes movies too). After I watch it I will write you what I think and what it made me feel.

    Thank you!


    Dear Anita,


    During the last two weeks many things happened and I either didn’t have the time or I forgot to reply. But now I’m back.

    “I want you to, take  on your emotional learning journey as the leader: show me the way in this journey of yours. You figure out what these quotes mean and what is helpful  for you to  do next (not just to think, but to do).”

    I would like to ask for a clarification. Do you want me to figure out what each of the quotes means in particular or all together as a whole?


    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for your reply, which was very clear and to the point, like always. You are a very wise and kind person. (the perfect combination)

    Maybe you will say this is a stupid question, but I’m very serious about it: at my age (25) is it normal for me to feel bad for leaving my parents or it would rather be normal if I couldn’t wait to do it?

    I’ve separated from my family a few times for longer periods (half a year and a year) and each time the first few days were hard and them I got used to my “new life” and I moved forward. I worked, I studied, I traveled and I managed by myself. But I was not able to fill that space with other things like a relationship or real friends. I was neither valued for my skills by others, like I had told you in previous posts, which altogether increase the number of reasons why I don’t have faith in the fact that things would be any different in the future.

    My conclusion is similar to yours, but I would build some more onto it: I totally agree with your opinion, that I am afraid of separating from my childhood and entering adulthood, but I would say it’s mostly because I don’t feel I can compensate for the emptiness that will be left inside me. I feel like I lost faith in the world, in the way it works and in what it offers. I think that if I knew that I was able to find genuine people and if I knew I objectively represented value to the world, things would be much easier because I could see that I am leaving a “good place” (my home, my family), but I am going to another “good place” instead. And by “place” I don’t necessarily mean physical space. If I am not valued for who I am, for the way I think, behave and act, or for what I am good at, I really don’t know what else there is that I am missing and that I could be valued for.


    Hello Anita,

    Thank you for your patience. Many things have happened during the last two weeks and I didn’t feel like writing. But now I’m back.


    I still have an archive screenshot of my earlier post, that I kept for revision. I looked over everything and here is my answer:

    Things I wasn’t aware of before, but became aware as a result of our communication:

    1. I believe way too much in what movies tell us, and think accordingly.
    2. You told me that you thought I wasn’t losing myself or selling my soul if I open up myself more and try to do other things than the ones I liked so far. This helped me a lot. I remember that reading your reply made me feel so much better back then. You wrote me “We often enjoy what we are good at.” A person I respect a lot has also told me something similar recently. She said: “If you have a choice between what you like and what you’re good at, choose what you’re good at. When what you like is an occupation, you don’t like it anymore.” And I can say that I almost agree with this point of view, let’s say 86.47%, because there still are many people who love what they do, even if it’s their occupation.
    3. The bullies from school and the fact that I’ve never confronted them have had a great impact on the way I see myself and the way I react to things happening around me and with me.
    4. My parents haven’t managed to teach me to stand up for myself.
    5. Financial or professional success will not lead me to have a better experience of life.


    Things I was aware of before, but got to be more aware as a result of our communication:

    1. I don’t love myself. I’ve always known this.
    2. I don’t trust myself/I don’t believe in myself.
    3. I really live too much in the past, and I am full of very strong regrets and “what if”s, which lead me nowhere.
    4. I need to be my own best friend, and act accordingly.
    5. I need to jump over unknown cracks in order to grow.
    6. I have been having the same problems over the past years, and this shows the fact that I still haven’t managed to solve them. I’m on the point of planning my moving to a different country and one of the first things I worry about is how others will like and accept me because I don’t see myself as being equal to others (meaning that I feel inferior). And deep down I feel that I would change myself only to be accepted, which I know is not ok.


    And I think you won’t mind if I add something that I feel right now:

    Last week a person I respected and loved passed away and he was not old. This, along with the possible changes that are about to take place in my life (moving away to a different country) have made me ask myself what really matters in life, and I think a lot about the fact that life is so short and things happen in the most unexpected moments and ways. We spend our precious time worrying and overthinking instead of enjoying the moments with our loved ones, and we inevitably always realize all this when it’s too late. Sometimes I feel extremely sad and I cry thinking about the future, thinking about the fact that one day I will lose my family, whom I love so much, (I’m terrified of the possibility that when I leave it will be the last time I see my grandmother, or even worse, my parents, as life shows us that we never know what tomorrow brings… I’m actually crying right now while writing this) and other times I feel optimistic about my future and I believe in myself. These states can alter in a matter of minutes.

    I am aware of the fact that if things will go well it won’t be nearly as bad as I imagine because my life will move forward. I know that video chat exists, and it will enable me to stay in touch with everybody. I know that a relative of ours who has moved far away when he was young doesn’t regret his decision and we are always happy when we meet (once a year for a few days), I know that everybody has to life their own life and do what is best for them. I know that one day I will be the parent or grandparent of somebody which means that I have to build my own life, but all this is still very tough. I know I am not a weak person for having these feelings, even though it feels so, just a sensitive and emotional person, which I believe is ok, beautiful and natural.

    I think I am not afraid of failing. I am afraid of change. I am actually afraid of advancing in life and moving on. Maybe this can be applied to my other problems too? I am afraid of believing in myself and becoming confident? I am afraid of hopping onto the train that I’ve been waiting for in the station because that would mean that I am never returning to that station? I feel that it’s all liked like in a chain. I’m afraid to leave the station because I am not sure that the next station will offer me something better, something that it’s worth leaving my actual status for. If this is indeed what lies behind my problems, what’s the solution? Is it as simple as “Just do it”? Ignoring all the pain involved and moving forward without looking back?


    Life and living seem so very hard when you actually realize that no moment will ever repeat itself and we waste so much of our time.


    Thank you for “listening” to me, Anita. It means a lot.


    Anita, I apologise, but now that I think about it, I feel I exaggerated when I said that I felt the same kind of power. I replied too fast, without analyzing it. I didn’t intend to confuse you.

    One situation I thought about was when I worked in a children’s playhouse and a child was too little to play in a particular game. When I told him that his father became angry and he started raising his voice at me, but I just told him that it’s not allowed and that’s it. He later came to appologise for his behaviour and thanked me for doing my job.

    I felt proud for what I’d done, but it’s not really a big deal. It was rather about doing the right thing without being in any kind of danger, than standing up for myself, and it actually does not compare with my event with the bully. So the truth is that I haven’t had an experience equivalent to that one in which I won.

    I am over 25 and even little kids who are the same kind of bullies are aggressive with me (and with others too) on the street. One time, around 5 years ago I was riding the bicycle and a child (I guess around 10 years old) wanted to hit me with a bag that he was holding. I was lucky for having had a fast reflex and bent down (thank God for the amazing way the human body behaves when in danger), otherwise I would have fallen off the bike and maybe even injured myself. I must have a look or a face that emits vulnerabilty to these people. Other times they just do that thing when they want to scare you by pretending they want to hit you with a fast move and, of course, I defend myself by reflex. Then they just laugh. What am I supposed to do? If I told them anything they would just beat me up. Last year I was walking with my parents in the center of the city and one boy was coming with the bicycle very fast facing us and when he was close he quickly turned in order to scare me and make us think he was going to hit me. I still can’t see any way out of these events.

    So I don’t know how I can actually get into such a situation in which I can stand up for myself and win.


    “You need an experience equivalent to asserting yourself with the bully who poured the drink on you years ago. You need to feel that kind of power, and you can’t feel it, and you can’t believe that you have that power, until you experience it in action.”

    But I’ve already felt that kind of power, only very few times, maybe once or twice, when I felt I did the right thing and was able to stand up for something. But I think that it needs to become a pattern in order for a change to make place.

    Same goes with people. I’ve found and met people who respected me and whom I felt good with, and who contacted me and wanted to meet me without me initiating it, but it’s still not a pattern. And all of them live in a different places, so I am not able to meet them regularly.

    I believe what you said in the beginning, that change will happen through time if I don’t give up, and one day I will realize that I have changed. It’s just that I feel way behind others my age who haven’t had this social anxiety and social fear, and I’m often afraid that because of these I will never be able to fully reach the “normal” level. The truth is that I can do it with certain people, who respect me for who I am, but with others, with new people I still feel that I’m hiding myself and I’m afraid to show myself to them.

    For example here is how I see things how: if I were at an event, let’s say a smaller party, and I saw a girl that I liked, I would have absolutely no idea what to say to her. I would just shake and I would not even be able to talk clearly. And even if we have a 5 minute conversation, she would leave me afterwards and go to other boys who are more “interesting and fun”.

    I remember one time 4 years ago when I was at a student party and I saw a girl that I liked and as nobody knew me there, I decided to go against my fears and go dance with her. We did dance a little, then she told me she was going outside and will come back, and she never came back. I just kept looking for her like a child. And then I found out that afterwards she danced with 3 other guys all of whom she kissed while dancing. And, honestly, this is something I have never done and I don’t regard to as an achievement or anything like that, but I kept wondering why she had left me there and why she had kissed all other boys and not me.

    This was my only experience of this kind, and as you can imagine, it didn’t encourage me to believe I was attractive.

    I keep asking myself whether the problem is with me, or rather with me almost always having been in the wrong places with the wrong people.

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