A date with a coworker felt like a bright spot in 2020 (and maybe it was)?

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    Dear Ryan:

    I am still puzzled by your frequent practice of adding short and long texts sent to you by romantic interests/ girlfriends, texts in which they express their innermost personal thoughts and experiences as well as intensely praising you in a flowery language (not in plain, simple language), a practice you started in your very first post, August 2, 2020.

    In that first post, you included an intensely praising,  flowery-language text that an ex-girlfriend sent you a few years prior to the date of your first post. The text reads in part: “If there were words in the English language to express how amazing you are, what a light in my day/life you are, and just how damn near perfect you are then I might come close to describing how much you mean to me…  please don’t find it so hard to believe that someone could be so overwhelmingly fond of you”.

    The same woman, in an over 6,000 words text, shared with you her innermost thoughts and feelings years before you posted it on Aug 3 2020, it reads in part: “Much like you, when I can’t handle things anymore I shut down/clam up and retract to my cave.  Also, much like you, I don’t always let people in. ..I’ve learned to protect myself and rebuild my walls once I start seeing red flags“. On Sept 5 2020, you posted another text from the same woman from years before. In part it reads: “Im just always kept within arm’s reach of relationships.. I don’t get it. I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. What I do wrong. Mentally I’d rather be alone. Physically I can’t stand being alone… I’ve wanted to be that couple that looks back at 60 years of marriage since I was a kid. And it won’t happen. Ever. And I’m tired of trying. Tired of waiting. Tired of failing. Tired of dreaming. It’s just not meant for some people and I think I’m some people“.

    You posted the  most recent text/s from your current romantic interest/ girlfriend this month, Oct 4 2021. In a text, she too is intensely praising you, using flowery language: “You are absolutely wonderful and kind. When I’m with you I am a different person. Happy and peaceful and life is wonderful. I thank you for that.. It could be a book… ‘One Magic Summer’. Two lost souls came together and experienced bliss for short time.. I don’t want to imagine my small world without you in it“.

    And she too shared about her innermost thoughts and feelings: “I’m never good enough. I don’t know what it is that makes me unlovable”, etc.

    The above are only a few examples from your three threads, there are many more. Here is what’s puzzling:

    (1) It is disrespectful to violate the privacy of these women by copying and pasting their private, confidential messages that were meant only for you to read- pasting these, without the women’s permission,  on a public forum for the .. public to read. You shared many personal details about yourself and about them, and either one of the women, or someone who knows them, might recognize who they are and read what was meant to be read only by you. It puzzles me that you don’t seem to have this concern regarding their privacy and that you don’t seem to be aware or concerned about violating their privacy.

    (2) You said most recently, when I brought up the topic, that you shared their texts/ emails so to provide context (” I only insert copies of their text messages here for a bit of context. I try to give their side of my interpretation of our relationship.. it paints a better picture than the one-sided picture I could paint alone”, Oct 4)… but to whom are you trying to provide context and to whom is the picture meant? Here on a public forum, you are not posting to a professional psychoanalyst or a group of professional psychoanalysts who are able and willing to use the women’s texts so to form a more comprehensive, thorough professional analysis of you, a correct psychoanalytical picture of you. On a public forum, anyone and everyone who has an email address can participate in your thread. It is as if you are throwing the women’s personal thoughts and feelings into the street for any passerby to read and integrate their texts  into a (very non-professional) comprehensive understanding of you.

    “I  write here to journal”, you wrote Oct 4. But their texts are not you journaling…

    (3) It seems like you save voluminous texts and emails sent to you over the years. You save not only their emails to you, but your emails to them, one was an almost 20,000 words text (I counted!). I imagine that it would be impossible to access a particular saved email in the years-long collection of such unless you use a sorting/ categorizing Word program, so that you can access emails by month, year, sender, and content of email. The sheer volume of supposed saved emails is mind boggling.

    (4)   the women sending you these long, personal messages are supposedly professional women, one is a mother… when do they have the time to write such long texts for you.. and why do these women choose to express their innermost thoughts and feelings, as well as praise you- on text when you are available to them in-person, or on the phone: why not speak to you, say these things looking into your eyes, hearing your responses right there and then, on the phone or in-person.. why on text.. It is as if they do not have the opportunity to do so  on the phone or in-person.

    (5) The women sound alike.  And when they share about their private thoughts and feelings.. the content of what they share is very similar to what you shared about your own thoughts and feelings outside their texts. When I suggested to you the other day that they read alike and that you authored their texts, you almost agreed with me: “I can see how you would be skeptical.. I can see how they read like they could have been authored by the same individual… I can understand your suspicions“. You  did not refute my suspicion that you authored all those texts. Instead you refuted my suspicion that you were writing a book: “I can assure you that I am not writing a book“. You also wrote to me that your posts are genuine, and you added: “Your identification of this has me a bit shaken, as it was something I did not realize“.

    I believe that you told the truth: that indeed you are not writing a book, and I think that in your posts you genuinely express yourself, but I do suspect that you authored the texts supposedly sent to you by the women in your life. I think that the reason you almost agreed with me is that you know, or partly know that what I claimed is true.. . Perhaps you were already confronted on the matter and heard others suspect the same.

    On Feb 21 2021, you described your state of mind and life most accurately: “This was often how I spent my life: Trying to find people or experiences to fill the void inside me…  originated from the distance my mother kept with me“- I think that the women speaking through the texts  are these people and experiences you use to fill the void inside you.

    Previously in your threads, you shared about your emotional experience of life (in boldface are your words): You have fleeting moments of happiness, but largely feel mirthless. Joy is a rare emotionNearly always no joy. You are Emotionally withdrawn. You feel flat and you remain flat, experiencing an emotional monotone. There are walls of disconnect and withdrawal around youYou are in the habit of keeping (your) feelings and emotions at a distance. You are emotionally cool. Truly most of (your) life has been without passions, hobbies, or really dreams at all. You are often frustrated and irritable and only want the next day to arrive to restart. 

    In your post before last, on Oct 7 2021, you wrote:  “In 2017, I paid for a psychological evaluation.. and a diagnostic interview. The doctor’s findings corresponded with those of my counselors: That I needed to learn and implement coping skills to deal with depression and anxiety. What is pertinent to this post is this clause from the report: “[His] behaviors of closing himself off from the world has protected him and hindering him at the same time. Caution should be taken when addressing [his] emotional vulnerability since he cannot tolerate a lot of emotional risk, confrontation, or risk letting anyone see his true self<b>.</b>”

    What was said in boldface above, assuming it is indeed a real professional input, in combination with what you shared above, leads me to think that a man so enclosed within walls, so flat, so hindered..  is not capable of close, emotional relationships. I don’t think that women are likely to fall in love so deeply with a man so closed off, so flat and withdrawn, as is suggested in their texts. Just as they are not likely to express such deep feelings strictly in texts, so it seems, and on a regular basis- in texts.

    Maybe these women do exist in real life, but not in the context of your personal life, not to the extent described in your posts and in their supposed texts. But I don’t think that you lied about anything really. I am not a professional of any kind, and this is not a professional setting. And so, as a non-professional with online access to mental health information that is available to the public, the  only way I can explain all this is to consider that you suffer from a Delusional Disorder. The diagnostic criteria exists in the DSM-5 and is goog-able.

    Wikipedia on Delusional disorder: “Delusions can be bizarre or non-bizarre in content; non-bizarre delusions are fixed false beliefs that involve situations that could occur in real life… The delusions are logically constructed and internally consistent.. The delusions do not interfere with general logical reasoning… For the diagnosis to be made, auditory and visual hallucinations cannot be prominent.. A person with delusional disorder may be high functioning in daily life”. “mean age of onset: 40”

    psychology today:  “If a person has delusional disorder, functioning is generally not impaired and behavior is not obviously odd, with the exception of the delusion. Delusions may seem believable at face value, and patients may appear normal as long as an outsider does not touch upon their delusional themes… Type of delusional disorder: Erotomanic: An individual believes that a person, usually of higher social standing, is in love with him or her…Grandiose: An individual believes that he or she has some great but unrecognized talent or insight, a special identity, knowledge, power, self-worth… in general, people with delusional disorder are not able to accept that their delusions are irrational or inaccurate, even if they are able to recognize that other people would describe their delusions this way…some studies suggest that people develop delusions as a way to manage extreme stress or deal with a history of trauma”.

    In summary: on the topic of delusional disorder, everything in the DSM-5 quote available  online and in what I quoted above from Wikipedia and psychology today fits you, Ryan. Two types of the non-bizarre delusions are erotomania and the other is grandiosity. You believe that women are head over heel in love with him (erotomania), and you repeatedly expressed a feeling of superiority over women and over men,  and you added texts that praise you intensely (grandiosity).

    I know that most of us, if not all of us, believe things that are not true, that is, we are deluded about the people  in our lives, not seeing them exactly as they are. We are deluded about ourselves, not seeing clearly what motivates us and what scares us most.. we  believe in religions and political misinformation that to others are clearly delusional, and so on. I suppose we people are all on the delusional spectrum.

    I want to add another post later, so to close my days-long study of your threads. I don’t think that anything I wrote can hurt you, nor do I think that it can help you (and I am quite confident that you will disagree with what I wrote here), but maybe..  just a bit of a maybe, what I write here means something that is helpful to whom I refer to as the silent reader, a person who may be reading this out there, on the other side of my screen.



    Dear Ryan:

    On September 5 2020, you started your original post in your second thread, Treading water, with (the boldface feature is my addition): “‘You are beyond words the best person that has walked into my life besides my son.” –My ex, September 2018″

    On September 10 2020, you started your 9th post in Treading water with: “Hi Anita, ‘You are beyond words. The best person that has walked into my life besides my son.’ -My ex, Sep 30, 2018″.

    April 25 2021, in your current thread, you wrote: “I think my issue is more that I feel a sense of guilt/shame when I hurt or disappoint women. It feels as though women see me as something that I may not always be: A good man or a better man than most. I try to live up to their expectancies but often don’t. I’m sure some of it can be traced back to not wanting to disappoint my mother, but I honestly do not know”-

    -I do know, if I may say so: a mother is so very powerful in her boy’s (and girl’s) life.. it’s almost criminal, that she has so much power. So much power that when she tells her boy that he is less-than, that he is not good-enough, his lifetime goal becomes to be more-than, better than anyone.. the best!

    What if good-enough is indeed good enough (if only you got this message early!), and therefore, being the best .. is not needed.

    This is all I have to say and this is my last post in any of your threads, past and future. The reason it is my last post is that I have nothing more to say, neither do I want to say anything more. If you find what I wrote in this very short post meaningful, then it is the best that I can ever say to you.


    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by anita.

    Dear TeaK,

    Apologies for the delay in replying… Anita’s reply truly shook me. I considered deleting this thread–out of privacy concerns for my ex’s–or just closing/deleting my TB account. It was never my intention to violate their privacy, as I thought that any chance of them finding this thread was slim to none since I did not use my normal email address when registering for this website. While I used an email created specifically for the TB forums, this site felt like a safe space free of judgement. Instead, I feel my writing here comes across, if not unauthentic, questionable and rife with lies. Doubts and suspicions of the authenticity of my posts here may be due to my inabilities as a writer to really explore myself beyond the analytical. If these texts from these women read similar, then that falls on me for dating perhaps the same type of woman. This isn’t braggadocio but just how it feels to me. I am not a serial dater. That’s never been a need or want from me. However, I think, perhaps, I allowed my loneliness to hold onto relationships far longer than I should have. My ex’s saw something in me they may have fallen love with when I did not see it myself.

    I KNOW that I am the “problem” in relationships. I have dated some amazing women, who would gladly share their life with me. Who would be supportive, giving, loving, etc. Unfortunately, I rarely if ever feel that with anyone in my life. I have discussed my lack of empathy and lack of feelings of love in therapy; however, I have yet to find a counselor who can truly help guide me. The one I saw last year, I selected him specifically because he also does hypnotherapy. I hoped he could unlock some memories from my childhood that may be have hindered my emotional growth. Unfortunately, he decides that hypnotherapy was unnecessary, and while I have very few memories of childhood, that I needed to continue to work with the CBT/DBT I’ve had and essentially move on.

    I do not believe that I have a “Delusional Disorder.” While I may come across as an egomaniac, I know what these woman felt for me. I have records in the form of emails and text messages, and the pain the expressed when it was over. I should not have entered into a serious relationship with them. I should not have allowed loneliness to push me to companionship when I was/am still too self-centered to truly love someone. I don’t think that I am “the best” man. I am selfish, unfulfilled, and empty, and having a partner only adds to my distress–even when they try so hard to help.

    That “little boy” lives far away now. While his mother and I still text on occasion, I gave up trying to be a part of his life. I called and FaceTimes for about a year after he left, but his mother has become involved with someone new, so I was relegated to the back burner. I’ll always be a piece of his social network, but my importance has waned.

    I know that, deep down, I am filled with sadness and pain. I have never found out why. 15 years have passed since I first walked into a therapists office, and while I’ve learned techniques to manage my depression, I’ve never been able to find it’s possible emotional roots. Nearly every day is a struggle for me and I do not have a lot of hope or trust that things will improve in the future.



    Dear Ryan,

    welcome back, good to hear from you! How did the move go? Are you satisfied with your new job?

    As I said, I don’t question your words, I trust that you wouldn’t invent these things, but that truly, the women you are attracted to are quite similar (perhaps professionally successful, but emotionally insecure, with low self-esteem, sometimes depressed). And that they see you as a great guy, but you don’t see yourself as one, and after a while you leave.

    The other problem seems to be that you can’t seem to get to the root of your emotional problems (specially “lack of empathy and lack of feelings of love”), and that you don’t recall anything disturbing from your childhood, which might have led to those problems:

    I am filled with sadness and pain. I have never found out why. 15 years have passed since I first walked into a therapists office, and while I’ve learned techniques to manage my depression, I’ve never been able to find it’s possible emotional roots.

    I hoped he could unlock some memories from my childhood that may be have hindered my emotional growth.

    Do you really not recall any instances where you felt hurt by either of your parents? Or where you felt scared, or misunderstood, or treated unfairly? Do you remember your childhood pretty well, or do you feel there are large parts missing and you don’t have memory of it?


    Dear Teak,

    Thank you for the warm welcome. I have yet to move–the cost of living here is a fraction of what it will be where I’m going. However, we are mandated to return to the office in mid-January, so I’ll be moving shortly after the new year.

    I am apprehensive about the job, as it is not truly that fulfilling. While there is an organizational/administrative aspect to it, there is not much of any room for “giving back.” However, I do realize there is a lot to learn, and it will be more beneficial to become proficient at the job as the years go on. And I am hopeful that living near a big city will present more opportunities for social and volunteer activities.

    Regarding my parents, my father was and is very warm and generous. My sister is a direct recipient of that now as she recovers from her addictions. My mother was always a bit emotionally distant. She rarely spoke of her feelings or her emotions. We (my sister and I) did feel that things were often left undiscussed. What I mean is that if something we did upset her, we would talk about it but then that was it. She would speak her mind, and we could speak ours, but it never go too deep. (I know that I’m not articulating as best as I should be here.)

    I do recall one instance of her making fun of me in front of my friends. I was probably about 12-years-old and we were headed for a bike ride around the neighborhood. I had issues with my bike chain or something and I was getting upset because I couldn’t get it fixed. I recall my mother making fun of the pity party I was throwing for myself and my friends laughing. Other than being embarrassed and angry, not much more is clear. From what I recall, the bike chain was fixed and we all went for a ride. That is my most glaring memory of my mother treating me like a mother shouldn’t.

    There are large parts of my childhood I simply do not remember. My sister and I will chat sometimes, and she will bring up something that happened when we were kids. Often I just do not remember the event at all. I have no idea why. I’ve brought these memory lapses up with counselors, and the response I most often get is it’s symptomatic of depression. This is why I was intrigued by the counselor who was also a hypnotist.



    Dear Ryan,

    you are welcome. I hope you do find some benefits at your new workplace, and indeed, more possibilities for socializing and doing the things you like, such as volunteering.

    There are large parts of my childhood I simply do not remember. My sister and I will chat sometimes, and she will bring up something that happened when we were kids. Often I just do not remember the event at all.

    We usually remember things that emotionally affected us in some way, be it negatively or positively, so I guess if you don’t remember too much, you weren’t emotionally invested in a lot of what was going on in your childhood. Perhaps because you were disassociating, i.e. not really feeling your emotions already then?

    My mother was always a bit emotionally distant. She rarely spoke of her feelings or her emotions. We (my sister and I) did feel that things were often left undiscussed. What I mean is that if something we did upset her, we would talk about it but then that was it. She would speak her mind, and we could speak ours, but it never go too deep. (I know that I’m not articulating as best as I should be here.)

    You mother didn’t show emotions to you – that could mean she didn’t show joy while she was around you, taking care of you, spending time with you, playing with you. If the mother is cold and detached and doesn’t show warmth and tenderness, that can be devastating for a child. It registers as rejection – and it could lead to you concluding you aren’t good enough and there’s something wrong with you. And you stopped reaching out, because your mother wasn’t responsive. It can easily lead to depression because when our parents aren’t happy that we exist, then nothing really makes sense, there’s nothing to look forward to, there’s nothing that can bring us joy…

    That’s why games like peekaboo are so important, because the parent rejoices every time he/she “reappears”, they are so happy to see us. If your mother didn’t really play with you, this could have very well caused depression quite early on…

    If that’s the problem, it can be resolved, by simulating being a baby and playing peekaboo, e.g. with a therapist open to such exercises. CBT won’t do the trick if the wounding happened early on, before the rational brain (neocortex) even started developing.


    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by TeaK.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by TeaK.

    Date with coworker that will be like an affair in the office, so exciting! If your company allow that, let others know your relationship.

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