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tinyfaery's avatar

Is it possible that I really do not know a thing about myself?

Asked by tinyfaery (35608 points ) December 3rd, 2012

When people meet me they think I am nice and polite, and I am for the most part, but I see myself a shy and awkward and a bit of a loud-mouth when it comes to addressing people’s ridiculous ideas and beliefs. I am no good at small talk, but people say I am friendly.

When people know me for awhile, they think I am generous, helpful and funny. I’ve even been called “Sunshine” by a past co-worker. Sunshine? Really? I see myself as dark, twisted and brutally honest. (This nickname prompted me to buy a button that says Little Miss Fucking Sunshine.

Everyone I meet thinks I’m funny, but I am hardly ever trying to be funny. My dark and absurd comments about the world, people and existence in general seem funny to people.

Is it possible that I have become so adept at hiding who I really am that no one can see through that barrier or do I totally lack self-awareness? How can others see me as something I cannot even fathom?

I find this confusing and unsettling. I don’t want people to see me as something I am not.

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28 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I think most likely you are all those things. All the things you named from how you think of yourself to how people see you. Maybe you put on a little show in public, but I doubt it is mostly show. You said you don’t even try to be funny and people think you are. So, if you are not trying it can’t be an act. You are smart, articulate, beautiful, and honest. Honest can come across as confident, which people are drawn to.

You say you are accustomed to hiding yourself, do you still hide yourself?

Maybe you are just evolving, and it is taking you some time to adjust in your mind to identies that did not fit previously?

Jussange's avatar

I second @JLeslie that you are probably all these things, just that in the presence of others a) you tend to focus on certain attributes that others may find appealing or b) others are ignorant/unwilling to believe how dark one can be and may then translate your behavior as humorously cynical in a well meaning way. So either you’re wearing a mask in front of them and may be a bit unaware of the fact or they’re wearing rose tinted glasses and think you shit gumdrops and fart rainbows. Oh the lengths people will go to see the world as they’d like it instead of as it is. Oh well.

wundayatta's avatar

Yeah. Sucks, doesn’t it? All along you think you are dark and twisted and then people tell you you are funny. Funny???? I know your pain, though. I discovered I was funny the same way. Only I was a bit older than you are.

Anyway, you know yourself from the inside. Other people know you from their experience of you. I think the lesson here is that your experience of yourself is not the same as other people’s experience of you. However, if it makes you feel any better, your self-description seems pretty apt as far as how you present yourself here. It could be that you are dark and twisted online, but sweet and funny in real life.

Or it could be that your experience of you is true, and so is other people’s experience of you. Wouldn’t that be a kind of LA thing?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
gailcalled's avatar

In the arena where I needed help, desperately, you were always “generous, helpful and funny.”

However, Milo says you were indeed ” dark, twisted and brutally honest.”

So, same household, same issue, two disparate points of view.

cookieman's avatar

Through high-school, I saw myself as dark and twisted and serious. Black trenchcoat and all. Then I went to art college in the city and realized I had no idea what dark was.

Later, in my thirties, I thought of myself as fun and hip. As I soon learned from my students, I was far from hip, and even seen as scary.

Point is, I’m convinced that the inner you and the outer you can be different, but both still be true. It’s all a matter of perception.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Perhaps like Wundayatta, you just have a unique personality that people take different ways. I have a coworker whom everybody thinks is a beeyotch but she is just frustrated at other people’s incompetence. Different perceptions.

fremen_warrior's avatar

@tinyfaery people assume a lot about others, and everybody does it, it is normal. You probably can never really see how you are seen by others. Just like your voice seems so different when you hear a recording of it, same thing would happen if someone secretly filmed you the whole day and later on played you the tape. You would most probably be thinking “I did WHAT?!” ;-)

In the end you are lucky people see your “good” side unlike for instance @KNOWITALL ‘s coworker. I remember a few times when I was seen as an utter a**hole though in my mind I honestly thought I was being kind and compassionate. Self discovery is a bumpy ride albeit an interesting one, and quite important in my opinion if you want to grow.

It is good you realize this dissonance between who people think you are and who you see yourself as. Contrast is good, and somewhere inbetween those two pictures is the “real” you. Also, like @JLeslie said, you are all those things, plus a lot more. I would say be happy you are more complex than you thought you could be, and run with it :-)

flutherother's avatar

If your public persona comes naturally and isn’t an act then I wouldn’t worry. Your image of yourself is formed in childhood and may differ from how others see you now even though you haven’t changed as a person.

LostInParadise's avatar

As the saying goes, It is not what you say but how you say it. If you can say dark things with a smile in your voice, people will pick up on that and use it to interpret your words.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I would trust you over how others view you. But, as we say sociology, one’s self is constructed through how others agree or do not agree with what we think about ourselves (Cooley’s Looking Glass Self concept). So if there is dissonance between how you see yourself and how you think others see yourself, you might feel kind of weird about it.

marinelife's avatar

You have one way of looking at yourself (which seems very negative just reading it objectively) and others have their way of seeing you. The truth is probably somewhere in between. It would not hurt for you to open up to the idea of being generous and friendly.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I had a coworker who’s mantra was “Perception is reality.”

I’m not sure how that applies in your case but I’m pretty sure it does.

CWOTUS's avatar

If you consider yourself to be “shy and awkward” (which may be a perfectly apt description), then just saying something that is perfectly obvious in a perfectly ordinary (to the rest of the world) voice might seem to you like “brutal honesty from a loud-mouth”. Surely that must have occurred to you?

So, no, I don’t think you’re really hiding anything, except your consideration of “how others perceive you” can certainly be at odds with your self-perception.

And aside from that, it is not only “possible” but “likely” that we don’t know ourselves as well as we think we do sometimes. And can’t always present that very accurately even when we do.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

” The truth is probably somewhere in between.”

I’ve met you and I believe that it is. There is a dark/sad side, but there is also a vulnerable, softhearted side. I’ve seen that side.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I love the “brutally honest, tell it like it is I won’t put up with your shit” side.

I also love the caring (for a friend), empathetic, and fun side of you.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

You say that you’re no good at small talk, yet people describe you as friendly. You consider yourself to be dark and twisted, yet people find you pleasant and feel good when they’re with you.

I hate to give you such an unfortunate diagnosis, but I think that you just might be a genuinely nice, likeable person. What a burden! What a curse!

Mama_Cakes's avatar

She’s talkative and hell of a lot of fun when she knows you and feels comfortable with you.

Response moderated (Off-Topic)
rooeytoo's avatar

I don’t see why you care how others perceive you. It sounds from what you write that you want to be seen as a miserable bitch and you are sort of upset that people don’t see you that way???
A shrink told me years ago that I am brutally honest, and I have concluded it is not necessarily a good thing or a good way to be. You know the Jack Nicholson line, “You can’t handle the truth” is the way most people are. Perhaps even you, you don’t want to handle the truth about yourself. When you see yourself as a miserable bitch then it is not a problem if others see you the same way. But you risk defeat and failure if you present yourself or at least you think you present yourself as a nice person and then someone calls you a miserable bitch because you are being brutally honest. I used to feel it was safer to be hateful than to risk failure at making nice. Now it depends on my mood which way I go.

In our exchanges, when we have disagreed which is the usual, you have been rude and sarcastic to me. I don’t like that but I think you have a good heart, it just seems as if you didn’t give a damn if you hurt my feelings. It also reeks of the arrogance of thinking there is no way other than your own. And makes you superior to those who don’t share your views. To me such actions appear to be defense mechanisms, at least that is what they are when I use them. But maybe you are more brutally honest in here than you are in RL. I often figure with certain people, if we met face to face, we would find we have a lot more in common than is evident here and we would probably become friends who could at least accept the others differing opinions.

No matter what, I still go back to my original question, why do you care what others think?

augustlan's avatar

It’s probably not that you don’t know yourself, just that you are not acknowledging all of yourself. Since you have a rather dark outlook on life in general (caused by depression?), perhaps you view yourself through that same ‘eye’, seeing only the dark parts of yourself. I know that when I’m struggling with depression, I think of myself in far more negative ways than I do when I am reasonably happy. When I’m doing well, I can still see all my faults, but I can also see my good points, you know?

tinyfaery's avatar

I don’t see myself as a miserable bitch, but now I know how you see me.

I guess it’s that I hear my inner monologue. I know what’s behind the jokes. I feel the anxiety that comes when I feel like a total outsider. I lean towards nihilism when I’m going through a dark time.

The idea that others can perceive me as friendly and funny surprises the hell out of me.

My therapist once told me that everyone has to run the gauntlet to get anywhere near me, emotionally or in any way, really. She also said it’s worth it. So that’s nice.

I embrace that I can be all of those things, but I know that a lot of me will always live in a dark meaningless place.

Thanks to most of you for being honest and non-judgmental with me.

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Mama_Cakes's avatar

Sometimes, people don’t realize how wonderful they are.

Tinyfaery is a person with a lot of depth (I love that about her). I’ve gotten to know her a bit and she’s most definitely worth it.

gailcalled's avatar

@tinyfaery: Milo here; Forget all those ingratiating comments above.I am your most severe judge, remember that. But it is richly deserved.

Look how you have periodically upset my life of leisure, my gourmet meals, my lavish recreational plans and then forced exercise and pedicures on me, in a singularly humiliating manner.

Come visit and I’ll show you what “running the gauntlet” really means. Max, Bentley, Betty, Loretta and Leo are waiting in the wings, nails unclipped. Say the word.

Bill1939's avatar

@Mama_Cakes is right. We are our own worst critic, and seldom recognize the virtues we have and how we are valued by others.

Nullo's avatar

Perception can be tricky. I figure myself a (mostly) cheerful, open person, yet somehow my supervisor thinks that I’m just shy of get-a-shrink crazy and gets nervous when I’m upset.

cheebdragon's avatar

There can be big difference in the way we think and the way we behave. I’m very nice to strangers usually, nicer than I am to people I’ve known for years, but I mentally murder people on a regular basis, mostly stupid drivers.

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