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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my research I keep coming across people with SA saying that they feel superior to others, yet, obviously have *some kind of* self-esteem issues that hinder them from interacting with these same people successfully.

It seems to be a conundrum. If you feel so superior (I'm one of these people with these feelings of superiority), why worry about what these "lowly" people think? I don't know exactly. People have to give me a reason to like them before I will. When I meet someone I automatically dislike/distrust them.

Here are some tentative thoughts of mine on the subject.

Negative past experiences:

People have wronged you, bullied you, stabbed you in the back, made fun of you, talked behind your back, made hurtful comments, etc.
Starting out as a young child, perhaps you were trusting? And then during school years, one negative experience after another taught you that sometime (or most times?) you have to be WARY of people. "They're probably going to screw me over anyway" - wouldn't really be a high motivation to want to be around new people.

Intelligence does not reign:

You've seen them: complete idiots. They're everywhere. People with SA tend to be more reflective, thoughtful, introspective - and this type of personality would lend its self to thinking before you speak and act, being a reader or a researcher or a thinker in your vast amounts of 'alone time' - and mainly just pondering the world around us on a consistent basis. This is not the case for some people. They have different problems than we do, sure - but perhaps they don't act in an entirely civilized or intelligent manner most of the time. Being so different from us (and perhaps, especially the happy, outgoing ones) being something that we ourselves wish WE could be (ignorance is bliss) we hold a resentment. Easily annoyed. Aggravated. Frustrated at these morons who go about their day not knowing their *** from a hole in the ground. I want to be around people like me - not people who have 3 brain cells and are proud of it - and so what's the motivation to go socializing with them? Nada.


Falsely inflated ego:

One day you're feeling intelligent, witty, good-looking, superior - the next day (or the next minute??) you feel stupid, bland, ugly and inferior. Yet nothing has changed in your surroundings. Does this sound familiar? TRUE self-esteem does not have such wildly varying degrees, it's a more self-assured constant in ones life, not inflating Monday and deflating Tuesday for seemingly no reason. I believe (these are all just *my personal opinions from my life experiences, nothing more nothing less*) that someone with these ebbs and flows of superiority/inferiority is suffering from the fact that there is an actual lack of self-esteem, and we try to make up for it by having narcissistic tendencies, touting our own self up - only to come crashing down when hit with a realization or two, and then back to the cycle again.


If I'm doing it, they must be too -- "Do not judge lest ye be judged":

I admit it. I judge people. I think "Man he/she is ugly/skinny/fat/hideous/trashy-looking/snobby-looking, stupid/boring/inept, etc."
I look down my nose on many people. I shouldn't. It just happens naturally. And I think....if I'm doing all this judging, others around me must be doing the same to me. I'd better not leave the house!!


Lastly, comments can create havoc:

People have a wonderful ability at STATING THE OBVIOUS. This is what started my SA. I was 5'-7" and 100 pounds through middle/high school. People loved, and I do mean loved, to point that out. "Gosh, you're soooooo skinny!"
"You need some meat on them bones!" "Are you anorexic???" "Crack baby!" A lot of the times these comments came from my friends, but most often from associates (classmates).
If there is something about you that you don't like and people CONSTANTLY FREAKING POINT IT OUT you are most likely going to develop a complex about it. Making you afraid of interaction, lest people point out this flaw.

Stating the obvious, either rudely, or done with "innocent inquisitiveness" can bear the same outcome:

"You're soo quiet!"
"Why don't you ever talk?"
"Man, you are soooo tall, you're a giant!"
"You can hula-hoop through a Cheerio!"
"You gained some weight, didn't you?"
"FATTY!"
"You're so short!"
"You're a freakin' midget!"
"Wow, why is your skin so bad all the time?"
"You blush a lot!!"
"Why are you always sweaty?"
"You seem shaky, what's wrong with you?"

Just some examples of random "point-outs" that people may hear a few, or numerous times, and then they get a hang-up about it, and want to avoid people.

This can also lead to body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). That's what happened to me. After being sooo skinny for sooo long and being put through hell about it by family, friends, and even strangers in stores - I forced myself to eat until point of nausea. Kind of like reverse anorexia. Now I've gained 30 pounds since then, and am a size 6 and still feel exactly as ashamed of my appearance as I did at a size 0. I feel like people are staring, like they are going to call me anorexic. I can't look in the mirror and see how I truly am, I still see my old body. I live in fear of losing weight.

Someone with the reverse problem may become anorexic or bulimic. Someone with an acne problem may still see a "horrible" face years after the acne has gone away. And etc.

All these are great reasons for generally disliking people and not wanting to associate with them.

I'd love to know your thoughts and any more suggestions as to these strange feelings of superiority/inferiority.

Thanks for reading.
 

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Hiding In My Den
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I can relate, I do dislike most others and feel I'm better then them. I know I shouldn't care what they think, and its not that I care what others think so much, its the knowing that even if they may be someone I might like they probably either won't like me or if they do they will just end up screwing me over somehow eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for being the first to respond, LoneLioness - I was beginning to wonder if I'd get any responses.

I totally agree with you, those are the thought processes that go through my head when I have to meet new people. And, those around me cannot seem to understand this negative view.
 

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Falsely inflated ego:
One day you're feeling intelligent, witty, good-looking, superior - the next day (or the next minute??) you feel stupid, bland, ugly and inferior. Yet nothing has changed in your surroundings. Does this sound familiar? TRUE self-esteem does not have such wildly varying degrees, it's a more self-assured constant in ones life, not inflating Monday and deflating Tuesday for seemingly no reason. I believe (these are all just *my personal opinions from my life experiences, nothing more nothing less*) that someone with these ebbs and flows of superiority/inferiority is suffering from the fact that there is an actual lack of self-esteem, and we try to make up for it by having narcissistic tendencies, touting our own self up - only to come crashing down when hit with a realization or two, and then back to the cycle again.
Yeah, I definitely had this when I was younger - especially from 14 to 24 or so. With hindsight I can see that it came from how I was raised - my parents went a bit overboard on the positive feedback, for various reasons. Which is not a good way to ground your kids in reality! I really had too much self-esteem, which lasted until about junior high, when social relationships started getting more complicated, and I couldn't keep up. Plus I lost whatever good looks I might have had. I still felt like I was "special" on the inside, but on the outside I felt like utter ****. I felt kind of disconnected from my personality and body, cause I didn't identify with them. My mood was always going up and down to extremes - the tiniest things would send me first one way then the other.

So yeah, my self-esteem was pretty much built on sand. One thing that helped me a lot in later years was going through a stint of religion, and praying for humility - it helped me feel more grounded, and less like I had to be perfect just to be allowed to exist.

It took me a loooooong time to realize that I was never gonna fulfill that overly inflated image of myself I had. I really, really didn't want to give it up - I thought if I just tried hard enough, I could make it come true. I thought it was the only way to be loved, and the opposite of it was this black void, waiting to destroy me. I think my brain also got confused when someone responded positively to me, and it would think, "Yeah, you're on the right track now! Keep going!", and it would just reinforce the whole thing. Until the inevitable crash...
 

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I genuinely dislike others because I feel that they have unnecessarily unkind and insensitive behaviours. It is an observation of mine that as a general rule, people always tend to be more biased in this way when in groups than in one to one situations. I'm not sure why, it's not something I understand, although I could take a stab in the dark.

Perhaps it's to do with people's constant needs to appear 'cooler' or more 'accepted' in the company of those that they like or want to deliberately try to impress.
 

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Intelligence does not reign:

You've seen them: complete idiots. They're everywhere. People with SA tend to be more reflective, thoughtful, introspective - and this type of personality would lend its self to thinking before you speak and act, being a reader or a researcher or a thinker in your vast amounts of 'alone time' - and mainly just pondering the world around us on a consistent basis. This is not the case for some people. They have different problems than we do, sure - but perhaps they don't act in an entirely civilized or intelligent manner most of the time. Being so different from us (and perhaps, especially the happy, outgoing ones) being something that we ourselves wish WE could be (ignorance is bliss) we hold a resentment.
Just be cautious not to over generalise here. It's too easy to put people into categories and even those of us with SA come in our varied shapes and sizes. Just because we have an abundance of alone time, that does not mean we are all well-researched 'intellectuals'. I agree on the majority of what you've said, but it is important to remember that nothing is ever just 'black and white' and that there is never any one definitive answer.

For the record, it is my opinion that it is not healthy to look down upon anybody, such as for the reasons aforementioned like being easily aggravated and annoyed by said 'idiots'. It's a waste of your energy. Channel your focus into thinking a bit more ;) You have to learn to accept the fact that in this world, there are always going to be idiots, and thinkers.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Jaiyyson, you're right. Nearly my entire post is some kind of generalization. Just going by personal experiences. I live in the deep-ohso-deep south and am surrounded by a LOT of closed-mindedness and even racism and bigotry and so the lack of enlightenment never ceases to amaze me. Perhaps I'd have a more positive outlook on my fellow man if I lived in a more varied place, or even a big city. But down here in the boon docks it can get quite, quite dumb.
And I agree, any time spent being annoyed by something that does not necessarily directly affect you seems like a waste of energy. I would be better served directing it elsewhere!
 

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I am guilty of only reading your first section and then being quick to comment without reading the rest. So I apologize for this. The reason for such a lightning response was because what you were saying reminded me of some people that I've had trouble with in the past. Basically all I'm saying is that I neither like nor dislike the majority of people. And at a second glance this also makes me a hypocrit for the pure act of judging itself, for I am guilty of all of what you have stated in your thread.

As a closing statement, I should also mention that there is a significant difference between 'general' generalization and 'accurate' generalization. The difference being with yours was that it actually provided some insight and demonstrates to anybody who reads the thread that you are indeed a thinker ;)
 

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People have a wonderful ability at STATING THE OBVIOUS. This is what started my SA.
Same here. I wasn't mercilessly bullied as a kid, but everyone would point out my flaws constantly. Since I had so many obvious flaws that I couldn't really fix, my depression and anger got worse and the shame and self-consciousness stuck.
 

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wow i can so relate to this generalization. i do it all the time i hate alot of people so much like i dont like outgoing people,loud and all kinds of people i generalize everything: sports fans, partys, smoking, drinking ,whatever i feal like i cant connect with them but unlike in your post i mostly feel inferior.
 

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Personally, I think feeling superior is a defense mechanism. When you're an outcast who doesn't fit into society, you can see it two ways:
A) It's your fault for being pathetic. You're not worthy of people.
B) It's society's fault for being horrible. People aren't worthy of you.

B is more fun to contemplate, so you'll start picking up on things about people which allow you to feel superior to them. You'll end up believing both A and B and flipping between them as your mind fights itself.

If you can't raise your self-esteem you'll lower your esteem for others to compensate.

It can also be part of a comprehensive avoidance strategy. If you give me a list of potential people to talk to, I'll immediately come up with rationalizations for why I really wouldn't want to talk to that sort of person. That allows me to excuse myself from trying without admitting that I'm giving in to fear.

Plus, last but not least, there's the fact that I am indeed vastly superior to all of you. ;)

On topic comic strip of the day:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am guilty of only reading your first section and then being quick to comment without reading the rest. So I apologize for this. The reason for such a lightning response was because what you were saying reminded me of some people that I've had trouble with in the past. Basically all I'm saying is that I neither like nor dislike the majority of people. And at a second glance this also makes me a hypocrit for the pure act of judging itself, for I am guilty of all of what you have stated in your thread.

As a closing statement, I should also mention that there is a significant difference between 'general' generalization and 'accurate' generalization. The difference being with yours was that it actually provided some insight and demonstrates to anybody who reads the thread that you are indeed a thinker ;)
That's quite alright Jaiyyson, and thank you much for the compliment! I did feel a bit ill at ease posting this thread in the first place because I figured there may be some conflicting items in it for some, because it's all a sensitive issue and entirely a matter of personal interpretation. I truly appreciate you going back and reading the entire post.
And I'm sure we've all been guilty of some of the things listed at some point in our lives -I have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Personally, I think feeling superior is a defense mechanism. When you're an outcast who doesn't fit into society, you can see it two ways:
A) It's your fault for being pathetic. You're not worthy of people.
B) It's society's fault for being horrible. People aren't worthy of you.

B is more fun to contemplate, so you'll start picking up on things about people which allow you to feel superior to them. You'll end up believing both A and B and flipping between them as your mind fights itself.
Great point Hoth - actually I've never thought of it exactly that way! I posted yesterday in a thread about 'what do you do if you're in a group and people are talking about something you don't know about and laughing' - and I thought about it and answered that I usually act extremely bored, as if the group is boring me to no end, complete with eyerolls and sighs and fingernail buffing (lol) so that they will be more likely to change the subject so that I don't look uninformed or stupid. And, when a group is laughing about something that I don't know about I get a look on my face like they are crazy for thinking its funny and lame for laughing in the first place. This is my crazy (kinda mean) defense mechanism for when I feel "out of the loop" around others - attempting to make myself superior to their boring, silly conversation. It's paired with this realization yesterday and your post this morning confirming it, that now I truly realize its all a form of defense mechanism and a reaction when feeling threatened. Food for thought indeed.
 

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I ain't ALONE!!!! I CRIED reading this!

I read this post,and it is so much ME! Before I read it, I had myself convinced that I do NOT feel superior to others,therefore do not have social anxiety, but actually I have to admit to myself after reading it that,yes,I DO. I read some years ago that socially inept people (that is my picture in the dictionary by that phrase) tend to read or something to compensate for that particular shortcoming. I DID read,a LOT,SELECTIVELY. I read almost entirely nonfiction,and read a LOT of Readers' Digests from about 1961 (first grade) till the last time I had them,in the 1990s. (Was there another second grader in the whole country in 1962,NOT the child of a political activist, who thought Communism and Castro and Kruschev were BAD? I sure did!) and there was a LOT of information there,and I often went to the library and signed out the book they'd condensed and read THAT...anyway,this posting was VERY VERY helpful to me. I do feel angry at people a lot, and have often fantasized about leaving all the idiots and cruel people and living out in the middle of nowhere alone, but I have a VERY strong conscience and realize that humiliating and hurting others is wrong. I think perhaps the whole SA thing started when I was very small,TERRIBLY shy,with a bad tempered father. I was dreamy and artistic, and did fine in kindergarten and first grade,and second,then,in 3rd grade,it struck me that I didn't quite fit in with the other kids,they treated me differently. I was treated terribly in high school. I got As without trying, got along well with the teachers,was still artistic and a very good writer with perfect spelling,wasn't athletic,sexually active or rebellious,and in the 1960s and early 70s, that was the perfect formula for being a social pariah. It turned me inward,naturally. I did and do have a few friends,but I to this day have a very hard time trusting people,especially strangers,and when someone I don't even know comes over and starts being really friendly, I am INSTANTLY suspicious,only slightly assuaged if they tell me that so and so "said so many nice things about you". (Part of me wonders,"WHY? Why was so and so even DISCUSSING me with you??!!") I can get through parties now without overeating or grabbing a book and sitting in a corner,even enjoy myself,but THAT is an EFFORT, I have to work at it.
Thank you for your kind attention!
 

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I just really, really, don't like people in general. I have a problem with most people talking to me in a condescending way, implying that they are better than me and I am stupid and inferior. And that is the main reason that I dislike people. I know i am not as stupid as they imply that I am. But i just get so frustrated at them for it. I really don't know what to do about people who talk to me that way. I feel like they do it to me more than anyone else. I really don't see how anyone can enjoy being around people or like to have friends.
 

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I tend to emphasize ways in which I'm inferior to most people I meet, so usually I overestimate people and am mystified at how much more successful they are than me at something.

On the other hand I often despise people for no reason at all. Not for a long time, but usually just a feeling. People disgust me sometimes.
 

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I also generally dislike others, but feel somewhat superior despite having a low esteem.

I suppose my feelings of superiority is based on just being a decent human being, which includes respecting others, not judging and being humble. The majority of society tends to be the opposite.

When it comes to looks, skills, wealth and so on, that is where I feel inferior to everyone. I suppose it's because these traits are what everyone uses as a criteria for judging others.
 

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Lolno. I acknowledge that pretty much everyone is better than me. Can't say I don't dislike pretty much everyone I come across when I bother to go out, but that doesn't mean I think I'm better than them because I know that's not true.

EDIT: Actually, scratch that. I always give people a chance, but most blow that chance pretty quickly and then I dislike them. Still doesn't mean I think I'm better than them.
 
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