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  • So you don't think you're beyond redemption, then. As for me, I believe "redemption" is... Let me put it this way: I don't believe in making up for bad deeds-- things that are wrong are wrong because they hurt us, so those behaviors should be corrected. But all people have equal worth, and so it's just as bad for the person who did it to suffer for it. Yes, it might be awkward. Yes, she might not be happy to see you. And then? It would be over. You'd probably think about it for a while, but ultimately, life goes on. It'd be the same for her. Things fade with time. If you want to avoid getting hurt... You're already hurting yourself with that fear. This is one thing I learned-- that I was doubling my suffering by worrying. Like, the worry was its own burden. I do think that worry can help you prepare, both practically and emotionally (I think that's why my dad's death wasn't as hard on me as it might have been); it might help if you could try to imagine it, come up with a plan for what you'd want to say and do. And then let it go. What I started telling myself was, "I'll deal with that if and when it happens; there's no point in making myself miserable now. If it doesn't happen, all this worry will have been for nothing." And it wasn't as easy as that at first-- the compulsion to obsess was still strong. Sometimes it still is. But when I catch myself doing that, I just keep cutting it off with that line, distract myself, do things to make myself feel better.
    I think that's something you'd have to figure out. I'm just saying, there's a reason for everything. Kids have all kinds of emotional needs, guys no less than girls. I understand the impulse behind stalking, at least, becoming so centered on one person that you can't stand the idea of rejection... When you're obsessed (which is often the case with romantic feelings), thinking about that person becomes a part of you; it's easy to lose perspective. I'm still kinda hung up on the person I like. The reason I hold back is that I think anything else would be counter-productive; if I thought stalking would work...

    Ok, so you keep it at the back of your mind. That doesn't mean you have to keep beating yourself up over it. In fact... I don't think you really have to keep it in mind even, to remember. We naturally remember negative experiences more strongly than positive ones for that very reason-- so we don't make the same mistake again. When we start to enter a situation similar to a negative one from the past, those feelings pop up, and we naturally try to avoid it. I get the impression that you don't trust yourself to have self-control if you ever had those kinds of feelings again. Does that sound accurate?

    It's true that we haven't reallly been able to keep up with technology.

    Well, there you go. Why should you see Vader as a victim, but yourself as a villain?
    The way I look at your situation from high school, though... the person who suffered the most from it is you. I mean, so you stalked a girl. That ended up being humiliating for you, and... She probably doesn't even think about it anymore. There was definitely a reason why it escalated to that point for you. I can't tell you what it is, but there's always a reason; people don't develop in a vacuum, our actions don't come out of nowhere. Maybe you didn't feel like you had that adult you could talk to, or maybe you became emotionally dependent on that girl because you didn't have much else to rely on. That's all sympathetic. You didn't do it because you're bad or because you wanted to hurt someone, it came out of your own emotional needs and insecurities. Honestly, I kind of feel like the school should've had you in counseling then. And you're definitely not the only person to do that, either. Looking at it from a consequentialist point of view... who does it help if you're so down on yourself? It doesn't fix anything. I mean... I think of people who do really terrible things to others, intentionally, and feel no guilt whatsoever. Like, stalking is a problem in Japan, and the men who do it tend to think that the women they're doing it to belong to them. Like, that's not even an accusation, they straight-up say it like that, and they have trouble seeing the problem with it. It has to do with cultural views of women and relationships, but... My point is, guilt doesn't necessarily reflect reality; some people tear themselves up over small things, while others don't care at all about the really big things.
    Yeah, I guess... I dunno, though, I feel like face-to-face interactions are over-rated. Not that they're not important, but I think the face-to-face interaction is generally secondary to talking. As long as you're still encountering people at work and stuff, anyway.

    I know that's how you think of it, but... If you get to where you want to be, why not start focusing on things you enjoy? Even if it's just video games or TV, it's something. Well, that's good, then-- if you feel sympathy for Vader, and you think you're like him, then I think you can sympathize with where you were at that time. Its mostly a matter of stepping back from yourself, looking at yourself from a different perspective. If you couldn't connect the dots, then you couldn't; that's not the same as if you'd just ignored them. Even at that... sometimes you know things without really believing them. Like, you can't help the feeling that it'll work out if you just try hard enough, and you don't want to regret not trying, so...
    That's fine; I think that feeling neutral is usually better than feeling bad. The good news is, mental states aren't permanent. It occurs to me that maybe you could make emotionlessness a kind of stepping stone? Like, say you reached that point. Well, then your goal could be to start having good feelings. It interests me that you identify a lot with Darth Vader. How do you feel toward his character? Do you hate him? Or do you feel for him? Because if you feel like him, and you can sympathize with his struggle, then I think you can sympathize with yourself, how you got to where you are. You're hard on you because you're you, but if it's someone else, it's different. Why should that be so? Why should you be any less deserving of sympathy and compassion? It's fine it it takes a while to overcome; that makes sense. I would suggest telling your therapist the same kind of things you've been telling me, because I feel like I understand where you're coming from. As for getting out more, I do think that's important... But I also think it's important to take it slowly. Figure out something that seems doable to you, even if it's uncomfortable, and do that. The more you do it, the more comfortable you'll become with it, and that's the time to push yourself a little further. As long as you're trying, though, that's the important thing. If you have the will and you keep trying, you will do it eventually. Even just deciding to get therapy is a big step; you should be proud of yourself for that. It may not feel like much to you, but a lot of people refuse to do it.
    "One dimensional?" I'm not sure what that means. Online friendships, at least, are meaningful, for sure. I mean... I do think real-life contact is important, because as humans, we're programmed to respond to react to facial expressions and vocal signals and that kind of thing... But it's definitely not the only way to connect with others. I don't have a Wii U... in fact, I don't even think I have a Wii anymore. I think maybe it got stolen? I'm not worried about it, though; I wasn't using it too much to begin with. The only thing that really bugs me is that all my game memory was in there.
    Oh, I see what you mean: you're worried he won't want to help you stop having emotions. The thing is, though, when I feel emotionless, I just feel kind of blah. It's almost... agitating, like I don't know what to do with myself. I don't want to do anything, but I don't want to do nothing, either. Which doesn't sound so bad, but it can be upsetting. People who really don't experience much emotion at all typically do things to make themselves feel something, and I think that might have something to do with it. Oh, surgery is hardly ever done; you'd get shock therapy way before that. Which actually isn't bad anymore-- it was the one thing that helped my grandfather with his depression. But yeah, as far as something like lobotomy goes... The only thing I know that might possibly get that treatment would be a life-threatening seizure disorder. Even then, I don't know... I think what's going to happen is that he's going to challenge the idea that the best you can do is reach a state of emotionless-ness. Especially since it really is almost impossible to imagine feeling better when you're messed up. Now that is a feeling I know well. I know what it feels like to want to die because I couldn't stand the anxiety anymore, and I didn't think it was possible to ever get out of it. In fact, if I had to go through something like that, it's probably a good thing that my anxieties revolved around death fears, because otherwise, I might've tried something. I dunno, I do have a strong logical side, and I wouldn't have wanted to do that to my family, but... It was pretty extreme anxiety.
    Yeah, having short conversations sounds like a good idea. A con might be good, too, although I think it's important to have a way to get home if you get overwhelmed. Yeah, that is important to talk about and deal with. I have some experience with that, hating the world to some extent, and... It feeds into itself.

    I haven't actually played any games in a long time. I do really want to play Breath of the Wild, though, if I ever get a Switch. It's one of the few Zelda games I haven't played, and I hear it's amazing.
    Well, I think emotions are why everything else matters in the first place. I mean, without positive and negative emotional effects... What difference does it make what happens, you know? Oh, I can almost guarantee you that that's not going to happen, though. It's just how you feel. Therapists are trained to be non-judgmental, and when you study psychology... You really stop looking at things from a moral standpoint. What I mean is, you end up focusing on how people become how they are, and I think most end up with a deterministic standpoint like me. Developmental Psych is actually what put me on that path. Anyway! Yeah, I don't think there's anything bad about thinking that. The only person it could possibly hurt is you, right? Have you talked to your therapist about how hard it is for you to talk to people in real life? You might be able to set up online sessions. Hm... let me think... are you into any shows or video games recently?
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