Quora - Idea Traps



Why do I have thoughts that everyone hates me, including my close relatives and friends?

Even when I know it is irrational, I feel like everyone is against me, and I just remember the bad things my parents/friends say to me and never the good things, even things that were intended just as a joke.
Oh, I love this kind of scenarios. The most evil kind of trap. Douglas Adams called them tautologies. Kevin Rose calls them Chickin-Egg scenarios. TVTropes calls them Epiphanic Prisons. I call them spiral death machines.
Also, one of the things I’m going to say will be a lie. muajajjajajjajaa no, for real.
You are convinced that everyone is against you. Why is not important. What’s important is that, at some point, that idea, like a virus, was inserted in your mind. What’s so evil about it is that it feeds on itself. Two things start to happen.
You think people secretly despise you, so you behave either defensively or avoid contact or alter your actions in a million subtle ways. Since you expect pain, you, in some level of your consciousness, brace for it. Because of this you start acting in a way that makes people not like you very much.
Alternatively, there’s this thing called confirmation bias which work very much the same way. Once the nonverbal part of your consciousness holds this idea, it starts looking for confirmation. Discarding facts that don’t match it (never the good things) holding on to the ones that do (the bad things your parents/friends say) and eventually starts distorting neutral facts to fit it’s view (even things that were intended just as a joke), instead of fitting the view to the facts.
Why it happened is not important. Perhaps a psyschologist or psychiatrist or even a competent coach or hipnoterapist can help you dig in and find it. Actually those guys can really help more than words in the internet, but I understand your reluctance.
What is important is that the idea is there. Like inception, it’s taken hold of your mind.
What is important is this:
What are you going to do about it?
I can’t answer that question for you. But I can tell you both my parents deeply feel like you. And so did I, for about twenty years. Which makes sense. Two people who have that belief ingrained raised me. What else could I expect? But no matter. I realized at some point, like you, that I was being irrational. That is, I was believeing things that did not really correspond with reality. I decided to change. It took years.
Sometimes, when I start screwing up, it comes back. It might never truly go away.
I wish I could put it in a few lines, to spare you the time and effort I went through. But it wouldnt work. As you said, it’s irrational. That means it’s not dictated by your verbal, logical, analytical mind. It’s your nonverbal, emotional, feelings mind that you need to work on. Words have limited power there.
But that insight in itself in inmensely powerful.
Again, I wish I could reduce it to a few lines. Best I can do now is tell you the three things I do every day to rewire my brain into health. Be prepared for cliches.
  1. Work your ass out. Currently Im doing -puaj- crossfit three times a week. The change in my energy and mood makes me relate to people better. I put out better, more positive energy, I make them feel good. They respond accordingly. You see, as your rational mind already knows, people have a lot of stuff going on, their own internal wars. And unless you are a dick, they don’t want to hate you (if you are, then, well, crap) but if you project this selfdoubt and anticipation of rejection, they will be pulled down by your bad vibe. You make them feel bad, they make you feel bad. See, chicken—egg. Self fulfilling, self feeding, increases in power with every turn. It’s inertia alone will take you to your grave, if you let it.


  1. Zazen. This shit’s for real. Ive never seen anything so powerful in my life, it’s like weapons-grade psychotropic drugs. Start with 5 mins a day and FOR GODS SAKE DONT SKIP DAYS. LIKE, EVER. UNTIL YOU DIE. Not a fan of capslock, but that one was worth it.
  2. Journal. See. Told you it would be cliche. The logical verbal mind has limited impact on the nonverbal emotional one, but if you keep repeating in your mind that you suck and everyone hates you, over and over, all day, you will start believing it. It will become the reality you live in. See, we don’t live in reality. We live in our perception of reality. Our brain distorts what our senses perceive. And right now it’s distorting it into a story were you suck. Start working on rewriting that.
Two things before you go.
  1. You will f*ck up. That’s ok. Know it’s going to happen. Remember it is part of the process. Pick yourself up and keep at it. If you do, you’ll start seeing it happens less and less often and each time you inch your way out of this hole.
  2. Baby steps. You brain isn’t like a muscle, but it follows many of the same laws. Right now your emotional brain is crap. If you try to change all your mindset at once, there’s a really good chance you’ll snap. So start with the minimum action that you know you won’t put for later. Five minutes of Zazen. Fourteen lines of journal. A few pushups per day. They only caveat is dont quit.
  3. I wish you the best. I really, sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, wish you dare to give this a try. See, I told you there was a lie. I said two things before you go, and said three.
So evil.