Thursday, 11 October 2012

Day 76: Wanting to be Liked

When I was a small kid, we were spending our holiday in Spain and at some point we went to a restaurant to eat. While we were there (or previously in the car) my brother and sister taught me the word ‘fuck’ (but it was in Dutch). Well, they didn’t really *teach me*, they taught me how to pronounce it and that it was some sort of verb and other than that all I knew was that each time I said it, they would giggle and laugh a lot. So I was like cool, when I say this, they laugh so that must mean they like me.

Afterwards in the restaurant, I took salted peanuts out of the little bowls that they had on the bar, and I would go to random people saying “If you fuck me I will give you a peanut” – now remember I had NO idea what I was saying – all I knew was that my brother and sister were having a ball, so I felt encouraged to keep saying the word and go to people, thinking “yay, they like me!”.

Then when we were busy leaving the restaurant, just before we went into the car, my mom asked me what I was doing, and I showed her the peanuts in my hand like I had done previously and again said “if you fuck me I will give you a peanut” – and there my mom went into a complete shock , her face went all red, and she gave me a little tap/slap across the check saying “STOP THAT” – “DON’T SAY THAT AGAIN!!”. So now at this point, obviously, my brother and sister were having SO MUCH fun, laughing at what was going on, I was just saying to my mom “fuck me, fuck me fuck me” -- and would keep doing it just because my brother and sister were having such a laugh – without having any idea what, what I was saying meant or what it implied.


We would also watch the Simpsons at home, which was the original English version, with Dutch subtitles – though I couldn’t read yet back then and didn’t understand any English.

So we’d then be sitting in the lounge and watch the Simpsons, and I remember them sitting in the couch behind me while I was sitting closer to the tv on the wooden floor. Because I couldn’t read and couldn’t understand English yet, I was using my brother and sister as a reference for ‘what is funny’. Each time they would start laughing, I would quickly join in the laughter like “HAHAHAHAHA yea that’s funny” while I actually had no idea what was going on or why they were laughing. This was because I didn’t want to show that I didn’t knew what was going on because I looked up to my brother and sister because they could already read and understand humour. And I also wanted to make myself feel ‘a part’ of something, where I felt that ‘laughing together’ created some form of ‘bond’ or ‘connection’ because it’s something that “just happens” where different people just laugh at the same time.

Since I would always laugh with a little delay (bc I would only start laughing once I could hear them laugh) to what was happening on the tv and kind of do it in an exaggerated way to ‘cover up’ that I don’t know what’ – it must have been pretty clear to them that I was completely clueless. So then they would start playing this game where they would both start laughing at the same time during an episode, while nothing funny was happening and then obviously I would immediately go HAHAHAHAH YEA SO FUNNY!! -- and then I was busted, because I was laughing while there was nothing funny and then they would start laughing at me for having felt for their ‘bait’. There I mostly got angry and disappointed because I felt embarrassed and betrayed – like, “how could they do this to me? That is so mean! “ And then I’d become more hesitant to laugh when they were laughing because now I couldn’t be sure whether they meant it or just wanted to trick.

Then, yeeeaars later, we were staying over at one of our aunts, and we were watching the Simpsons on tv. My little nephew (or is it cousin? Not sure) was sitting close to the tv while I was sitting behind him on the couch, and as the Simpsons started, you know you have that little intro that is different each time and is supposed to be “funny” – I started to laugh REAL HARD while nothing funny was happening, and I saw my nephew/cousin quickly look back to me and then back to the tv and go HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA and do a really exaggerated laugh. I’d then started “really” laughing and then he got what I did and his faced change to being all upset/grumpy. While he was doing to exaggerated laugh, I for a moment felt good, like “gotcha” – where I was now in the position where my brother and sister had been previously, and could experience this what I perceived as ‘superiorness’ – but then as I looked at my nephew/cousin and saw how his face changed, I suddenly felt sooooo ashamed and cheated – because I had just done unto him what had been done unto me, as something I really did not enjoy. And then I couldn’t handle my own uncomfortableness and went to hide by my mom while eating stuff to distract me from my experience.

So what I found interesting about these memories is how clear it is as a child what you are doing, where you know you are doing something deliberately for the sake of the ‘feel good’ experience as ‘validation’, where in this case I was looking at ‘laughter’ as a point of personal validation as if that meant people liked me. Where I was willing to do whatever to make people like me – and then also how within perceiving myself as ‘not being liked’ – go into the nastiness/spitefulness of making another feel the same way.

Some interesting stuff to work with here – Self Forgiveness and Self Corrective Statements to Follow

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