Does anyone understand? (Life Story)

I recently got Dwarf Planet - and the challenge at the end of chapter 2 is to share. I’m going to take it a bit further and share as much as I can - to chronicle with a document of how I currently feel. It might be a long with, so if you read it all, my gratitude is yours.
It’s important for you to know that I grew up in church and that I still cling to my faith, despite everything. I say that so you can understand the way I think, as well as the way I was raised and how that has impacted me.
If I quote from my journal, be aware of that fact there might be a lot of swearing in here. Not sure yet what will happen.
I’m a guy, if that’s important at all. But I think that’s enough of an introduction.

My life compared to most is pretty easy. Grew up in a nice home, two wonderful parents, enough money to live somewhat comfortable, and plenty of friends. At least, for the first 12 years of my life. I didn’t get bullied much, but I wasn’t a popular kid. My objective in life was to please my parents. I rarely got a B, I worked as hard I as I could. But it never felt like it was enough. Maybe my parents didn’t care, but that wasn’t their message. I remember being about 9 and thinking, “What if I just bombed this school year and see how they reacted? Would they still care?”

(heads up, I’m ramping up into real stuff real quick) I also had some disturbing fantasies. I remember being told never to masturbate, and guilt started growing from a young age. I used to daydream about saving women from rape all the day. Bondage especially. I’d sit at the piano and play whilst imagining I was the hero.

Of course, at this point in my life I’m not that observant or worried. I go to church to hang out with friends, connect with Jesus, and then go home and imagine saving girls. I do everything I can to help out. Help people move, setup dinners / fundraisers, help with worship… but it’s never enough.

Fast forward to where everything becomes real. At 13, my dad quit his job and got a new one, so we moved. My sister’s OCD hits overdrive. I spend hours and hours alone, at a computer, spending 2 hours doing schoolwork and 3 watching pornography. Our family no longer functions. My mom and dad are ready for a divorce. I tell my mom I want to kill myself, and she tells me, “not you too.” So I have to be okay, even if I’m not. I get involved in a youth group that actually seems to care, but I didn’t want to be real. I wanted them to like me. Fast forward three years, and I had become a leader. I’ve been on three mission trips at this point, leading a worship band, and teaching middle schoolers about God.

But I’m dying inside. I barely get up in the morning. I take scalding 40 minute showers to wash the blood and semen away. I spend car rides crying back from church. And I believed that I deserved it. That God hated me. That I would never amount to anything, or be enough for anyone.

From my journal, "I have begged, which feels humiliated. To be so powerless, as one disrespected or cast aside as nothing at all. God, I don’t write this just to feel heard. I felt neglected from the start. You know everything right? From page one to whatever the hell I’m on now, is this progress? Is this sanctification? I’m fucking asking you! Tell me what the fuck is going on. I can’t. I can’t wrestle with you much longer. If this is not the sunrise just kill e so I don’t crawl the rest of my life. I know you’re real. I know you’re what I fucking need. Are you even real? I’ve never felt so cold. What are you doing to me? I’m scared, lonely, afraid. I don’t know you as a gracious, loving overflowing and giving God. You have always been stagnant and reluctant with me. Surely there are others in the same pain. Will you help us? Will you leave us to die?

After a long time, I made a move toward counseling. I saw an awesome guy named Jon, and we spent hours talking about my life. I eventually left feeling considerably better, but God wouldn’t leave me alone. I’m hardwired to spend my time thinking in the darkness, about pain and suffering. But since I’m a “leader”, surely I must be spiritual. Have joy. All those fruits.

And I just hate it. The church. The religious part of it. There are some amazing people I’ve met there, but they just don’t connect with me. I’ve tried pouring my heart out to many of them. But I am met with lame spiritual solutions and the expectation that everything will be fine next week. I once broke down and couldn’t lead worship. So I meet with my youth pastor, who tells me the story of a woman who was paralyzed. One day she realizes she’s better, but she keeps acting like it so she gets the same special treatment. He gives me this warning, and then what do we do? Plan the next worship set. I swallow my anger, as I have done for all my life. Do you think I have been faking it this whole time? That I want to feel this way?

The worst part is, that I went back and realized all the things I’ve done as an attention seeker. My struggles with getting attention while my sister’s problem raged, all the time I spent alone. My first mission trip I remember feeling amazing because people were noticing me for what felt like the first time. Is that wrong? I don’t even know. But everything I do makes me feel guilty. No, ashamed. Worthless. It attacks my identity and my soul. Everything I do. Because I can’t do anything right.

I have this thing against expectations. When people expect something of me, or try to assume I have this responsibility, the pressure I feel (or imagine) is absolutely unbearable. Maybe you could blame this all on the church and how I was raised in it. Maybe I just don’t believe anyone could care about me for me. I buried my personality years ago when I tried to become the person everyone was telling me to be. Strong. Happy. Servant. But truthfully, more like a slave. I barely know who I am anymore.

I’ve been dealing with these feelings for 8 years. I’m 21 now. And I think I’m just going to stop here, but there’s so much more. So much hate towards myself. I see sinfulness and selfishness in every part of me. I twist scripture and words to condemn myself and my every action. It feels like I’ve tried everything. Like I’m the wrong who’s doing something wrong, that my life is like this. That I think this way. That this is who I am.

Thank you for reading.

This sounds just like me,
the hate, the emptiness, the way I always question rather or not everyone cares, and how I hurt myself and masturbate to get these feeling out of me. I have also question if God even knows if I exist, if the cutting will bring me closer to seeing his kingdom. Truthfully, I hate myself. I masturbate all the time, to just stop thinking about how much I want to die. My mom doesn’t really care at all, and my Dad, despite saying how much he doesn’t care, also demanded that I have to be okay, that I have to be what my brother wasn’t. I have a twin with autism, who masturbates all the time, but isn’t sneaky enough to be avoided. The school caught him with pornography, and my Dad blamed me for it, said that I was the reason why he started masturbating in the first place, as he caught me doing it. Truth is, he is right. I don’t know if I will escape my own personal Hellhole, and I don’t know if you will either. The only thing I know is that just laying there and hoping things will change for me simply because I’m begging God to help me won’t change a thing.
We both have to go out and reach for help, this is the only way we can stop hurting. The fact that you posted this tells me that you also want to heal. I hope this site gives you what are looking for.

@tmi Wow, we have a lot in common. Just last night I went out to the woods and was crying out to God that I always feel afraid like I’m going to mess up. I’m also a 21-year-old guy who has grown up in the church (my dad’s actually a pastor), and even though I’ve seen both good and bad I still cling to the faith too. Like you, I’ve rarely gotten B’s but have still felt crazy pressure to perform at a high level, for similar reasons. From a young age I’ve often felt the need to have the approval of authority figures, such as my parents, teachers, etc. It’s generally worked out because I naturally would never break rules and therefore stay out of trouble (I was the classic teacher’s pet in elementary school) but I’ve still dealt with a lot of fear of being rejected by them. I say all that to help you know that you’re not the only one.

I also understand the struggles with masturbation, feeling misunderstood, and wanting attention. I too had some pretty bad fantasies, and I definitely dealt with a lot of guilt. I was still involved in church and doing all the “right things” but I knew I wasn’t fully in it. I couldn’t fully enjoy the sin because I knew it was wrong but I couldn’t enjoy God either because I knew I was disobeying him. But thankfully he helped me get free of that. So even if it seems impossible (especially for young dudes like us) know that freedom is available. But don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t experienced it yet. Letting go of self-condemnation is the first step to getting better.

I’ve dealt with OCD for a long time and even though that relates more to your sister than you, we share common ground that people often misunderstand us. Thankfully there are some great people in my life who do understand me, but I know that the general population doesn’t really get it. Your mind is complex like mine. Sometimes our minds get junk in there, but I believe they’re works of art that are like their own galaxies.

With regard to attention-seeking, I’ve also been looked at throughout my life as a “super spiritual” Christian, where I’ve been on multiple mission trips and helped lead Bible studies too. I’ve found that the admiration is enjoyable, and I’ve questioned whether or not that’s right too. I don’t think it’s inherently wrong to enjoy it - after all, if it were wrong, then we shouldn’t give compliments to other people with the goal of making them happy. We should obviously keep doing that. I think the main thing is that we don’t live for the approval or keep it to ourselves. Instead of rejecting compliments or attention we should simply look to God and thank him, and pass on that approval to him.

I dealt with suicidal thoughts too, and that’s a huge part of my journey with God. I wanted him to kill me and told myself that he loved everyone else but hated me more. But one time I felt like I had to tell my dad, and he was stunned but didn’t freak out. Instead he prayed for me and it instantly left. Next day, next week, next month - it was gone. I knew that was a person who rescued me, not just a concept or moral figurehead, which is what we often reduce God to be. I let myself slip back into it several months later, but God kept rescuing me. And now I enjoy sharing the story (as weird as that sounds) since God has used it to set other people free.

So to address where you’re at now, God sees you and hears you. I have a strong sense that us crossing paths on HeartSupport was meant to happen. Even while writing this I was feeling that same attack of “everything I do makes me feel guilty” as you described - should I spend some time praying first or just write this message now? But here I am writing. God has been helping me to discover my freedom, that life is not like a Scantron multiple choice test with one right answer. I can commit to a course of action and trust that he will do it with me, and the same is true for you. You’ve done a lot of good in your life, more than the devil’s been convincing you to believe, and Jesus is proud of you. “Well done, good and faithful servant!” Jesus is proud of you for simply believing in him, for simply being God’s son. We were born to do great things, but the first thing is to be his child. And that’s what you are. God is proud.

You said, “That is who I am.” But let me tell you who you really are: you are a free man (Galatians 5:1). You are a righteous man (2 Corinthians 5:21). As crazy as it sounds, you are a perfect man (Hebrews 10:14). You are a pure man (1 John 3:3). You are a clean man (1 John 1:7). You WERE a sinner (Romans 5:8), but now you ARE a saint. The person you are describing - the person with “sin and selfishness” - is not you. That is the person you used to be before Jesus set you free. But Romans 6:6 says that our old self was crucified on the cross with Jesus so that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. I know I’m going on a Bible rampage here, but these are the verses that God has instilled in me to help me with some of the same things you described. You are fundamentally a good man now because Jesus has made you good by what he did on the cross. You are washed clean from ALL sin (1 John 1:7) and ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9), so that only righteousness is left in you. Your actions do not define you. The Bible says that Jesus’ actions define you.

I believe that today is your day of victory. And if it takes a while for you to see it, I’m willing to walk with you every step of the way. It’s been a process for me to discover who I really am and to live it out, but my thinking has fundamentally changed. By knowing what Jesus did for me on the cross, I actually have a pretty high self-esteem now. I know that I’m amazing, because HE made me amazing - that’s not prideful because it’s true of you too, and Jesus is the one who made it happen, not us.

But yeah I’d love to talk more! I believe there is victory in your hands, and you are going to experience it. Your whole life is ahead of you, and you’re going to touch the lives of SO many people who have been affected by these same things. You will show them the Light, and they will be freed when they see it and believe in it.

You’re awesome man.

I’ve always gotten C’s and B’s, and still do I hate that I do it.
Some days I wish that I would disappear, but enough bullshit
Thank you

@Altogryph81 Thank you for sharing all that. I also read your own post from a couple weeks ago and I’m so glad you shared that with us. There’s not a single day that God wishes you would disappear because you mean even more than the world to him. In fact, you mean even more than his own life since he died for you, and he would have done it for just you. As for the grades, you don’t have to find your identity in that. They’re literally just letters, and coming from someone who has mostly known A’s I mean that even for myself. They can’t truly reflect the gold in people. And even for someone like me who has known “success”, it often just creates more pressure to keep it up. So either way don’t look down on yourself for not doing “enough”. As for the things you talked about in your original post, I’m really sorry to hear all that dude. Being caught in the middle of a parental tug of war is never pleasant, and I want you to know that all the neglect and psychological abuse is not what God is like. He’s everything that you wished you could have had in your parents (and mom especially from what you wrote).

He never leaves his children for anyone. He walks with them through everything. He was at your band performances and he loved watching you!

He never degrades his children. He builds them up and reminds them of the amazing children they are.

He doesn’t pass the blame. Even when we all did things that deserved blame, Jesus took the blame on himself and died for us.

He never tells us we’re worthless. Since you were worth the life of Jesus, which has infinite value, that means you have infinite value too.

He has never hated you, but he has always loved you.

You’re worth it man. And if it means anything to you, I’d love to talk since I know having another person to come alongside you can help. I also think it’s awesome that you’ve been doing that for so many other people because I’ve been reading some of your comments. That’s a powerful quality that God has put in you. Keep that up man.

But yeah like I said, let me know if you want to talk more. You are not a burden, and it is an honor to help someone as awesome as you.

Thank you, although I’m sure that this handsome, amazing gentleman you are talking about doesn’t really exist, it good to know that there might be people out there who want to listen. If I need to talk, I will let you know. I’ve gotta get to bed right now, otherwise my Dad is going to start getting pissed.

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@euangelion @Altogryph81
Thank you both for your kind and understanding words. I’d love to talk more.

I find that the most difficult thing for me to accept is any form of love. It’s like I have forgotten what it is. I have heard these words from pastors over and over again, yet it is like I am deaf to them. I have no doubt that Jesus is real. But I cannot feel anything. Am I so arrogant as to tell someone who says they love me that they are lying? That shame keeps me in the loop. And I don’t just mean that for God, I feel that way towards my parents and even my close friends.

And I am afraid to open up. Again. I know it’s a lie that they are probably tired of hearing it. But it seems like everyone wants me to be a “man”, without ever dealing with the boy inside me. The one that hurts. To just be okay already. Know what I mean?

more than you could think. There are days when even if I do something good, I just don’t feel anything, just the same as before. I can laugh and smile, but even than I feel the black hole inside me. I sit and hug myself in the shower, begging god if I should kill myself or not, and if he has forsaken me. I know this, and so much more that can’t be put into words, or described. People say I’m intelligent, kind, and compassionate. Part of me just wants them to stop saying things, and just leave me alone to rot. Like I said, if you need to talk, just let me know. I hope this post helped you,