Are You Addicted To Internet Pretending?Once you start down this path of pretending, no one ever knows if you are telling the truth or not. You could be making up that you are pretending, too. But, call me a fool, I believe you. This is the Experience Project. We are anonymous. Why pretend? Then again, why not?
Now, let me read the tea leaves.
Why do people pretend? I don't think anyone gets addicted to anything except as a way to cover over a pain. Pretending can be part of an internet addiction. I think it is the pain of not feeling good about yourself, despite any good qualities you may have. This kind of feeling may not be a rational feeling -- i.e., not based on facts, but where feelings about self are concerned, facts matter little.
Feelings of low self-worth don't come from nowhere, either. They usually come from the way a person is treated by important adults in their childhood. It could be things like parents being divorced and feeling responsible for the divorce. Or the mother says she never wanted you. Or your parents had such high standards, you could never match up to them. Or a parent dies. Or you are adopted.
Feeling bad about yourself is really painful. It often results in feeling like killing yourself, although it doesn't have to. Depression can appear. Grades might suffer. Or you might turn to school as a relief, and grades might be very good.
In any case, if you feel bad about yourself and if you feel like people will abandon you once they find out who you are, something like the internet can be a relief, especially if you can be anyone you want to be. You didn't randomly decide to "play games" and try to pass as a guy. Not everyone does that. Not everyone is interested in being someone other than who they are. There was a reason behind what you did.
Then it made you feel good. It probably also made you feel safe. Maybe you understood that on some level you were interacting with fantasies you create and place on the other people you meet online. You are a story teller, playing with yourself more than anyone else. And the drama is good, too, because it fits the idea that everyone will abandon you sooner or later.
When you get involved with someone and they fall in love with you, it's a high better than any drug. It's a power trip! It gives you a feeling that you really are worth while -- temporarily. The feeling goes after a while, and things get hard to explain, and people get suspicious and then they are gone.
There is a solution. Well, several solutions, in fact. Mindfulness is the one I like. All these feelings about myself -- well, they are just thoughts made up to explain the feelings. If I learn to not be very attached to the thoughts, but to just let them appear and then go away, they don't make things worse. The emotions are bad enough. Why make them worse with my thoughts?
The way I can let the thoughts go is by focusing on my breath. When I focus on something else, something neutral, I don't have as much energy for the thoughts. If I can focus on my breath and do something else, then there really is no room for the thoughts. Doing could be running or making music or hanging out with friends or whatever.
You can also defuse the thoughts in another way. You can use rationality and ob
Doing these things is one way to start to wean yourself from what you call an addiction. You will need to replace internet activities with other activities. Do things with your real life friends. Pick up hobbies. Make music. Volunteer. Are you in college? If you're in college, there are many activities to do that would take up your internet time..
You can also make amends, by telling everyone the truth, apologizing, and trying to do what you can to change yourself so you don't hurt anyone else.
The way to deal with the pain is to deal with the pain. Find out whatever is causing it, or caused it (although this is not, strictly speaking, necessary). Then deal with the emotions. Deal with the pain. Teach yourself how to cope with it. Teach yourself how to behave more effectively, so you can get more of what you want out of life.
I don't think the pain will ever go away, but I do think you can cope with it better. I even think it can become a strength. Pain teaches you a lot. It is one of the best ways to learn -- if you are willing to face it and learn from it. Yeah, it hurts. But it hurts anyway, even if you cover it over. If you cover it over, it keeps trying to pop up, and then, whatever your addiction is, you have to do it more and more in order to cover over the pain. It is far more effective in the long run to just learn how to cope with it head on.
Good luck. You know where to find me if you have any questions. You can read my stories about this topic, too. There are a lot of them.