Are you a Catfish?

self esteem

As many of you probably know from the MTV reality show, a catfish is someone who pretends to be someone they’re not using Facebook or other social media to create false identities, particularly to pursue deceptive online romances.

You may be asking yourself: Why would anyone want to be a catfish?

Well, as it turns out, there are two main reasons people catfish: either someone does it because they are scared no one would want them for who they are, or they do it specifically to punish others.This blog will focus on the first type.

The first type of catfish thinks and feels like they are not good enough on their own. A catfish can be male or female pretending to be either male or female. Usually the catfish thinks that if they used a real photograph of him or her self, no one would want to be friends with him or her.

As a society, most of us have put such an emphasis on what people physically look like that we reject or mock people who do not fit our idea of what is acceptable. How tall are they, how much do they weigh, what skin tone do they have, what do their teeth look like, what color is their hair, do they have acne? (Thanks to this, the beauty industry makes billions of dollars off of us every year.)

So, those of us who feel deep shame over who we are go find a picture of some person we think is beautiful and bang! we have our profile picture. And usually it is only the profile picture that is a lie. With a successful mask in place, we are finally free to be ourselves. We can search for other people who like the same things we like or have the same philosophies we have. We can finally let our guards down and be ourselves.

Online relationships can be so much easier than face to face relationships. Sometimes it is easier to talk to strangers about things that make us feel because, if they are a stranger we don’t have to care what they think of us. If we do not click then we simply block or unfriend them until we do find those people we click with; our tribe.

I am not sure how many of you have tried opening up to someone else online, but it is less intimidating not having to look someone in the eye when you share your deepest thoughts and emotions, especially if there is a chance you might be rejected for them.

So, the benefits of being a catfish include:

  • a safe place where the lonely can open up

  • finding validation for your true inner self

  • a place where an outcast can find friendship

  • an outlet where online acceptance can increase self esteem

But, there are many risks to catfishing. Sometimes the risks outnumber the benefits.

Some catfish experience internet addiction because these online friendships are the only support they have. They have to spend more and more time online or texting with strangers which takes away from real-life experiences they could be having. Catfishing also sets people up for continued rejection because once the other person figures it out, they often want nothing to do with the catfish. This loss fulfills the catfish’s idea that no one wants to be their friend and they end up feeling more isolated and more alone. If you are a catfish, you do not have to pretend to be someone else.

You are enough.

Here are some easy ways to meet your emotional and social needs:

  • Do what you love you’ll run into others who love the same stuff you do
  • join a club or meet up for a topic that interests you
  • volunteer one day a week at an animal shelter
  • volunteer one day a week at a food pantry
  • Doing something that benefits others increases our self esteem, relieves our depression, and helps us connect with others.
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How is your inner critic doing today?

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We have all done it… maybe it is making a typo, maybe it’s forgetting something…and we respond with:

  • I am so stupid 
  • I’m an idiot
  • I can’t believe I’m so dumb

And we get angry at ourselves, and for what? Being human?

The consequences of this constant inner criticism include:

A fear of others including an inability to hear criticism from others without either becoming angry or feeling like a victim. Poor self-esteem leads to anger, fear, and sadness. 

People who struggle with poor self-esteem are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. These people are also more likely to earn less money per year and are often unable or unwilling to ask for raises or seek out better employment because their fear keeps them frozen. 

 

The good news is that low self-esteem can improved and it all begins with a little thing called Self-talk.

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Critics of the “self-esteem” movement think this is all there is to it, but that is far from true.

While getting a hold of our habit to constantly insult ourselves, the real key is figuring out our own particular way of making a difference in the world around us.

For some of us it is:

  • participating with animal rescue groups
  • delivering meals to shut-ins
  • volunteering at your child’s school
  • being a poll worker
  • driving the elderly or disabled to vote
  • running a Facebook page for your favorite cause
  • and this could go on without ending

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Self talk is only the beginning. If we could all feel good about ourselves just by telling ourselves we are good people then we would not need mental health workers 🙂

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I am Walter Mitty.

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I admit it, I daydream. Secretly I think we all daydream…and daydreams fascinate me. There is a quote which goes something like, “If you want to know where your heart lies, look where your mind wanders”.

Some of us daydream of being ridiculously wealthy or a hero of some sort. Some of us day dream of being super strong or incredibly important. For some it’s having the ideal body or being beautiful beyond our competition. The list of what we daydream about could go on forever…but for most of us, there is theme…something all of our daydreams have in common. Strength, beauty, power, acceptance, and wealth. Wow…to have all of those traits…and in our daydreams we can.

Some of the lucky few even get to realize and fulfill their daydreams. But too many settle for the daydream and lead unfulfilled lives. With a little encouragement and a game plan, many of us can reach our dreams.

Can I help you become a race car driver? Maybe not…but MAYBE! Your dream is worth pursuing. YOU ARE WORTH PURSUING! Daydreams can be analyzed just as our sleeping dreams can be analyzed. Let me help you reach your personal brass ring.

No, I may not be Danny Kaye or Ben Stiller, but I can sure daydream like them 🙂 I am Walter Mitty

Why I am a psychotherapist

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Young teenaged girls across the world think that they have nothing of value to offer the opposite sex (and sometimes same sex). Their self-worth is entirely tied up in their sexuality. These girls want to fit in so badly, they want to be liked. Sadly, they think the only way that boys will like them is if they give up sexual favors. What many of these girls do not realize is that they are often giving up a piece of themselves that they can never get back. They trade their sexuality for short-term (often very short-term) acceptance from the very people who tell them that they are special or, “the one”.

Some of these girls learn much too late that those promises of friendship and acceptance were lies. They move from one person to the next seeking validation and love, but it always seems to come at a cost followed by abandonment or rejection. Most of these girls learn much too late that the promises of love and affection were lies just to obtain sexual favors.

These girls develop self-worth issues, poor self-esteem, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment, difficulties attaching to others in a positive or healthy manner, sometimes these girls avoid forming close relationships in order to not be abandoned again. Many of them believe that there is something wrong with them, that they are somehow defective.

I am here to tell these girls that there is hope. They do not have to feel shamed any longer. There is another way. There are people out there who believe in them and support them. I am one of those people.