I hate you.
March 6, 2006 4:50 PM   Subscribe

What do you do when you're stuck in a persistive state of misanthropy?

there is no more inside
posted by keswick to Health & Fitness (44 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
I took antidepressants and am no longer a bitter old fuck.
posted by tristeza at 4:51 PM on March 6, 2006

I took antidepressants am only sometimes a bitter old fuck.
posted by jdroth at 4:55 PM on March 6, 2006

When I realize I've been hating on my fellow man for way too long, I try really hard to remind myself to see everyone as a person, rather than an annoyance. I know it sounds kind of silly and trite, but it really works for me. Fucking idiot Carol doesn't grate quite so gratingly if I remind myself "she's a sad, lonely person and her only friends are her family and they're only her friends because they have to be and Christ it must suck to live in her skin sometimes".

Of course, sometimes it sucks to live in my skin, too. But antidepressants (Paxil, specifically) gave me those weird brain shocky sensations, so "visualizing the buttheads as human" it is!
posted by ersatzkat at 4:58 PM on March 6, 2006

(In my case, anti-depressants == over-the-counter St. John's wort, ~1000mg/day. Makes life less exciting, but I don't want to throttle people. Also, it I'm also a lot more pleasant if I have my entire life in order: house clean, bills paid, no outstanding obligations. Also, whiskey helps.)
posted by jdroth at 5:00 PM on March 6, 2006

I bar myself in my room for a few days, reading and chilling out.
posted by stray at 5:01 PM on March 6, 2006

Anti-depressants can help. So can faking it -- just pretend that you're not a misanthopist. Even if just for a short while. Choose to check your impulse to ascribe the worst to people. In fact, try to assume the best of everyone. Resist making any snide, sarcastic, or cynical remark that comes to mind. Let someone merge in front of you in traffic. Pay someone a compliment every day -- including yourself. Make eye contact with cashiers at stores, bus conductors, waitresses -- smile and say "hello" or "thank you." Hang out with toddlers and dogs, possibly at the same time. Find a new reason every day to considery yourself lucky. (I, for example, consider myself to be the luckiest person on earth -- because I've had cancer and have a connective tissue disease and hemophilia. Why so lucky? Because, frankly, I could have been dead by now.)

After a week of such wide-eyed nonsense, you may find you actually like the reduced levels of stress and negativity. You may feel more relaxed from not clenching your teeth or hunching your shoulders quite so much. And if you don't, you can always go back to being a bitter old punk.
posted by scody at 5:09 PM on March 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I go out of my way to do something nice for someone, even if I have to pretend to like the person in order to do it.

Sometimes I hide out for a while and watch either uplifting (hoping I'll catch the feeling myself) or shoot-'em-up (vicariously shooting all the bad guys) movies until the feelings pass.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:15 PM on March 6, 2006

I took anti-depressants and I am much less of a disagreeable bitch. (And you folks truly crack me up, LOL.)
posted by bim at 5:18 PM on March 6, 2006

Spend time with good-natured children, either relatives or perhaps by volunteering somewhere. Don't treat it like a chore, treat it like playtime. Watch. Participate. See things from their perspective.
Even if you hate kids, eventually their boundless energy and enthusiasm will infect you. They instinctively know something we all have forgotten as we became adults. Life is what you make it, and it's easy to make it fun.
Medicating your blues away is for chumps.
posted by nightchrome at 5:19 PM on March 6, 2006

I participate in a SHOUTING THREAD on Metachat.
posted by heatherann at 5:22 PM on March 6, 2006

Call me Ishmael. Some years ago--never mind how long precisely--having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people's hats off--then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
posted by clockwork at 5:26 PM on March 6, 2006 [3 favorites]

Anti-depressants and therapy together.

Life is too short to be a self-indulgent bitter prick, despite the temporary satisfactions it provides.
posted by tkolar at 5:31 PM on March 6, 2006

Practice random acts of kindness. I used to think it was a cheesy idea and felt / sometimes still feel that I was/am faking it. But who cares? It was interesting to see that I could simultaneously hold loathsome feelings toward my FellowHumanKinds and still do nice things for them. Over time, I've noticed that the specific act doesn't matter so much. What matters is putting myself in a receptive state of mind so that I'm more likely to notice when a random opportunity for kindness arises. I suggest giving it a trial run for three or four days. You don't have to have anything specific in mind. Just remind yourself occasionally throughout your day to be on the lookout for an opportunity to practice a random act. You'll be surprised at how many opportunities begin to arise when you are looking for them, and what a difference a subtle shift of mental focus can make.
posted by Zendogg at 5:34 PM on March 6, 2006

I enjoy it.
posted by dame at 5:40 PM on March 6, 2006

That's what bars are for, no? If a beer and a Jack back don't improve your outlook, try another.

Making your way in the world today
Takes everything you've got;
Taking a break from all your worries
Sure would help a lot.
Wouldn't you like to get away?

All those night when you've got no lights,
The check is in the mail;
And your little angel
Hung the cat up by it's tail;
And your third fiance didn't show;

Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to be where you can see,
Our troubles are all the same;
You want to be where everybody knows your name.

Roll out of bed, Mr. Coffee's dead;
The morning's looking bright;
And your shrink ran off to Europe,
And didn't even write;
And your husband wants to be a girl;

Be glad there's one place in the world
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
You want to go where people know,
People are all the same;
You want to go where everybody knows your name.

Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;
Where everybody knows your name,
And they're always glad you came;

posted by paulsc at 5:42 PM on March 6, 2006

Just to follow up on scody's (excellent, as always) answer, when an acquaintance of mine was feeling this way I told him that he was required to smile at at least one old person, toddler, or dog on his errands walk that day. He came home telling me that it really helped him put his funk in perspective that day, and it broke the spell. I only say that because it's something that has worked for me - just realizing that what's bothering me is not all that there is in the world.

Antidepressants are very helpful too, if you can take them.
posted by matildaben at 5:48 PM on March 6, 2006

Love the Moby Dick comment; too bad it's 150 years out-of-date!
posted by jdroth at 5:51 PM on March 6, 2006

I try to figure out why I'm getting down—i.e. what it is that's causing me to lapse back into depression—'cause that's almost always the root cause of my own misanthropy.
posted by limeonaire at 5:57 PM on March 6, 2006

Embrace your inner misanthrope. Wear black. All the time. Read H. L. Mencken and Louis-Ferdinand Celine. Watch W.C. Fields movies. Go to a bright sunny public park and scowl at people.

Pretty soon you'll be so sick of yourself you'll have no option but to buck up. Works for me.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:59 PM on March 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Fuck anti-depressants. They are not for people who hate others; they are for people who hate themselves. While I understand that Paxil, etc. can be diagnosed for a variety of purposes, its insane to me (though entirely unsurprising) that the go-to answer for about 80% of the people in this thread is prescription drugs. That's absurd, and frankly NOT a long term solution. Adaption happens. Brain chemistry changes. The anger remains.

Changing attitudes is a very hard thing to do - which is probably why so many people clearly prefer the drug band-aid to the hard emotional work that actually heals the wound - and by far the hardest step is recognising that something has to change. The only surefire way I've ever heard to change attitudes is to first change behaviors. If you ACT like you like people, and are friendly and courteous, you will eventually BECOME friendly and courteous. Cognitive dissonance, and all that. Its not easy, but it can be done. It took alot of work for me.

Also, if you work in the front of a resturaunt, quit. Or helpdesk. Or really any job that routinuely puts you in contact with morons. It will help enormously. (Ok, I'm not all the way there). I find that people with jobs that put them in constant contact with an endless stream of strangers are driven to either extreme of empathy - misanthropy or canon-worthy altruism. There is no middle ground. Since you are clearly not of the latter type, if you are involved in work of this nature, you need to leave it. Seriously.
posted by ChasFile at 6:09 PM on March 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

Also, it I'm also a lot more pleasant if I have my entire life in order

I find this to be a real key to contentment. It's something to do with control - when my living space is a mess and there are outstanding obligations, bills, issues, phone calls, people waiting on stuff, I get that spiralling-out-of-control feeling that makes me miserable. When everything is in its place, that feeling recedes. It's a really superficial solution, but seems to work.
posted by BorgLove at 6:16 PM on March 6, 2006

A damn good espresso pump and a little meditation keep dong resin out of jail.
posted by dong_resin at 6:20 PM on March 6, 2006

Chas -- You've got it all wrong, dude.

A lot of it is chemical imbalance and can run in families. And there may be other things involved like OCD stuff and such.

Nobody hates themselves. They're just trying to get back to their real self.

Though I must say that you seem to be a tad harsh and judgemental. Have you ever suffered from deep long term depression? Have you ever taken anti-depressants? Things may look a little different -- if I read your profile correctly -- when you're older and out of school and in the real world. :)

But by all means, rap on...
posted by bim at 6:25 PM on March 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the responses. I *am* on anti-depressants at the moment and they help with everything but the misanthropy.
posted by keswick at 7:32 PM on March 6, 2006

My naturopath/homeopath/general-herbola connections recommend a liver cleanse for anger issues.
posted by weston at 7:33 PM on March 6, 2006

I'm going to endorse Chasfile's last paragraph. If you are working any sort of customer service job, tech support, waiting tables, find some other line of work.

Since anti-depressants aren't working on this aspect, it may well be your environment.
posted by Charlie Bucket at 8:12 PM on March 6, 2006

I prefer to think of it this way -- people suck, so really there's nothing wrong with misanthropy.

Except babies. You should always smile at babies and small children; the real world will get to them soon enough so you might as well give them a break while they're still small.
posted by clevershark at 9:12 PM on March 6, 2006 [6 favorites]

Get a dog. Their unconditional love for humans helps us realize that we aren't total assholes.

My naturopath/homeopath/general-herbola connections recommend a liver cleanse for anger issues.
posted by weston at 7:33 PM PST on March 6

Is this a joke?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 9:56 PM on March 6, 2006

Talk to someone who you like for a while. Surely there must be at least one person who you don't mind talking to?

Let's face it, most people suck. And they'll treat you like crap. For fun.

But there are some people who won't do that, and those people are our friends. Sometimes they can make us happy just by being there and reminding us that not everybody's a shithead.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:14 PM on March 6, 2006

Misanthropy is the natural response to most of humanity. It is not a disorder that requires medication. Love who you can, to hell with the rest.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 10:24 PM on March 6, 2006 [2 favorites]

Let's face it, most people suck. And they'll treat you like crap. For fun.

That is shit that came out of a bull.
posted by scody at 11:22 PM on March 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

Bookmark this link — snorting with laughter tends to short-circuit the disgust.
posted by rob511 at 2:05 AM on March 7, 2006

That is shit that came out of a bull.

Ok, I guess I was in a bad mood when I posted that. Most people will not treat you like crap for fun. Some people will, though. I think that stavros probably did a better job of saying that I wanted to say on that subject.

However, I stick by my original advice that one of the best ways to deal with misanthropy is spending time talking to people who don't suck.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:06 AM on March 7, 2006

I read or listen to or watch something that I love. And I think, "yeah, most of humanity sucks, but we produced Kurt Vonnegut/Johnny Cash/Grant Morrison/Larry David/etc." That honestly makes me feel better. Or I channel the misanthropy into some sort of creative outlet (a guitar and a distortion pedal are nice here). Or I talk to my wife about how stupid the kids who live on the other side of our duplex are (they leave 12-packs of beer sitting outside their door in the Minnesota winter, causing the bottles to freeze and explode! Repeatedly!), and at least feel justified in my misanthropy.
posted by COBRA! at 7:09 AM on March 7, 2006

If nothing else, read this. It makes misanthropy fun.
posted by COBRA! at 7:55 AM on March 7, 2006

I go visit happy places where beautiful, likeable people live: Amelie. Sports Night. Northern Exposure (great show, terrible DVD package).
posted by booth at 7:56 AM on March 7, 2006

Learn to like yourself, or at least things about yourself. Embrace traits in others that you respect that differ from your own. Tolerate those people that you can. Realize that you can live a fulfilling life outside of the people who aren't tolerable or can at least live for the time away from them.

I like cats better than dogs because I hate when people are happy all the time and put on a good face. Cats are great because sometimes they want attention, and sometimes they just want you to fuck off after you get them a snack. It's honest and refreshing to see an animal be so honest and obvious.
posted by mikeh at 9:05 AM on March 7, 2006

I've started defending the people I'm cursing.
"What a shithead" gets answered with "know what? you did the same thing yesterday" or "she doesn't know her bag is sticking in my chest, and anyway it's not a big deal to move over 6 inches".
I might be schizophrenic, though.

Also, things we hate people for won't matter at all when we are dead.

posted by hellbient at 9:06 AM on March 7, 2006

I often do something similar to hellbient. It helps to realize that most people are being annoying due to cluelessness rather than malice, and to realize that you can in fact change not only your outlook but the actual physical situation.

For example, the other night in a bar a friend and I were sitting at a long communal table, and a group of very drunk sorority types plopped down at the other end and shoved their bags and take-out food out of their own way -- right next to us. The one purse wasn't particularly in our way, but it just felt like this thoughtless violation of our space, and my friend launched into a rant about how inconsiderate people were (and he was totally hoping they'd hear him). I looked at the purse and just pushed it back toward the girls, not agressively, just in kind of a "Oh, your purse and pizza must have gotten away from you, here they are back" way, with a smile. They looked over, actually saw us as people, and apologized.

My friend looked sheepish, realizing that rather than complaining and working himself into a later, he could have actually just fixed the situation in twenty seconds. (And that his "all people suck!" reaction had been just as thoughtless as their actions.)

I'm not going to pretend that I don't ever rant and rave about the idiocy of humanity, but I think that most of the time it happens when we're not willing to interact or ask for what we want (politely!). You'd be amazed at how willing people are to be nice, once they're asked.
posted by occhiblu at 9:54 AM on March 7, 2006

I'm available for parties. heh.
posted by racist dunk-tank clown at 11:11 AM on March 7, 2006

Read Florence King and revel in it.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:07 PM on March 7, 2006

racist dunk-tank clown! How I've missed you!

*throws baseball*
posted by scody at 5:18 PM on March 7, 2006

I enjoy it.

And I read Penthouse for the articles.

I have the opposite problem from misanthropy: I like most people but dislike humanity. Most people I meet love humanity in theory, but hate most of it's members.

I often do something similar to hellbient. It helps to realize that most people are being annoying due to cluelessness rather than malice,

I don't know. Oftentimes, when I actually listen to people and hear where they've been and what they've seen and done, I'm less prone to be judgemental about them. Judgementalness seems to spring from adolescent arrogance and a need to feel somehow better than those around you, when that's rarely true. We're all just creatures stumbling in the dark. Cut eachother some slack.
posted by jonmc at 6:30 AM on October 12, 2006

Just wondering how things are going for you, keswick.

To try to answer your question, I smile at people. It's dopey, yeah, but sometimes a person will smile back (yeah, only sometimes). And someone smiling for the sheer joy of it is a sight to behold, and worth the onlysometimes.
posted by carsonb at 4:55 PM on November 28, 2006

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