I Genuinely Hate People, But I Can Be Charismatic and Persuasive

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Reader’s Question

I genuinely hate people, at a core level.

This creates an amount of constant anxiety which I’ve been treating with a combination of Zoloft (50mg/day) and Klonopin (2mg/day). Klonopin helps greatly with the anxiety, Zoloft helps to calm the racing thoughts I have, and then every once in a while I’ll smoke marijuana because it helps to “rest” my mind.

I believe the anxiety and hatred are deeply related. Either the anxiety is so bad that I start to hate the people I’m with or the hatred is so strong that I become anxious and want to leave. I don’t know which is the precise cause, I can only describe this anxious feeling that I get whenever I’m around people. It’s like I start to get anxious, and then start to despise them. I start findings faults with everything.

This has caused me to become completely detached from my family in almost every respect other than business. I don’t enjoy being around them, and although they respect my intellect, accomplishments, and both parents have strong parental instincts that help them to love me, they wouldn’t otherwise. Worse yet, I don’t ever find myself reciprocating any affection.

The longer I get to know a person, the more I start to hate them. Not to sound totally nuts, but I feel like at times I’m an optimist: I really hope that the next person I run into will be different, but they’re not.

I am fairly intelligent, and can be extremely charismatic and persuasive, especially in the realm of business. I’ve owned and operated three companies, and now I work for another and just made partner. I can come across as extremely sincere, but I’ve learned to keep a distance from almost everyone, especially those who care or confide in me. This enables me to fill in the gaps of their personality with “good” behaviors, which helps me to think more highly of them and eases the interaction.

I’ve had more girlfriends than most people. My sex drive is very strong, although Zoloft knocks it down quite a bit. The girlfriends I have usually end up hating me. There’s never really a reason why. I speculate that it’s because I develop a hatred of them.

I also understand that the best part in life is not stuff, it’s relationships. You can’t interact with “objects” or just live with animals, although for the first time in my life I’ve developed a strong attachment to my dog. With this in mind, I often consider ending my life, but I guess I stick around because I’ve learned to enjoy accumulating more stuff, more power, and really hope that I’ll be able to find some kind of drug that will give me empathy and take away this hatred.

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My overall state of mind and the severity of the anxiety and the hatred fluctuate back and forth from not so bad to very severe about six times a year. This led my first phychiatrist to diagnose me with bipolar disorder.

I just want a fix. Do I need to talk to a psychologist? I’ve tried that before and got no results; they gave me very generic advice and wanted me to talk about my past as if it’s something I’d never done before. I think about it ALL the time, reanalyzing every moment over and over and over again.

What can I do?

Thank you,

– Jim A.

Psychologist’s Reply

Jim, the problems you describe and more, the way you describe them, suggest to me that you have a particular syle of attachment, of relating to people, that the pros call ‘dismissive’. I can’t be sure about that without testing. If you want to understand whether this problem stems from a biological disorder like Bipolar or a developmental style such as an attachment style, then seek out an attachment expert at the local university and get tested. The outcome will direct the treatment in one of two totally different directions.

If it is Bipolar, then the primary treatment is medical. If it is developmental — i.e., it is part of your personality to have this problem — then long term intensive treatment could be useful. It sounds like you could afford it, I don’t know if you could tolerate it. If not, then I encourage you to think about the optimal outcome you might expect from changing your behavior but not your outlook on life and others. If it means that your intimacy is limited, then be realistic about it. Be honest with your lovers. As you say, they will learn who you really are in time anyway. Be honest with them from the start. It isn’t nice to make a victim out of someone who who loves you.

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