Why are people told that bitterness is the cause of their problem, when in actuality it's the result?

I am sorry but the dating scene is just too fucked up and puts too much pressure on people. Even the best of people are becoming bitter. I mean personally, based on how I am in other respects, you wouldn't think that I would suffer from this, and yet this is one of the very few topics in which I have became very bitter.

The funny thing is it's not as a result of experience, but actually lack thereof, and even more prevalently, abundant internet and forum usage over the past half-decade.

That is what has jaded me and has caused me to get into therapy. Which, you know, I don't want to get into a long discussion of my issues. That's not what this is about and frankly you folks won't be able to do anything about it (and is something I am working through personally between my therapist and I).

The OVERALL question I have is why do people tell others that bitternesss is the cause of their problem, when usually it's the RESULT. They weren't bitter before whatever negative experiences/failures they encountered, but after. And yet they're criticized and told, "Get over yourself and the reason you're not getting anywhere is because of this attitude," when in actuality that attitude was the RESULT of not getting anywhere and wasn't present before.

Additionally, as a side-note, this sort of tough love is just not good. I don't believe in "tough love" personally. It's just a naive excuse to be unsympathetic and bash people.


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Most Helpful Girl

  • The bitterness is the result of your attitude toward your experiences..

    You can't control what happens outside yourself, but you can control your perceptions and your reactions. Ever notice how some people give off a warm, welcoming vibe even when things aren't going their way? While others always manage to find something to bitch about? Sure, the latter person's complaint might be based on REAL things, but they're the ones choosing to focus on those things.

    I never had a boyfriend all through high school. Never felt like I quite fit in with any particular social group. Spent the whole four years just sort of drifting along in my small town waiting to leave. But I didn't get bitter about it.

    I spent almost my entire twenties single. The last couple of years I was trying so hard to find someone. I went on countless first, second and third dates that led to no where. I had my feelings crushed over and over again when I decided I really liked a guy only for him to "ghost" on me or tell me he didn't want anything serious. I was disappointed over and over again as I lowered my expectations more and more. But STILL, I didn't get bitter.

    Finally, after all of that, I've found a great guy who loves me for who I am, and who complements my life perfectly. I couldn't be happier. But had I allowed my experiences over the past decade of my life to taint my worldview or my view of men, or allowed myself to become bitter and jaded, I never would have met him.

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    • I am already quite bitter and I haven't even exited high school yet or had any experience.

      Going through what you did and not getting bitter seems impossible.

      I mean, I am already very demoralized and I can't imagine going through what you did. I mean, to me it's pretty much impossible to not already be bitter in high school.

      I mean you are already in a really bad state of mind after all this experience deprivation and then after all that, you had to deal with countless negative experiences? I already thought this stuff is too hard for me, but this is pretty much just... unbelievable.

      You are emotionally made of steel. I can never dream to even have 1% of that much emotional strength.

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    • You and @Bluemax were most helpful.

Most Helpful Guy

  • Please understand that I'm not belittling you when I say that I still think you're a bit young to be saying that your experience is making you bitter. I think you haven't realized that heartache and rejection are in fact the norm for most people in the dating realm. I believe that it's great you are seeking help from a professional. This leads me to believe you are one step ahead of many who never make the choice to better themselves.

    That being said, I do believe that under certain circumstances, bitterness might be excusable. Some people seem to be predisposed to optimism, and others predisposed to pessimism. There are studies that bear this out and seem to indicate that there are factors contributing to this which are beyond a person's control (neural chemistry and anatomy, personal experiences and background, etc.)

    I have noticed that what passes for "tough love" on the internet is often just stupid. People vomit out advice like, "Get over it," or "Get over yourself," or "Just deal with it" (most of which is useless in most situations, and if you don't believe me, ask any therapist if he/she has EVER used those terms in therapy... they don't) and think they are somehow helping the person when in fact they are just driving the person away.

    My advice to you, R3d_Anonymous, when you encounter these forms of "tough love" is to understand that many times these people don't know your circumstance very well and are really saying, "I don't know what to tell you," in which case you should probably stop reading and move on to someone else's advice.

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    • I am pre-disposed to pessimism then. Definitely. And really, again it's only caused me difficulties within this aspect of life.

      No I realize that they are the norm, but my problem is that I've been completely shut out and received no indication of interest at all from girls. And the other thing is I didn't know it was this severe until about a year ago.

      But anyway, that's a very nice post and I agree with everything you said, but after my exchange with @Sara413 which you can view in this thread, I think I am going to end up resigning. I just don't want to play anymore. I'll keep going to therapy of cours but... yeah... I think I am going to end up resigning from dating forever. Again you can see why in my exchange with Sara413 here.

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    • Also you're point that attractive, young, an intelligent women can also have a really hard time... by that logic I am really fucked because I'm not even attractive by conventional standards. I mean it isn't something I get insecure about anymore or dwell on rather, but it's just a fact that I am not conventionally attractive. So if anything, you mentioning the above should mean I am even more fucked, especially because women are much more likely to be affected by outside pressure telling them that they're too good to date a certain man, and/or dump him over the most trivial reason imaginable.

      We didn't even consider this. Listen man, from what angle do you think I even have a shot?

      Please, if anyone can explain to me... how I or many other men really have any potential in this brutal of a dating world... I would be more than happy...

    • You and @Sara413 were most helpful.

What Girls Said 10

  • Everyone gets rejected and feels insecure and awful when trying to find a relationship, either you fight through it or you let yourself become bitter. I'm glad you are getting therapy but the bottom line is even though things suck being bitter and unpleasant will only magnify your problems and make everything way worse. I used to be really bitter and it drove people away and only made things worse and worse. As soon as I let go of that bitterness and self pity and refused to play the victim any longer, and just owned the fact that I got rejected and it sucked but it happens to everyone and I got over it... along came my boyfriend!

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  • Most ARE bitter because of the lack of experience - so not ironic but right on point. And yeah, people can find themselves being bitter and not even realizing it but it's a huge killer in the dating world - whether it is strictly visible or not. It's a vicious circle really: People are bitter because they have a hard time finding someone to date/love, but that bitterness makes them even more unattractive and sometimes even downright obnoxious to others.

    You can compare this to the job market: Everyone wants a new employee with ad least a year of experience working in the field, but those young people can't get that 1 year experience because no one wants to hire a rookie. A vicious cycle.

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    • I absolutely love your job analogy. nailed it flawlessly. That's how it goes.

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    • @Sara413 - true, you can control bitterness, but not job availability.
      No one is going to be fooled by the 'fun' of inexperience.

    • lol "the 'fun' of inexperience"

  • Being bitter is your choice though, you choose how you react to situations in life and how you deal with them. You can learn from them and move on from them or you can stay bitter about them.

    You're right though situations do impact us but even the worst situations don't have to be a horrible experience if you don't let them.

    You're more than welcome to be how you want to be but you're not doing yourself any favors that way, it limits other people's impression of you and it limits your options of people who want to be around you. It's not really fair to new people, who have did nothing to you and most people won't want to deal with that.

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    • Again, it's mainly just with this topic though with which I am having difficulties adopting this attitude, or at least where not having this attitude is causing me the most troubles. Mainly because it's not something I've actually wanted to deal with but at the same time am kind of being forced due to our intense biological romantic/sexual needs and desires. I am sure you saw me mention that in another question.

    • And again, funnily enough my bitterness has developed from past lack of options of people who want to be around me. And now you're saying that this bitterness is going to further perpetuate this state.

      That's the whole problem, that bitterness also surely perpetuates the problem (although lack thereof doesn't necessarily solve it).

  • You are so wise... I have never been able to put this into words like you did above. I agree, bitterness is definitely a result, but it can effect other things in our lives and is a shitty fucking way to feel.

    And yes, "tough love" is generally used by people who are harsh and want to excuse their harshness.

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  • Bitterness becomes a part of the problem. A bad attitude is not exactly going to help problem is it, it just escalates it. There is s good chance they had they did not have the right attitude and mindset in the first place.

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  • just like when someone is texting at a stoplight and it turns green and they are too busy texting to go. then i get mad then they yell at me for yelling at them. SMH some people i swear

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  • Bitterness is being shitty to someone because someone else they never even met was shitty to you. It's not their fault. If you act bitter, you haven't healed and are not ready for another relationship. Bitterness will repel people.
    Also, you're 17. Live a little more before you form any set opinions. Don't read through endless posts of people being shitty to oneanother, it's like watching jeremy kyle, it's BAD FOR YOU xD

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  • I agree with you!

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  • No, they're wallowing in self pity and bitterness.

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  • The internet is full of miserable assholes and former miserable assholes. You can't trust everything you read as an accurate view of the world. The first half are just spewing their own anger and rage and the second half are trying to show the light that they found. The power of your thoughts is EXTREMELY pertinent to how you view an experience.

    Sincerely,
    Former Miserable Asshole

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What Guys Said 15

  • The thing you're missing is that that bitterness shouldn't control or dictate how you act. Its like when you break a bone, you don't just leave it in pain and hope for the best, you get it fixed, you overcome it and your bone comes out stronger than before. its like that with everything in life including dating. You can't always win and you might run into 100 bad dates before finding the 1 good one, unfortunately that kind of numbers game is only dictated by who you are and how you're able to deal with it. If you're bitter then it affects your future actions due to past events you went through. You should learn from experiences, negative and positive that you go through but holding on to negativity in the form of bitterness is a self defeating cycle much like anxiety or depression can keep you down if you never confront your fears and issues. I don't believe in tough love but I believe that ultimately you must be able to stand on your own two feet and try. If you don't let go of insecurities or bitterness, it's something that will follow you for the rest of your life.

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  • Bitterness is not the cause or result of problems. Bitterness is a personal choice people make. They can just as easily choose to be happy. However, that is not how the media shows people how to handle situations. TV shows use this as a way to stir our emotions so we come back and keep watching their programs and movies. That is not the real world. It does increase viewers which increases what they can charge to advertisers. In the end those unaware of what this is doing to the personally end up paying for it. And so does everyone this bitterness touches. What is the point in being bitter, anyway?

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    • "Bitterness is a personal choice people make"
      That's mostly true. It isn't always true.

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    • @Bluemax The question is about being bitter. That is a choice! Emotional effects on our bodies are different. Here is an example:
      You are bitter about a lot of things. However, the people around you that also are around the same or very similar situations are happy. Why? Because it is there choice to be happy and you choose to be bitter. When you stop blaming others for everything try being happy about the life you have.

    • Emotions aren't always a choice. Bitterness is an emotion. If you don't believe me, then why does EVERYONE feel sad at the loss of a loved one? Because they chose to feel sad? Why not choose to be happy all the time? Because it's not possible to choose to be happy all the time. Did the inmates at Auschwitz choose to be scared and sad? No, they didn't. Did the survivors choose to be bitter (and MANY of them were for decades after their experience)? No, they didn't.

      "However, the people around you that also are around the same or very similar situations are happy."
      It is foolish to think that good and bad fortune are evenly distributed. I believe I already mentioned that what you've said is mostly true. However, it isn't always true. There are a myriad of reasons why someone can be bitter, including neural chemistry and anatomy, background, etc.

  • Bitterness becomes self-sustaining. New people you meet are not to blame for your past problems nor should they have to concern themselves with your baggage.

    The dismissive attitude and criticism fails because it's making the right point in entirely the wrong way. More useful is to consider using the failures as a learning experience so you know what to do differently next time, but that required more thought than just blaming the unhappy person and taking no real interest.

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  • I agree with you in regards to that first experienced result causing a person to become bitter, but I think the expression comes in when that person is now bitter and their bitterness is affecting all the potential ahead of them.

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  • Because it's a cheap shot that people can't resist, it's the easy answer, it's bullshit.

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  • You make some good points. Bitterness is the result of rejection. But it may also play into future rejection, which only reinforces the initial bitterness. It becomes a self-sustaining entity. I suppose the key would be to try to not project that bitterness outwards. People only perceive what you show them, so if you show them bitterness thats what they'll associate with you. All you can do is feel whatever it is you need to feel and then decide how you want to project it. Deal with it in a constructive fashion otherwise it will make things more difficult for you down the road.

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  • I very much agree with that statement. I think part of the issue is the casual culture we've created around dating. There is nothing casual about these levels of emotions and the bonds they create (or destroy) in the dating scene. We've turned it into a instant gratification quest instead of looking for a partner.
    I will say though that "tough love" is dependent on the person and the situation. For the most part I prefer that straightforward kinda criticism as for whatever reason it just helps me understand things better. Though I know there are times where its just to much to handle. It's a fine line

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  • Because people don't want to listen to other's problems when they are expressed in a negative fashion. But I understand how you feel - very frequently I have reasons to be bitter but nobody would like me if I were to actually become like that.

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  • Look at it this way. As you started to learn chess you probably lost many of your first games (unless you also played against beginners which I wouldn't recommend if u want to get better fast) you lost your first games not because of bitterness (you weren't bitter at first) but because of a lack of training/experience. Now we are at the crossroad. In your life u probably choosed to walk the direction towards bitterness. If you had chosen this way with chess too you probably would have lost interest very fast because negative thoughts like I will never win or it's too difficult had invaded your thinking which leads to you giveing up before the game has even started. But you are good at chess which means that u always pushed yourself further and that you learned from your defeats. That's what you have to do in life too and don't throw the king too fast.

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  • Yes it is true, I'm bitter because all the girls I asked out rejected me. That is something I don't have in control. There must be something wrong in me. I never really have experience in dating and getting used to see my friends and mostly people around my age are happy with their respective relationships. Getting used to see them like that made me forget what's the feeling in love. I'm aware people are laughing at my back that I still don't have a girlfriend despite of my age. That is why I became workaholic and try to focus on other things, thinking about love life weakens and hurts so I decided to gave up on women and not depend my happiness on having a love life even if it takes me to be single and virgin forever. I'm one of the dudes out there who failed being a man. Sorry for my English.

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  • One's attitude is bad, if one succumbs to bitterness over a negative experience.

    That type of pessimistic mindset repels people from being interested in that person.

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  • You'll be bitter for a long time after any seriously damaging disappointment, not just in relationships. Is basically a social shock absorber that is in extreme rebound, it takes time to center back to a 0 position. Either answer is correct but think of it this way, people outside of it will always see it as a problem, people inside will always see it add a result.

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  • Bitterness isn't the cause of the initial issue in dating but it is for every following issue. Even if you solved all the problems that happened with the initial case it'd all still be ruined by your bitterness.

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  • I agree - we all should read the Urantia Book: http://www.urantia.org/

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  • If you are a man, you are told that everything is your fault, that you need to look in the mirror and stop being a loser, cry baby, and so forth. That despite your experiences, people on the Internet somehow know you better than yourself, and that you have inherent privilege. Doesn't matter how you feel or what happened to you, that is irrelevant.

    If you are a woman, you get a big break, and people tell you that your problems are the cause of some greater systematic, institutional problem. It's always guys, or the system, or the government, and so forth. The women that do not exploit this, and actually face their problems head on, often have nowhere to turn, because they refuse to take the easy way out. They are often accused of being faux women by other women who use the easy way out.

    The real problem is when warped Internet philosophies bleed their way into real life. When people start to treat people in real life the way they do in their virtual cesspool hugboxes. I see signs that's starting to happen too often. I would advise you don't look at this stuff too much, you need to look at nicer things.

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