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I'm incredibly stupid, want to improve but don't know where to even start.


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I'm stupid; I heavily lack communications skills and the ability to hold strong, meaningful opinions...and have a terrible vocabulary. I want to improve, but where do I even start?


I dropped out of school at the age of 13 - I am now in my late twenties. Growing up, I didn't have any friends. I grew up in an incredibly toxic environment, with an abusive father that would constantly step all over my self-esteem, by gaslighting me into believing that I was too old (at the age of 22) to learn anything...how my life was now over...how I didn't have many years ahead of me left to live anymore... So I never even considered going back to school.


I was depressed and had severe social anxiety, so I didn't get out to work. I stayed home and did commissions, while my Dad would constantly scream at me and remind me of how much of a failure I was. I also didn't have my own space - he could barge in at any moment and scream in my face - be it at 10pm, or 4am.


He seems sorry for his wrongdoings sometimes, and I've forgiven him for things he wasn't sorry for, but it's damaged me in so many ways. I'd given up on so many skills as a young adult, because it distorted the image I had of myself, and I also kind of just lost interest in any and everything. I lost the ability to enjoy activities I once loved.


I'd made a few online close friends along the way - one I've even been friends with for 15 years now. But my self-esteem has crumbled so hard in the last few years, that I'm too afraid to even talk to them directly. I'm alright with communicating via emails because that means I can read my message over and over again, hoping it doesn't sound stupid.


I've tried watching scientifical documentaries to stimulate my brain, but all the scientific terms go over my brain, and most of the information feels like too much for my brain to take in, and I end up zoning out.


Where do I go from here? I really want to better myself, but I don't know where to even start. How do I improve my communication skills? How do I stimulate my brain? I feel completely lost. Right now, I'm like a walking vegetable. How do I start from zero?


It's so bad, I've considered dying several times...I'm tired of living such a meaningless life. It has crossed my mind today as well, how great it would be if I just didn't exist... I feel like a complete waste of space, but I also don't want to give up on myself completely just yet, and so I'm looking for help... Therapy right now isn't really an option due to financial reasons.


I'd truly appreciate your guidance. Thank you in advance.

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Hi iRawr,


I'm sorry that you had to go through so much trauma during your younger years. By forgiving your father, I believe, you are able to move onwards and turn your life around.


A friend of mine started studying in her 30's and finished that with a master's later on in life. Someone else I know changed careers (quite a radical shift in careers) when lots of people wouldn't have dared to. A guy I know, who initially seemed unlucky with women, eventually married. Walt Disney had a very rocky road to success (https://www.biography.com/news/walt-disney-failures). I've got plenty more examples that show how it's never too late to turn your life around.



1. Who do you want to be like?

2. What do you need to do to get there?


If you want to learn how to be better and improve yourself, check out Tom Bilyeu's Impact Theory. (https://impacttheory.com/episodes/) I'm a huge advocate of Tom Bilyeu as he interviews different people that have impacted others in a positive way and / or radically turned their life around. Another recommendation, John C Maxwell as he has written (easy to read) books on how to communicate with others successfully.


The best way to turn your life around, in my experience, is to immerse yourself with reputable content and then actually apply what you are learning in your life. You only need one book to get started.


So, step 1: Go to the nearest library. Borrow a book that speaks to you and work through it every single day. Step 2: Start eating healthier and dress better. Trust me, this does wonders to your self-esteem! Research Tan France as he has helped plenty of men dress better the easy way. As for eating healthier, Jamie Oliver (amongst so many chefs) show you how to prepare relatively inexpensive nutritious meals.



Lastly, if you want to, you can document your journey on the journal section of this forum. So you have an idea of what I mean, check out some of the journals written by others in this forum.


You can do this!! :D

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I'm sorry to hear that you had to deal with all of that - it sounds awful. I' similar age, am a

really bad socially and also have no real skills, so I understand in that sense.


To be honest, I don't think I can give any better advice than the above post by Greendots- and I will look into taking that advice on board myself (unfortunately I'm quite depressed at the moment so it's tough to stay motivated). I do hope it works for you. Feel free to chat any time :)

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Go to a doctor MD. Start there. Get to social services and apply for assistance with housing, food, healthcare and career training. You need to move out and cut the father off. Do you have any other family you can confide in? You can start by getting your GED online. You need to research some ways to help yourself, your depression and get away from the abusive situation. Google: "Stockholm Syndrome". You need to reach out to agencies and service that can offer real and practical help, not online email buddies.

Therapy right now isn't really an option due to financial reasons.
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First step is you have to remove the word stupid from your vocabulary. All people are a combination of things they are stronger and better at and also things they are really bad at. Strengths and weaknesses. No person is all smart or all stupid - that doesn't exist.


Second step is stop looking at other people and what they have, what they are good at and trying to copy them. Their lives are not relevant to you and what you are good at. I know this is really hard, but you have to start noticing what it is that you are naturally good at. What's easy for you? This is unfortunately where you really have to work at yourself, work at turning off that toxic criticism from your father and learn to look at yourself in a positive light, start noticing what you do well no matter how small it is.


Finally, if you want to improve your vocabulary and that's something that will make you feel better about yourself, it's rather simple. Start reading books. Any books, anything that interests you - can be fiction, can be fairy tales, can be murder mysteries, fantasy, biographies, can be literally anything. Reading builds your vocabulary and it doesn't need to be painful, you can read what actually catches your attention, what interests you, what excites you. Did I say anything? Anything. You will need to put in a little bit of work into it in that when you come across words you don't know and can't figure out from context, look them up. It will be hard at first, but you'll be surprised how quickly you stop needing to do it and how much your vocabulary expands.


Finally finally stop being so hard on yourself. Reading scientific journals, studies is hard even for the scientist who wrote it. It's boring, dry, technical and everyone needs a pot of coffee or two to get through that. My point is, don't create expectations for yourself that even those who write the articles can't live up to. Some things are just difficult so don't expect them to be easy and then put yourself down because difficult things are difficult. It's hard for everyone, not just you.


Learning overall is hard. No exceptions. Even when you are good at something, there will still be challenges. Let's say you find out that you are good at math. Doesn't mean you'll just coast through all of it. You will encounter challenges, you will hit times where you struggle and don't get something and have to really really work at it, get help, get tutoring, etc. That is all normal and doesn't make a person stupid. If you can wrap your mind around that, you can fix your life.

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I'm sorry, iRawr.


Are you faith based? If you are, try joining your local church virtually. There are online sermons and people are gathering online virtually, face timing, etc.


You are not meant to soldier alone as humans are tribal. You need support, prayers and people who genuinely and sincerely care for you.


You need to surround yourself with people who know how to be empathetic. Birds of a feather flock together.


If you're not faith based, then join virtual groups (during COVID-19 pandemic) and get involved with the activities you once loved.


I hear you about gaslighting. I grew up with gaslighting all my life. Gaslighting is horrid. Gaslighting caused permanent estrangement. Surround yourself with people who possess the highest integrity and know how to behave like moral, honorable, decent human beings.


If you want to improve your communication skills, read A LOT. During this pandemic, libraries are closed. However, you can borrow e-books online. Read books on grammar, vocabulary, communication, autobiographies, books on learning, special interests such as activities you enjoy, etc.


Contact your local government agencies and seek opportunities for yourself, trade school (vocational), upward education, etc. You need to start somewhere.


This is how you learn how to communicate effectively. Most importantly, communicate with people who know how to communicate.

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Do not entertain ideas of harming yourself because it is never the answer. If therapy is not an option you can try talking to a pastor at a nearby church and get free counseling and encouragement for a start. They do help and sometimes helping you “clear your head” can set you to a path of helping yourself. You might also want to try reading the book “Strengths Finder 2.0” by Tom Rath. It will help you zero in on what your strengths are. It says somewhere in there that people try to improve their weaknesses which sometimes doesn’t really do much. Instead capitalize on your strength and apply it in an area where you have a better chance of succeeding. Some people who lack communications skills are actually visionaries or methodical and were able to create successful small businesses.

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You're clearly not stupid - your post was well-written and structured, and you are obviously capable of introspection. You need to find yourself some help to work on the damage your abusive upbringing has caused. Contact your doctor (via a telehealth appointment right now) and ask for referrals to a therapist; a therapist will, in turn, be able to make other recommendations for you. Good luck!

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  • 4 weeks later...
I'm stupid; I heavily lack communications skills and the ability to hold strong, meaningful opinions...and have a terrible vocabulary. I want to improve, but where do I even start?


You are far from “stupid.” In fact, your original post shows that you are (1.) able to express yourself clearly and efficiently, and (2.) you have the capacity for self-reflection.


Believe it or not, some graduate students I work with (people working on advanced degrees at some of the most prestigious schools in the world) have less capacity for introspection than you.


Right now, you are likely thinking that I am making all of this up. That I am only writing “nice things” to make you feel better – to cheer you up. → This is likely your low self-esteem talking, ignore it.


I truly believe in what I wrote above. You clearly have potential. Please start believing in yourself more.


I’ve tried watching scientifical documentaries to stimulate my brain, but all the scientific terms go over my brain…

This is normal, and happens to all of us, no matter how much education we have. If you like the topic just stick with it. Keep watching/reading. Try to ignore what you don’t understand and focus on getting the “big picture.” Eventually more and more of the details will become familiar and make sense.


Also consider mixing a lot of different materials on this topic you enjoy. If you want to learn about dolphins, don’t just rely on one documentary. Try to find different sources to mix in. There’s no shame in using textbooks meant for schools. When a topic seems confusing, you can even start with simple english Wikipedia article – they are very well written articles, in short and clear sentences.


Let me provide you an example from my own life: when I first tried to understand French philosophy – the looooong sentences made my head spin. I would read a page and not understand a single thing. After some time I would start to zone out, exactly the same as you! It seemed impossible to understand these “great minds.” I felt that I was just “too stupid” to get on their level. It was very discouraging.


My professor told me to stick with it, and just focus on the big picture. He said something like: try to write one simple sentence per page about what “you think” the main idea might be. In other words: I wasn't even expected to be correct about this “main idea,” in fact, I’m sure I was often VERY wrong. The point was to try, not to be perfect.


The more I tried the better I got. Over time I understood these difficult books, which at first seemed impossible. You can get there too, one step at a time.


Where do I go from here? I really want to better myself, but I don't know where to even start. How do I improve my communication skills? How do I stimulate my brain? I feel completely lost. Right now, I'm like a walking vegetable. How do I start from zero?


First, you are not at zero. You have clear potential and real skills (as I wrote above).


Second, if you desire one, clear step you can take today, here it is:

Get this book: “Educated” by Tara Westover. I think you will find a lot of inspiration in her heartbreaking story. You are not alone.

If money is tight, and you can’t afford it, write me a private message, I will get it for you.


Third, give yourself time. Life is not a race. You don’t need to “catch up” to anyone else. For example, I am not a better human than you because I read more books than you. Go at your own pace. Start with topics you find interesting and accessible, you can gradually move on to more difficult topics step by step. When you are ready, consider enrolling in a “school program for adults” – if this is an option in your country.


Get to social services and apply for assistance with housing, food, healthcare and career training. [...] You can start by getting your GED online.

Wiseman2, maybe it would be best to determine where this person is from before giving country-specific advice on education and welfare (GED, etc.)

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Educated guess based on the fluent usage of american English and typical american English idioms and colloquialisms. My advice to this poster is excellent and I stand by it.

Why would you just assume OP is American?
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