Beware, gentle catastrophyte. Actually, that sentence could and should stand on its own, but I would like to use it now to lead into another topic: thinking about death can swallow up so many good catastrophizing hours that you can forget to contemplate more immediate living disasters.
Consider interpersonal relationships once again. I make a point of regularly identifying, enumerating, and then brooding upon all of the flaws within myself. And therein lies the problem. It is possible I have irritating, off-putting, frankly repulsive characteristics of which I am unaware.
Those personal defects of which I remain ignorant are very likely obvious to those around me, indeed have beyond any doubt been discussed by those around me when I am not present. Perhaps at first my faults were seen as mere quirks; day by day, however, they became more conspicuous, more intrusive.
Most friends, wary of conflict, will not address the issue immediately, will perhaps never confront it. In that case, you will never be told how and to what degree you are irritating or offensive. Secretly, your friends will pull back from you, your relationships forever blighted by the tendencies you are blind to in yourself.
Cultivating paranoia regarding the drawbacks other people perceive in their friendships with you leads to a dizzying array of catastrophizing opportunities. Each time you sit down with a friend, remain feverishly aware of your words, your actions, your gestures. Any one of them, even the one you find the most innocuous, could be the thing about you that bothers them the most. And for all you know, that thing has been bothering them more and more, has become to them totally unbearable. Any next moment could be the moment they decide to caution you about your behaviour or sever their connection to you.
And no matter how much you have brooded, how much you have agonized, about yourself and your behaviour in the world, you could not possibly have anticipated the straw in you that broke the camel of your friendship.
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