The Self-Pity Paradox

In the self-pity paradox, a distressed person interprets any attempts to reassure them as further evidence of the very thing that’s distressing them. For example…

Red Queen: No one ever believes me!

Alice: Well, I do.

Red Queen: There you go again! I say that no one believes me, and scarcely a moment passes before you’re disbelieving me again.

Alice: I’m not! I said that I do believe you.

Red Queen: Precisely! If you believed me, then you’d have agreed that no one believes me.

Alice: But if I believe you, how could I agree that no one does?

Red Queen: Wretched girl. You have no idea what it’s like to be Queen. Everyone contradicts me – and you worst of all!

Alice: I do not!

Red Queen: You’re doing it again! I assert that everyone contradicts me, and you assert otherwise – contradicting me yet again!

Alice: Fine, then. You’re right. No one believes you, and everyone contradicts you.

Red Queen: I knew that already, stupid girl. I’m the one who just told you so.

11 thoughts on “The Self-Pity Paradox

  1. Well, the queen at least exists ! Russell’s barber, the one who shaves everyone who does not shave themselves, is totally unable to determine the truth of his existence.

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