I'm a bit confused. I had a rather crappy childhood. Very disfunctional family and lots of bullying and abuse both at home and at school. It kind of made me very distrusting of people. I learnt at a young age that people would hurt me, let me down, abandon me and could not be trusted.
Many people seemed to not like me for no particular reason other than that I was not a stereotype of how a boy should be in the culture in which I grew up. It really knocked any confidence out of me and I ended up hanging out with other misfits, fell into the wrong crowd and had a drug habit for many years from my teens to my late 20s.
I had a string of failed disfunctional relationships and seemed to have an inability to form healthy supportive ones not only on an intimate level but also friendships. I eventually met someone who stuck around for longer but they left in the end which really broke my heart.
Half way through that relationship I started practicing insight meditation the kind that Joseph Goldstein and others of that ilk teach. Its been approx 7 years now I think. So anyway I thought that buddhism might help me to be a happier person, more compassionate, more kind, more accepting etc but the truth is I don't feel any of those things.
I'm actually a recluse now at 50 years old as I cannot tolerate most people. I've cut out any friends I had and I can't stand my family at all. My niece is getting married but I'm not even going because I don't want to be around people and all the crap that is involved. I'm actually very lonely and think about how nice it will be to die sometimes. I hate my work because I feel im capable of so much more but because of my lack of confidence and self belief I don't try to do something else. I have been this way for so long that it's virtually impossible to get any decent work now because I have this really sketchy work history and people don't give me a go and so I never can get anywhere financially. No money, no friends and hate my family. So what is the point really in continuing on. It's all just this never ending uphill struggle and I'm sick of it.
What im confused about is how I can appreciate the teachings of Buddha and practice meditation but at the same time be this miserable lonely misanthropic person. I realise I have created these conditions but they are the result of my reactions towards people and how I felt and still feel so unsafe because of abuse etc. I have lived with maladaptive coping mechanisms that have protected me on the one hand but ruined my life on the other.
I wish I could leave the city and live on some beautiful land somewhere surrounded by nature but it's not possible because of money. I feel like a caged animal just waiting for my time to end. I do have some nice calm moments and feelings during sitting sometimes but I don't feel free. I don't even want to practice metta etc because I just don't like people. Only being honest. I feel completely different about animals. I love animals and feel very kind and compassionate towards them but people just annoy me with their egotism, vanity, superficiality, stupidness, ignorance, need I go on. So my question is how can I utilise buddhism and meditation to effect some real positive change because so far it's not working. I seem to be getting worse.