Stellaris

This game is impossible. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

stellaris 5 - This game is impossible. I don't know what I'm doing wrong.
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So, so far, i've racked up 33 hours in Stellaris and I have no clue what I'm doing wrong.

I know how to play the game and make my empire function excellently–for a few hours. I've encountering several issues that are knee-capping me harder than anything, and all of my workarounds have failed.

Before they inevitably get posted, No, I am not using any marauders, advanced AI, or anything like that. I'm on Ensign difficulty, and have no AI mods. Habitable planets are at 3x and hyperlanes at 1.5x. AI aggressiveness is normal. I've basically made my attempts to make this game as easy as possible without being trivial.

More or less, the AI seems to defy any semblance of logic or reasoning. I've formed a federation with an empire I was very close with, only for me to declare a war they had no part in, win the war, and after winning the war and signing the treaty, the federation was gone and they became hostile to me, despite having been on my side and friendly with me during it.

This empire, mind you, was 'Pathetic' in just about everything besides economy, but by the time I checked them when they became hostile very suddenly, they had become overwhelming in all respects, and began rapidly claiming all of my neighboring territories.

I've spent upwards of 10 hours in single sessions meticulously plotting my advancement and expansion, setting up resources as efficiently I can so that I can get +100 gains to just about everything ridiculously fast, and pump out 8k+ military power fleets like they're candy. Despite that, however, every single empire is still overwhelming in all 3 categories. This happens extremely fast, faster than I can catch up to even with an absurdly efficient setup, and completely leaves me unable to win before midgame even starts.

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Resources will randomly change how much Im getting/losing, jumping from +40 energy credits to -116 in legitimately one month's time in-game without any transition between the two, capping my resources in the knee with no source. I can hover over the icon of the resource to see what takes up so much, but this menu fails to explain to me why the numbers are there, only what the numbers are, which is useless information.

Likewise, diplomacy and trade is basically a useless function in my games, as I can often only trade 1-2 types of materials, with all other options besides communication ones immediately putting the trade modifier to -1000. I could be at +200 by dumping resources to a faction, but request one type of material or one planet and immediately it becomes -1000

tl;dr

I don't know what I'm doing wrong. Resource gains/losses randomly changes in extremely drastic ways, AI diplomacy is broken and its impossible for me to get ahead of NPC empires without them being perpetually overwhelming no matter what i do.

Please help. I want to enjoy this game, I have fun when i'm playing it, but that fun is immediately crushed the moment the game begins building momentum, wasting large blocks of hours of my time because my progression ends up getting kneecapped.

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