Reducing the impact of a vice isn’t necessarily trying to eliminate it. We will probably always have at least a fraction of our childhood vices still in us. Instead, try to funnel it into something good, utilizing it differently to accentuate its potentially positive reciprocal.
Couldn’t sleep at all due to the endo pain but was able to fill eight pages in a random notebook with this before typing it up. Help me sleep. Please.
I have long maintained that many beautiful concepts have deep tragedies to them. I see, acknowledge, and appreciate the oft-ignored nooks and crannies of experience and of being, a strong witness to their darknesses, shadows, and the gems enveloped (or even later produced) by them. I’ve come to believe it’s part of the INFJ type, and perhaps among the reasons we are nicknamed “the Mystic” is because we are likelier to be privvy to the otherwise lost or forgotten gifts of deeper universal significance.
My personal outlook on this has taken a long time to develop. Aspect I share with others that I saw as valuable, beautiful, or forgiveable in them were not in myself. I couldn’t see my victories — small or big — as events or processes worth celebrating but congratulated others for things they themselves reportedly saw as minute gestures. Much of this stemmed from self-loathing, feelings of worthlessness and futility. I had higher expectations for myself than I had for those around me, marginally so. But I criticized my efforts, thoughts, feelings, and conduct in ways completely counterintuitive and ultimately counterproductive to growth. I was angry at myself for imagined attributes I didn’t really have or attributes I associated to others in completely inaccurate ways. I think it’s pretty normal for children and younger adolescents to make faulty connections like this. Normal but unhealthy and sadly, I’d say unhealthy habits, thought processes, self talk, etc are all extremely normal, even in adults.
Having C-PTSD and growing up with abuse from pretty much all directions however, I took those faulty connections to some pretty devastating extremes. (Trigger warning: Disordered thoughts – eating disorder + c-ptsd & casual descriptions of SI behaviors)
On accountability and the benefits of remorse, its surprising relationship (or lack thereof) to shame, and thoughts regarding working towards making a better future for ourselves by learning from our past.
Note: I use past tense for some people who are still currently in my life as I am going to eventually separate myself from them by legal means. This is a process so it takes time but want to clarify that emotionally, I am finally done letting my remaining toxic interpersonal relationships affect me. That being said, you can love someone still and know it is an unhealthy relationship and thus separate yourself from them. This will be another post at a later time but some notes on toxic interpersonal relationships here.
I have made many egregiously bad choices in my life. Among them are selfish and destructive choices I feel rightfully guilty over, such as the long-term and vile harassment of another person online, spurred by insecurity, both self-loathing and conceit, and self-righteousness. Another is blatantly dismissing the testimonial of an abuser’s little sister who had entrusted me with the secret that her older sister had broken her arm. This should not have remained a secret, and she and I both suffered for my denial of a very real problem. Out of more self-righteous thinking and behavior, I have meddled in situations that are not mine, further worsening some people’s circumstances in the process. While I would like to think they were purely well intentioned, I know my self-righteousness and own feelings of victimization have played a huge role in these particular actions, which is a major reason why my approaches to helping have sometimes caused further damage instead. Little works in crises when one is letting their inner (and still-hurting) child lead the way.
These wrongs that I committed hurt and even worse, potentially traumatized or helped traumatize others. My guilt here is justified and teaches me to not commit these sins again. Guilt is a positive emotion when it is about true heartfelt remorse. It is inspired by awareness, both of self and others, accountability, and is more central to ethical behavior than religion or law. The reason for this is that guilt is an internal measurement, and regardless of whether someone is more extroverted feeling, like me, and pays close attention to external rules and cues, or is more of an introverted feeler and pays close attention to internally formed rules and cues, guilt is what betters all of us socially when, like all discomfort and pain, we choose to grow from it.
For someone whose auxiliary function is extroverted feeling, (Fe), I learn too slowly. I effect change too slowly. And when I am unusually sick or stressed, I sometimes fall back on unhealthy and harmful behaviors, often again spurred by self-righteousness and unresolved feelings of victimization. I do recognize the urgent need to stop it, as those behaviors help no one and cause more hurt than resolution. I raise my voice, and when I say “raise my voice,” I mean I yell when I get angry. And I become someone I myself can’t stand because I know I am causing hurt, and for reasons that at the end of the day, conflict with the behavior. I want people to listen and understand because when I yell, I feel hurt and ignored or misunderstood. But I know – when I am thinking rationally – all anyone does when they yell like that is hurt others and themselves. That’s why I have asked people to tell me when I am starting to raise my voice, so I can check myself and quiet myself down. It’s no one’s responsibility but mine, but I lose awareness, the sight of the goal (positive inter & intrapersonal development), and rationale in the heat of the moment and still need external reminders to calm the f*ck down. I have only gotten loud like this in the past three years. I’ve come to realize why but reasons for an unhealthy behavior do not and should not ever be confused with excuses. Still, unlearning this has been hard, and I have made only minimal progress since it was brought to my attention almost a year ago. Guilt, or perhaps the more specific term and meaning — remorse — is powerful and can greatly help to rectify bad behavior, but it is not the lone motivating force. I am making progress however and through identification and an implementation of coping skills, I hope to make this a past behavior more quickly.
Guilt vs shame
There is another feeling many people may relate closely to guilt – I used to too – but I caution strongly against making them so close. I can’t really remember where I first learned of the vital difference of meaning of these two words, but I know that actually proactively learning the difference took a long time even after. I do remember staring at the worksheet/handout in my early teens, trying to sift through events and circumstances in my head while utilizing the words’ very different meanings but having great difficulty in doing so. (Note: TRIGGER WARNING for disordered thoughts, including thoughts related to disordered eating and sexual trauma.) Continue reading “The commitment to move forward & guilt vs shame”
Human beings are appalling and cruel and selfish and beautiful and flawed and complex and immature and I both hate and love that I love and value human beings so much. I can neither vilify or idolize, but I think the intensity of both my pain and love confuses others. Let me clarify this for you: When you are stalked — hunted as a wounded hare — a rabid dog at your heels and you hear their breath down your neck, you learn what a hungry, sick animal is capable of.
We may have our technological advances and our philosophical ideas, but we are still animals. We can be frightened, traumatized, sick, and weaponized too – and, moreover, as the human animal specifically, when frightened, traumatized, and/or sick, we have the unsurpassed ability to both consciously and subconsciously weaponize ourselves.
First, let me state:
I have never liked the term “bullying” when it comes to a student’s peers. It diminishes the effect of their abuse and harassment. There are definitely an infinite amount of “grades” (as in severities) when it comes to “bullying,” but many of these “grades” are enough to damage a person. I understand we are all responsible for our own actions, but even in CBT the general consensus is that you can control your thoughts and invariably take charge with your feelings, but feelings themselves are natural and often do what they want.
Let me begin simply by saying you are no longer welcome here.
Your abusers’ language and actions are motivated by a voracious hunger for control, lack of conscience and/or lack of empathy, and deep insecurity. Thus, with me having recognized this, your abusers’ behavior will no longer find my empathy, fear, or obedience. I am not yours to do with what you want. I am not yours to damage.
I am simply not yours.
The people whom you’ve saddled me with have all had problems; it’s true. No one would try to destroy someone else out of a healthful self-love. You’ve sent me ruins of trauma. You’ve sent me shells of people. You’ve sent me killers, rapists, pedophiles, torturers, and bone-breakers. You’ve sent them my way and promised me to them as a way out. But you must understand, traumas, you don’t have that right, and you don’t have my permission.
Let’s get some things straight.
The way I have reacted to you has not been free from guilt or scandal. I have hurt people myself. I have acted impulsively and have even tried to exact revenge–a laughable concept, by the way, since revenge still puts me under your control even though I am tied to it by my own responsibility. I’ve walked down that path and have jumped that bridge. You cannot kill me through me.
That being said, I have attempted suicide in your wake–many times. I have been hospitalized in wards and hospitals both medical and psychiatric in your wake. Many times. I have slit my wrists, overdosed, tried to drown, tried so suffocate, tried to choke myself to death because of how I’ve felt with you.
And consider this:
I am still alive.
There is a girl whose birthday is in a few days. She just found me on facebook, although I’ve only had a facebook under my real name for… less than a month? You remember her, traumas; I know you do. She groomed me well as a kid and early teen: isolating me, hounding me, controlling me, manipulating me, breaking me day in and day out for years. She may have been abused. I do not know. At this point, I do not care. She has had a hard life, I know, and at this point, I do not care. I cannot care. I must be indifferent, traumas, because you will understand this:
Nobody owns me.
I care about the people who could become like her, sure. If I had different neurochemistry and a different situation, I could easily be like her. We all could. But I don’t pity her, and I certainly do not owe her empathy. I do not wish her ill. I no longer wish for her to understand what she has done. She will never understand it, just like I’ve learned I will never understand her. But I don’t cater to or cower beneath these caustic crowds anymore. I don’t feed the snakes, as I’ve learned a lioness needs no pride but her own.
I have a birthday coming up soon, too.
My twenty-fourth is the first birthday I am excited for. One of hopefully many more.
So, goodbye, traumas.
You’ve granted me wisdom and understanding I sometimes wish I never had but am better for. I am still learning; I am always learning. You come back; I come back harder.
You aren’t going to win.
We all know the internet can be a hive of chaos. People are always at each other’s throats, throwing cheap insults back and forth, deriding and degrading and dismissing others and their feelings. We all should know by now that cyber-bullying is a real problem, not only at school level but generally speaking, as well. The internet provides not only a mask but a barrier, a wall: You can hurt someone without being caught, you can hurt someone without punished, you can hurt someone without seeing them cry.
I have to wonder if people saw the effects of what they do, if they would continue to do it. Looking at a still of someone crying or watching someone crying in a video against multiple attackers is different to most people than being in a room with only themselves and someone else, hurling insults at that someone else until they see them break down.
Would it be different?
Hurt people hurt people
I just read in a specific article that “trolls” are more likely to suffer from mental illness. I can see this as being true but extremely irresponsibly written. Many people think of mental illness rarer than it is or of it being different than it is. Up until 12 years old, I thought going into partial-hospitalization or full inpatient would mean seeing kids my age in the corner, rocking to and fro, and sobbing to themselves. Turns out, I’m the only one I’ve known who does that. Ever.
But I know I wasn’t alone in my gross stereotyping. When NAMI itself points out that 1 in 5 adults in the USA are expected to struggle with mental illness in any given year, you have to start rethinking it.
When I first heard that statistic, I fervently disagreed. I disagreed because so many consumers of mental healthcare are so fiercely misunderstood and ostracized, that I couldn’t wrap my head around it being so common.
But a lot of people go undiagnosed or without help.
And I could talk about this forever, but what I’m trying to get at right now, is that so many people are lacking in happiness in health. Everyone’s so angry. People are acting out with rage towards strangers. It’s not because they are mentally ill. It’s not that the mentally ill are somehow “worse” or more “evil” than “neurotypicals.” It’s that there is a ton of unresolved pain and malnutrition in the world, both of which literally lead to depressive symptoms. The problem is not the mentally ill or even mental illness. The problem is how we approach pain; how we deal with it; how we don’t–how so few people get help.
One of my counselors in partial told me when I was around thirteen or fourteen years old:
“Hurt people want to hurt people.”
See though, I don’t believe that. I myself am in a lot of pain and while I admit to vengeful impulses, I rarely ever actually want to hurt someone. It’s more a matter of “hurt people hurt people.” It’s often subconscious, e.g. someone having a bad day goes to a grocery store and flips out on the cashier because the cashier dropped something. Normally, they wouldn’t give the cashier a hard time. But they let themselves be influenced by this bad day.
Taking responsibility for your actions is always important. But when people refuse self awareness, it becomes more complicated to them, and they are likelier to hurt someone out of retaliation for something else.
The goal is to be assertive. You have the right to express your needs and express your feelings. But next time you have an impulse to lash out or say something hurtful, remember to ask yourself why and ask yourself what effect will it have. We are all hurting, mental illness or no mental illness. We all have bad days. How are you so much of an exception that it’s okay for you to spit venom and for no one else to spit venom on you?
Think about it.