Posts tagged with "self-destructiveness"

leave the bottle

I needed to feel a dif­fer­ent pain. I needed to reassert myself. I needed to change my body from the one he knew.

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I’ve been killing it. Nights that bleed into morn­ing, pots of cof­fee, retail ther­apy, English ales that drink like meals. The blood doesn’t faze me any­more. Instead of slowly slip­ping down the spi­ral, I’ve decided to fall all the way so I can climb back up.

Sometimes you have to tear your­self down before you can start rebuilding.

Images

This week I’ve been see­ing images when I wake up in the mid­dle of the night. Usually in the form of slow, flesh rip­ping decap­i­ta­tion, or bul­lets enter­ing non-vital parts of my body, like my arms. Not of self-mutilation but muti­la­tion of the self. These images, in some form or another, have fol­lowed me my whole life, and went away after I started ther­apy1. Now they’re back.

There’s been a new one lately though.

I have a one-inch thick, two meter pole through the heart, stick­ing out per­pen­dic­u­larly to my body in both direc­tions evenly. My heart and lungs have grown and healed around this pole, and even a gen­tle impact on either end, due to the mechanical-force mul­ti­ply­ing nature of the ful­crum that is my heart, could dis­rupt my organs and kill me.

So as I’m try­ing to fall asleep again, I see myself going about any reg­u­lar day, stum­bling around with this unwieldy pole, hop­ing I don’t trip, and no one bumps into it.

  1. Or per­haps, co-incidentally from something/someone else. []

Bloodletting

Dying is an art, like every­thing else. I do it excep­tion­ally well.

—Sylvia Plath

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I’m in a tran­si­tion phase. Living in self-destruction. Building tol­er­ances to all the wrong things. Picking my scabs. Shedding skin. Killing a lit­tle bit of myself every day.

Trying to get it all out of my system.

Psychoanalytic Reflections 04

My anx­i­ety is now under con­trol1, so my ther­a­pist and I have moved onto other issues.

It’s funny that I started going to ther­apy for my anx­i­ety attacks, but he keeps dig­ging up issues I never knew that I had.

Not that any of it is as debil­i­tat­ing the way the anx­i­ety attacks were, but it’s made me real­ize that they have affected my qual­ity of life. All of it stems from my par­ents (as opposed to being teased, some kind of inci­dent, etc.). Once again, I say that I don’t like to blame them, but the glar­ing fact is that I can now trace every issue back to my childhood.

The idea of a self-destructive pat­tern whereby we repeat the pain of our child­hoods is called a life­trap. They’re cat­e­go­rized dif­fer­ently, depend­ing on the school of psy­chol­ogy one pre­scribes to, but my most sig­nif­i­cant ones (i.e. rated “very high”) are emo­tional depri­va­tion, depen­dence, unre­lent­ing stan­dards, and puni­tive­ness. When I first started, I also had pes­simism, but this has mostly gone with my anxiety.

I’ll touch on two of them now:

Emotional Deprivation

  • One of the things that sparked the real­iza­tion that I didn’t have a reg­u­lar child­hood was when I was asked to fill out a diag­nos­tic ques­tion­naire. I was told to rate how strongly I felt about the state­ment “I have not had some­one to nur­ture me, share him/herself with me, or care deeply about what hap­pens to me”. I thought to myself, “That’s nor­mal? People have that?”.
    • This is why I feel alone and detached from the world. It’s not quite as clean-cut as this, as there are a bunch of other issues that fac­tor into the issue, but it’s an over­all feeling.
    • Until that point, I never con­sid­ered the idea that such peo­ple exist. I assume the par­ents are sup­posed to fill this role, and even­tu­ally a spouse.
    • In many peo­ple with emo­tional depri­va­tion, the life­trap man­i­fests itself in rela­tion­ships where they remain emo­tion­ally dis­tant. For me, it’s more of a dif­fi­culty com­mu­ni­cat­ing to my girl­friends about my needs, and then feel­ing dis­ap­pointed when my needs aren’t met.
      • This makes me won­der how cer­tain rela­tion­ships would have worked out if I was a dif­fer­ent per­son and didn’t keep break­ing up with my girlfriends
      • Unfortunately, I could write a book on this.

Unrelenting Standards

  • I’ve real­ized that I’m still being too hard on myself. This stems from the expec­ta­tions put on me as a child, or sim­ply the fact that I think being unsat­is­fied with stag­nancy is healthy because self-improvement makes me a bet­ter per­son. Most likely, a bit of both.
    • Sometimes I have to com­pare myself to some­one like Pat to give myself per­spec­tive on this issue. He’s a per­son who hasn’t “achieved” much when eval­u­ated by my stan­dards, but he’s happy and that’s what mat­ters. It makes me ques­tion what I’m try­ing so hard to achieve. I think of an old Calvin and Hobbes strip, where Calvin says, “It’s hard to argue with some­one who looks so happy”
    • I under­stand that it’s the pur­suit of great­ness, not great­ness itself, that should make life worth liv­ing, so when I have this self-destructiveness as a result, it doesn’t quite make sense. I’m work­ing on this. It helps me to keep a quote by Charlotte Cushman in mind: “To try to be bet­ter is to be better”.
    • A side effect is that I’m too hard on other peo­ple because I project my unre­lent­ing stan­dards on them as well.
    • A lot of peo­ple tell me that I wouldn’t have had so much pres­sure to be the best and per­form well if I wasn’t an only child.
  1. I don’t say solved because I don’t think one can com­pletely elim­i­nate anx­i­ety []