Posts tagged with "self-destructiveness"


A while back, my ther­a­pist asked, “Do you think Heather will love you, regard­less of whether you’re active­ly con­tribut­ing to the rela­tion­ship?”. I told him I was­n’t sure, cause I was still try­ing to under­stand the con­cept of uncon­di­tion­al love. As a child, my par­ents told me they would­n’t love me if I was­n’t a good boy, and a good boy would do exact­ly what they want­ed. The affec­tion they doled out was direct­ly relat­ed to how well I did in school, or how much I impressed oth­er par­ents. They used it as a tool to con­trol me, and this dynam­ic has influ­enced my under­stand­ing of rela­tion­ships to the point that it feels like I con­stant­ly need to be mak­ing efforts in them (or they’ll decay).

So my ther­a­pist instead posed the ques­tion, “Do you think Heather will love you, no mat­ter what?”. My first reac­tion was one of con­fu­sion; I heard the same ques­tion as before. When I real­ized it had com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent impli­ca­tions — would Heather still love me if I was an axe mur­der­er; if I was racist; if I burned the house down; if I did­n’t love her back — it dawned on me that I was pro­ject­ing this mon­u­men­tal require­ment on myself to be con­stant­ly mak­ing efforts towards the rela­tion­ship. It was­n’t an expec­ta­tion Heather was bring­ing, but my own; one I pro­ject­ed on her due to my child­hood trau­ma.

To real­ize that I was doing this in such a spe­cif­ic and sig­nif­i­cant man­ner was a shock. My mind inad­ver­tent­ly made bounds in log­ic, and every time Heather said, “I’ll always love you”, I would hear, “I’ll always love you, as long as…1

Continue read­ing “pro­jec­tor”…

  1. It blows my mind to know that Heather’s love for me isn’t con­di­tion­al, that she loves me deep­er that I’m even able to under­stand at the moment. []

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.

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.


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. []

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 []