Yes, I know I’ve been behind in blog posts. Sometimes, sadly, life interferes, and I don’t always have posts “in the chute” ready to be posted. I try to keep 3 days ahead, but sometimes I just can’t. Some of it, comes from the fact I am still struggling with the chemical damage to my brain from the last 20 years of abuse (both self-inflicted, and inflicted by those outside myself). Some days it’s all I can do just to stare at the wall, let alone actually motivate myself to do anything.
I had a plan to be able to visit my boyfriend this weekend, even more importantly because his birthday is coming up (Monday, but we were planning to celebrate this weekend). Yesterday evening, after the vehicle had been working fine, suddenly it wouldn’t start. I had planned to make an early start of it, and be with my boyfriend no later than noon today.
We’re working on fixing it, hoping it’s something simple, but there’s always that little niggling demon in the back of my head saying, “you know, this is YOUR fault. You’re not allowed to have good things in your life. You need to be continuously punished.”
It’s a struggle I know that a lot of people go through. It doesn’t really matter the reason we’ve ended up seeing ourselves as undeserving or worthless, whether it is trauma, shame, loss or whatever set of bad things that have led us to believe we’re just not a good person – it’s just the fact that somehow we’ve developed a self-image that paints us as the villain in our life.
It’s even developed a name. It’s called “Imposter Syndrome,” and it hits pretty much a wide range of people – from those who succeed to those who self-sabotage and fail.
There’s a quote that shows up in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” that I can’t seem to get out of my head. Of course, that’s part of what makes a good TV show for me – if it makes me think, it’s good. Anyways, it’s out of Season 7, Episode 7 (Conversations with Dead People). Buffy is getting ready to fight a vampire who she went to high school with, but who went on to college to become a psych major (and yes, he gets in a bit of armchair psychology in the midst of it).
The quote is: “Until you can’t win. And I thought I was diabolical or, at least I plan to be. You do have a superiority complex. And you’ve got an inferiority complex about it. Kudos.”
It doesn’t matter if you were raised to believe you were/are better than the average human being, or if you were told you were the scum of the earth. One end of the spectrum means that you’ve internalized expectations other people have had of you, and think that you can never even match (let alone exceed) those expectations. The other end of the spectrum is people who HAVE exceeded the expectations others have placed on them, but have also internalized that external assumption of worthlessness.
I’m kind of somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. I have been told my entire life that I am smarter than the average person, and that much more is expected of me because my random genes simply came together to give me a higher IQ. But, I’ve also perceived of myself as being treated like I was the intellectual imbecile of the family. My logic was never good enough, or was too emotionally based, or in some other way found lacking. I was, actually, a fairly typical middle child. I could never be good enough to be my sister (who I perceived as being the “perfect one”), so after a while I simply quit trying to be her. And while I was ‘the baby’ until I was 9, my pre-teen and early teen years were focused on being told I needed to be responsible for, and a good role model for my younger brothers.
And, sadly, during the teen years, I was seen as being the ultimate “follower.” I was told pretty much the entire time that I was far too influenced by peer pressure, and should learn to stand on my own two feet. Problem being, of course, I was often the one leading the pack in poor choices.
Add to that being told by every doctor, dietitian, and psychologist that I went to during my childhood that I was lying about my food intake (and being blamed for any food disappearing in the house – even when it was my sister), that leads to an awful lot of self-doubt and self-blame.
The problem is, of course, that in overcoming those things, I became risk-adverse and resistant to change – particularly resistant to positive change.
I’m making changes to myself. I’m trying to overcome those tendencies I learned in my younger years. But every once in a while, it smacks me in the head out of no-where. And I respond to it in 2 different ways. I either get a) depressed and hopeless that my life will ever get better; or b) pissed as hell that I can’t seem to have anything I really want out of life.
I don’t know which is worse, honestly. The depression is hard, but the anger blinds me to solutions. It makes me want to bull my way past obstacles, where a more measured and logical response would be better.
I just have to keep trying.