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obsession is the tip of the iceberg

June 26, 2012

Siderea’s comment seemed to be telling me something I was missing. Another friend pointed out my blind spot, which I’ve been thinking about ever since, finding more and more connections to things. At this point I think I could write a book about my epiphanies.

When I wrote the intensity post, as I delineated the steps involved, I was consciously thinking of two main events and one minor event: one major event was 22 years ago, and the other major and the minor events both occurred in the last two years. But now I’ve unearthed several more events that fit this profile. And it’s clear that the fundamental problem extends so far back into my past that I may have been pre-verbal when it began.

I’m being very gentle with myself as I’m inquiring to see if I have any memories of it.

But something that I do remember happened when I was still quite small. The memory is quite vivid in all of its horror. It was so deeply traumatizing I’ve never told anyone about it. I have tried, repeatedly, to forgive myself, but so far I haven’t managed it.

Today I realized that this trauma can’t have been the original event. Because if it had been the first time I was traumatized, I would have sought my mother to soothe my distress. But about this thing, I never ever did that.

I don’t think I’m ready to describe the entire event, but I’ll try talking around it. I’m pretty sure I was only three years old; I was playing by myself, in a neighbor’s backyard. (Where was my mother? Where was the neighbor?) I did something, in all innocence. When I was done playing, I went home and told my mother what I’d been doing. This is where things get a little fuzzy, and I’m starting to feel faint and panicky thinking about it. My mother laughed as she explained that what I had done was something terrible. I don’t remember her exact words but I was somehow made to understand that what I had done was monstrous. I believe it was my own conclusion that that must mean that I was a monster. It’s always that word that I come back to: monster. Only a depraved utterly vile abomination could do what I had done.

At this point in my internal narrative, I always want to scream. I want to cry out that I was only three years old! I didn’t know there was anything wrong with what I did! I would never have done it, if I had known!

But it’s not enough.

I can’t make reparations to the other being involved because they died. I killed them by accident.

And now I’m sobbing.

My mother thought it was ridiculous that I was so upset. So of course I didn’t go to her for comfort.

Even though I was only three years old, whenever I think about this incident, I’m filled with self-loathing. I’ve apologized to many other of the same beings that I’ve encountered, but it’s never enough. That one is still dead.

When I’m having a bad day, or a bad year, I inevitably start crying about how my own family-of-origin doesn’t love me. And I’d just as inevitably find myself thinking, “Well, of course they don’t. I’m a monster. How could anyone love me?”

So I find things outside of my self that are appealing, and I pursue those things, hoping I can find a way to make myself lovable. The way I reach out to those things, or the people connected with those things, is offering to provide services of some kind. I always manage to find a type of service to offer that is agonizing to me, but I tell myself that if it works (‘making’ them love/like/appreciate me), it will have been worth it. Except that they are never interested in my first offer. So I keep upping the ante, hoping to entice them.

When we get to the very last round of ‘negotiations’, they reject everything I’ve offered, but they suggest something completely unthinkable. It’s not just agonizing, it’s fatal.

But sometimes I have accepted it, not realizing the cost. And I’ve always had to renege on it, else I would die.

And then I feel conflicted that I had to ‘disappoint’ someone by asserting my (no doubt ridiculously overblown) needs.

I am aware I had a narrow escape, but I feel like I don’t even deserve that. Because I’m a monster. And monsters don’t deserve anything. Monsters live on sufferance. They don’t have rights, they have privileges that can be taken away at any time. Nobody ever likes them, but sometimes people pity them. Very rarely, an unusual person might be kind – but don’t count on it! And I certainly have not been able to count on kindness.

What my family of origin taught me to count on includes complete disinterest in my entire life. If I manage to make myself useful, then I might be worth keeping around. But I am never valued or appreciated for what makes me me. Most people don’t have any idea what any of that is. And they are not interested in finding out.

Hence, my agonizing offers. Because if someone is considering one of my offers, then I’m – temporarily! – not invisible. So I’d better make the best of it!

When I walk away from Final (Unthinkable) Offers, their assessment of me as a failure and a flake affects my own self-image. I feel diminished. I have failed yet again to ‘make’ someone care about me.  I’ve drawn closer to them, but they never even moved a muscle closer to me.

Some day, down the road, I’ll circle back around, trying to entice them (or someone like them) again. It never works the way I want.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Kathy permalink
    June 27, 2012 11:27

    Picture, if you will, another small child. Make sure it looks nothing like you.

    If that small child were placed in the same circumstances – outside, playing, unsupervised – and its innocent play brought about the same results…

    …would you label it “monster”?

    • June 27, 2012 15:39

      No, I wouldn’t.

    • June 27, 2012 15:51

      In fact, I would probably say, “people aren’t monsters. Only behavior can be monstrous.” But then, if there are not monsters, obviously I cannot be one. Weird that I never noticed that disconnect before.

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