Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Self Abuse

In our bookstore we have categories -- of course -- and within self help, we have self-grief, self-addiction, and self-abuse. 

It's a common adage that one must love oneself before one can love others. Self-love. Isn't that the same as self-abuse? Not in this essay. Self-love can certainly include touching, but self abuse could also be used to describe how one might use their mind as a psychological punching bag. Why do I have such a difficult time forgiving myself for many events and situations that I have no control over? These are all rhetorical questions, because if I knew the answers I'd shave the top of my head, and become the next Dr. Phil.

The holidays were crazy-busy at the bookstore, which put me behind on the calendar of events, which is the paper and online calendar, email blast, and event posters. I said I'd go into work for a couple of hours on Saturday, voluntarily, but my wife had been sick all week, and I never seem to have enough time with my son, so I opted out of going in. I then proceeded to beat myself up for failing myself. I'm not talking pummeling myself à la Ed Norton in Fight Club. I'm talking about giving myself a mental torture treatment, instead making a decision and moving on.

Ed Norton, perfecting the art of self-abuse.

I was scolded by my ex-wife after returning our son on Sunday, for not adequately helping him with his homework last week. I had misunderstood the assignment, but that's no excuse. That call put me off my reading for the night -- reading interruptus. I closed my eyes, and tried to find my happy place, but I had lost the map. Instead, I ended up winding my way through Sombertown for the rest of the evening. It's impossible for outsiders to know what you're going through. You may carry the look of anguish on your face, but they don't know that in your mind, you're being stretched on the rack, water-boarded, and left to dry.

I try not to live in the past, but I am connected to all of my past pains. It's certainly an unhealthy attachment, but I obviously have a lot of pain yet to be purged. I still hurt inside from my own perceived wrongs against siblings, parents, friends, and spouses. Sometimes I am, without a doubt, my own worst enemy. If one doesn't want the pain of past memories, then one should choose the right behavior initially. Easier said then done, for most of us I would hazard to guess. Why isn't there a category within self help called self-control?

I don't need New Year's resolutions. I need daily affirmations, because I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!...sometimes.

Stuart Smalley, facing his inner demons.

2 comments:

J.M.E Lacan said...

I like you a lot. You are a good person. I am working on just forgiving myself no matter what. Even if I was a total asshole and wrong. Sometimes I am an asshole and wrong. I fucked up many times, and I cringe at memories of my bad behavior. But I've suffered enough. Of course I still torture myself, but I am working on pulling my punches.

Hayduke said...

Leaving the past behind is never easy, since it's part of our makeup. Thanks for your kind words.