When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Space Between

Littlewing asked me; "Don't you follow the theory that if things are meant to be, they will, or that there is a reason why things happen?"

When I was a religious fanatic, the answer to that was an unequivocal "Yes." Because things were given by God with a big gift bow on them. I believed my entire life was a series of steps ordered by God and that I qualified for this privilege because I was a righteous man.

I've lost touch with that innocence. Mainly because I'm not so righteous anymore. (The actual Christian definition of 'righteousness' is; being covered by Christ's righteousness because we all suck anyway and can never be righteous enough in our humanity. How do you get covered by His righteousness, you ask? You repent and accept His death for your sins. Then you live your life aware of that and you try to live up to Christian principles--the chiefest of these is Love One Another As You Love Yourself.)

Hmm, I thought I wasn't so righteous until I typed out that definition for myself. That is still my religion, and I still believe it. So Littlewing, thank you ... you're right. I should settle down. Worst-Case Scenario Man should have no power over me.

Yesterday in therapy, I got a huge insight for why I fall into these worst-case scenario traps. I do a lot of "all or nothing" thinking. A person is either ALL good or ALL bad. That's not possibly true, but it's how I find myself acting. It isn't as if I think they have and always will be ALL good or ALL bad. I just think that in the moment, they are being either ALL good right now, or ALL bad right now.

For example, My Hero. To me he is ALL good. His actions are purest of pure. His heart beats truest of all true. And that's obviously not possible, seeing that he's as human as I am. And I've been with him in his own element, and I've seen him as who he is rather than as My Hero. I've seen that he's not perfect--yet emotionally, I love the idolization that I have for him. Another example is the lamebrain driver in front of me who won't move when the light turns green. They are ALL bad. Idiot either talking on the phone, fixing their bra strap, digging up their nose, too scared to move, or what the hell ever. It makes me just hate them and want them off the road, license revoked. Obviously that's an overreaction for just a few seconds of my inconvenience--yet emotionally, I'm ready to fight. They are ALL bad.

Intellectually, I know it can't be true, but emotionally I react to all or nothing thinking. And these are the standards I hold myself to, as well. Everything I do, every word I say, every sentence I write, I want to do PERFECTLY.

PERFECTLY. All or nothing.

And if I fail, it simply must be because I suck, I'm worthless, I should not be alive, I should be someone else. Intellectually, I know this can't be true. I'm human. I fail at times. We all do. But emotionally, letting myself down is devastating. And letting someone else down is a double-dose of devastation.

And emotionally, I'd rather be alone and lonely than to let someone else down.

All or nothing.

How does a person come by this kind of thinking, boys and girls? Anyone want to guess? It's in the first chapter of your psychology books. Let's turn to the page, shall we? Ah, there it is;

[img]"HYPERCRITICAL, DISAPPROVING, AFFECTION-WITHHOLDING PARENT"[/img]

See the scowl on her face? Hear the words she says to her child? Should language like that be used on a child so young?

She abandoned me for employment so she could afford to collect me later. That was noble, but all my child's mind knew was that she left us. So I was stuck with an absentee father and subsequently abused systematically by a neighbor. That doesn't set up such a great emotional foundation. So once I moved in with her, if Mom proceeded to be angry, yell at me, and say things like "You're just like your father!" whom she left and clearly hated, then how secure of a person do I turn out to be as an adult? And how much do I dedicate my mental energy towards being perfect and insuring that I never, ever EVER let anyone else down again? Especially another woman? Especially one that I love?

Because after all, she left us the first time because I was bad.

Didn't she?

Then my therapist held up one hand and said, "All". Then she held up the other and said "Nothing". Then she looked at the space between and she said, "There's a lot of room in there."

And whaddaya know. There is.

So, I'm learning how to live where most people do. In the space between All and Nothing.

4 comments:

Littlewing said...

Alan, I hope this doesn't sound too harsh, but go read my blog and see where I have been as a child. Then stop feeling sorry for your self and recognize that you are a survivor, NOT a victim.

We can't change the past but our attitude towards it is what counts.

Be glad you are alive .....

Alan said...

Alright now, Littlewing, go easy ...

It happened when I was six, and it wasn't until I was 41 until I even recognized it as abuse.

I'm working it out with my therapist about what kind of identity I need in order to get past this, but I'm sure she would agree with you that "victim" is not what it should be.

Yet, I can't tell you that I'm a "survivor" yet, because I'm not yet healthy. And I'm not yet brave enough to share the exact reasons why I'm not yet healthy. (Yes, there are yet things I haven't blogged about! Amazing to consider, given how much I HAVE said.)

But I thank you for the encouragement. Think good thoughts my way and hopefully that day will come soon!

Littlewing said...

Alan blogs are a great way to get things out.
I also have things I haven't blogged about, they just seem so personal. I am finding out that to blog about the hard stuff helps a lot!
I have nothing but encouragement for you and forgive me if I got a little blunt!

Alan said...

Thanks again, LW. No harm done. :)