I’m waking up and for a few blessed moments, I revel in how relaxed my body is, how good it feels to get a good night’s sleep, what a good life I am privileged to wake up to each day. But all too soon the voices start up again, as they do every morning, part of an automated routine that begins my day by doing an inventory of the hurts, resentments, insults and unhappiness-es of my life.
Why am I doing this? I don’t know where it started, why or when, but I imagine it was part of my effort to fix everything, a part of my hero complex. If I know about all the bad things, I can work on fixing them. Another benefit is that if I get all the bad things out in the open, they can’t surprise me and maybe, if they can’t surprise me, they won’t hurt as much.
Except it doesn’t really work that way. Trying to prepare myself for hurt doesn’t really make it hurt less. Also, plenty of those insults and issues on my list are things I invent from my vast pool of insecurities. So, by definition, there are no solutions. Why would I do that? Why would I put so much energy into creating things to be upset about? Well, it keeps me in a job, right? If I’m always busy saving the world, solving all the problems and fighting all the demons, my place in life is secure, more importantly, my place in the lives of those I care about is secure. A hero at rest is a hero who isn’t needed, and being needed is one of those core requirements for me. At least it has been for a very long time.
The other reason the daily inventory of ‘bad things’ doesn’t really work to make things better is that some of those problem areas, some of the friction points in my life, do not represent something I can fix. That has probably been the hardest reality to swallow in the past few years. I’ve always felt secure in my ability to solve problems, to fix things, even if it meant sacrifice on my part (and it often did as I put my comfort behind that of others). This is part of the appeal and frustration of my day job. Software development issues are mostly solvable, if I work hard enough at it. (but not always, which intrigues and frustrates the hell out of me)
Maybe that’s part of the appeal of fiction writing as well. If there’s a problem or issue in my story, it is completely within my power to fix it, delete it, write around it. Hell, I can invent completely new characters and scenarios to solve problems in my stories. I have complete control over what everyone says, what they hear, how they react emotionally. (unless the character disagrees, but that’s another story)
I don’t have that power in real life. I can’t write a new attitude into the people around me, I don’t have power over the dialog or conclusions or emotional fall-out. It’s out of my hands. Maybe especially my own emotions and reactions are out of my control. That scares the hell out of me.
So what to do about this automated routine designed to find, and create, resentments and insults? I definitely don’t want to keep going this way, where every couple of good days is followed by a harsh, negative pendulum swing. I should be able to just enjoy good things happening, shouldn’t I? Of course, I should. I understand that intellectually but I’m struggling to shut the old scripts off. This is something I’m looking forward to addressing with my therapist. And I know that this is a bit of a contradiction, that I want to try to solve the problem of inventing problems… am I just doing the same thing I always do, making sure I have problems to solve?
No… I really think this is a root cause, a deep issue that can be looked at, examined, pulled out into the light. This is definitely something I’ll be asking my therapist for help with. I want tools, I want something I can fall back on to help reroute my habitual responses, rewrite these negative subroutines. I’m hopeful. Really I am. Though it seems like I keep coming up with more deep issues that need to be worked through, that’s just me getting ready to go into therapy. I mean, I don’t want to waste her time by not having anything to work on. (mmhmm.. that’s from another old tape, the one that says I can’t get help unless I’m really, really, really, desperately in need and worthy of that help. Don’t worry, that one’s on my list too.)
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