July 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm #37981
“As long as you make an identity for yourself out of pain, you cannot be free of it.” ~Eckhart Tolle
Three years of frustration. Three years of trying to climb what seemed an insurmountable obstacle. Three years in absolute limbo – regardless of how many times I pretended I wasn’t.
Three years to finally accept that I am not me. I’ve been pretending for almost half a century.
Exhilarating… freeing… liberating. Phrases one hears continually on these kinds of sites. That is not at all what I feel.
Shame (I don’t even know for what) Guilt (Just how much has my stubbornness cost me?) Terror (There is no way in Hell I can compete – or even catch up…. I’m already doomed.)
I should submit up front that I’ve self-diagnosed as Borderline Personality Disorder. I have all the symptoms (****starred entries are my experience of the symptom****) to a severe degree:
Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment (****Breaking up with me will be the most painful and embarrassing experience of your life – everyone else can forget arms distance – scream at me from down the block****)
A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation (****I can barely speak to my own mother; friendships rarely last 6 months; employment never more than 2 years****)
Identity disturbance, such as a significant and persistent unstable self-image or sense of self (****There is no self, so why try to be one? Besides, the one I was dealt sucks****)
Impulsive in at least two (**** Bwahahaha! I could list 30 off the top of my head!****) areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating)
Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior (****Yup, yup, yup, and nope. I can take any pain from necessity, but never on purpose – except, I guess, the obvious one I’ve been causing myself****)
Emotional instability due to significant reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days) (****Couldn’t tell you. I learned at a VERY young age that emotions couldn’t be trusted – so I ignore mine, which is why I never know what I feel, ever…. it’s all in there at once.****)
Chronic feelings of emptiness (****Well Duh! (re-read my comments above!****))
Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights) (****Yes, mostly, nope – my brainwashing won’t allow it – “if you ain’t mad enough to kill him, you ain’t mad enough to swing. If you swing, make sure you kill him.”****)
Transient, stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms (****Just ’cause you’re paranoid don’t mean you’re wrong… so, nope, not transient.****)
I do feel – I try to convince myself I don’t, or it’s irrelevant. But I do, and sitting here staring at how much damage needs to be repaired I despair at how little time remains.
What to address first?
Work? Which part? The fact that I view capitalism as being responsible for far more injustice than it corrects, and that to participate makes you guilty of injustice? Or maybe the fact that I have the attention span of a hyperactive two-year old on speed? I have performed at better than average levels at everything I have ever tried, from moving the deceased to kitchen manager of a restaurant, to Alberta cattle hand to special-needs worker and many, many more. And am bored to death very quickly by them all.
Relationships? I’d first have to address my emotional intelligence defects – and I’m not yet sure I want to; the level of vulnerability I understand to be required is not something I’m sure would be worth the reward….. of course I can’t know that without trying. I have to take your word for it. Trust…… yeah, an issue.
Body? I guess I’ve started at this one, a bit. Have begun a consistent exercise routine, am in the process of weaning myself off cigarettes, and smoke next to no drugs any more. I fear repeating past patterns – routine is death for me so no idea how long any of it will last.
Mind? I already crave knowledge – too much so. I can’t remain on topic for very long.
Spirit? I saved this for last on purpose. I think most could agree on the following definition:
“…deals with your conscience, values, and principles. It also deals with your relationship with the infinite. Your spirituality is where your life purpose and meaning comes from.”
Until very recently I was not at all conscious. Every word, every action, and every thought has for more than four decades been nothing more than a knee-jerk response to emotion – primarily avoiding it.
Of values I have only one: fairness. And God help you if I perceive you to not be, ’cause then I won’t be…. and I’m MUCH better at that than you are. I have impeccable principles so long as you seem to hold the same in my eyes. Everyone fails before I do. Everyone. And no, I don’t believe I ever would first – again, my brain-washing won’t allow it.
Relationship with the infinite. I don’t have one. For three years, almost daily, I have tried meditation. Only recently have I achieved an ability – frustratingly sporadic – to be a detached observer of my thoughts, let alone feel connected to anything. To feel connected to “All” one would also have to submit to connecting with the worst of what humanity has to offer – and I get overwhelmed watching a group of people on t.v. having fun. Playfulness isn’t a concept I can understand, nor emulate.
Misanthropic doesn’t come close to describing me.
Purpose? Meaning? My reading so far is convincing me that there is none other than what you make for yourself. And that feels horrifically worthless to me.
Daddy issues…. sigh. Forgiving him is gonna be a tough one. I think I’d sooner drink the poison – if he is “watching” from somewhere, I hope watching me is tearing him apart. If he’s not watching, then I hope it’s ’cause Hell is real.
Where to begin? What to fix? How to unravel the damage when I can’t find it in me to trust (in person…. this damned pseudo-anonymity of the internet is gonna cause me grief at some point, I just know it. So why can’t I stop myself when it has been so easy to in every other sphere of my life?
A quick one minute look inside told me…
….despite the terror, despite the agonizingly slow progress, despite my continued self-assurances that this too shall fail…..
some part of me sees hope.
I so want to be free of my pain identity. But I can’t see anything to replace it with. It “feels” like it’s me.
Why’d I write this? I don’t know. Compulsion. It’s the only reason I seem able to do anything.July 4, 2013 at 8:10 pm #38005
Goodness, what a mind you have! It is awesome and potent, which is a blessing and a curse. Consider reading “cutting through spiritual materialism” by chogyam trungpa, it has helped others who have issues like yours.
Sometimes the arrow just has to yanked out directly, but it can be painful. Shame is an interesting feeling. Something in us tells us that we are unworthy of connection to others because we are so broken. We have a feeling that we don’t deserve happiness, or a connection to love, energy, joy. To me, it seems like this is a good place to direct your potent awareness.
Consider that shame and pride arise together in our crown chakra and cut us off from the big picture. When we see an “unworthy bastard” we are splitting off a chunk of the infinite in our mind. “That is not god/Buddha/truth/love, that is a jerk/idiot/asshole” when we do that to the objective world around us, we are saying “we are not one, you are below me.” When we experience that same lack of acceptance inside, we feel shame. “I am not god/Buddha/truth/love, I am a broken, worthless being.”
Maybe you are smart enough to realize you’re not happy? And that happiness and peace of mind is something you’ve been obsessed with finding? Do you know how many of those “fallen idiots” have waaay more of what you seek than you do? Maybe its disguised envy? Either way, do you think your judgment is based on firm ground?
Notice how your mind reacts to such things? It is possible to experience humility instead. You, me, and everyone else are born ignorant, with everything to learn. You’ve been judging others and the structure of the world from pride, then judging yourself and your structures from shame.
You said you have begun to notice thoughts, which is great! Perhaps you could add a lovong-kindness practice as well. “Breathing in, I look deeply at my hope that there is something beautiful inside each of us. Breathing out, I wish to use what I’ve learned to help awaken that in myself and others.”
Said differently, perhaps you’re experiencing emptiness sickness from having a a strong vision but a weak heart. It is easy to see, but more difficult to love. Dont take my word on it, just try it. A simple breathing exercise for 15 mins a day for two weeks and the results should be fairly noticeable and provide relief.
MattJuly 5, 2013 at 6:16 am #38010
@Matt Very well put!
@Graham If this isn’t the best example of a monkey mind, I don’t know what is! Matt already suggested “Cutting through Spiritual Materialism,” but I’ll also recommend “Turning Your Mind Into an Ally” by Trungpa’s son, Sakyong Mipham. As with all modern monkey minds, the best way to find equanimity is to meditate, meditate, meditate.July 5, 2013 at 12:58 pm #38023
@Matt. Thanks for your reply. Could you please clarify this?
You said: “Sometimes the arrow just has to yanked out directly, but it can be painful.” What arrow? I understand you’re aiming at a metaphor of some kind but I can’t for the life of me puzzle it out. If you could help me to see the arrow, I’d more than happily pull it out – pain be damned. I can’t figure out what to grab hold of to yank, nor how to – metaphorically – yank it out.
@Peter Thanks to you, as well.July 5, 2013 at 2:47 pm #38027
No, that is not available to you.
MattJuly 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm #38033
GrahamJuly 5, 2013 at 5:13 pm #38034
Yes, of course. That was my best aim, do you see the arrow?
MattJuly 5, 2013 at 5:17 pm #38035
Nope. And now I (am making myself) feel stupid.July 5, 2013 at 5:20 pm #38036
Well, that’s pretty close. That’s the “blood” from it.July 5, 2013 at 5:37 pm #38037
Peoples opinions?July 5, 2013 at 6:12 pm #38039
Peoples opinions are just that, a view. Its more like a clenching or grasping at the view. Mine, yours, theirs…
In reality, they come up and go. Your pain. Your dad. My words. They hold meaning as they are pathways to truth, but they are as transient as we let them be, and as confusing as we make them. Tension to relief to tension to relief. Your condemnation fuels it! Said differently, the bounce is fueled by karma and we suffer. You, me and all of them have the same ability, but struggle with the same clenching in various ways. When we judge instead of unclench, we remain deluded, isolated, spinning.
There isn’t an exit from the maze, we learn to drop the maze.