About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hidden Motives: When Genuine DESPAIR is also a form of ATTACK

I just LOVE this book. They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life by Oliver James
Us ladies are VERY good at being ANGRY in more 'covert' ways. We don't want to be seen throwing punches, or yelling at people in the street, so we employ SNEAKY ways of expressing HOSTILTY.
We are SO good, we don't even know OURSELVES that we are being angry after a while..
(Yeah I know some women are more dis-inhibited with 'out-and-out' anger, but this is for the ones that sneak anger in the back door. So to speak.)
Anyway here's the quote:

"Our despair is GENUINE
But is is ALSO a means of expressing HOSTILITY

ANGERED by the failure of others TO NUTURE US

We use MOODS and threats, to 'GET BACK' and ''teach a lesson'
By exaggerating our plight, and acting in a miserable fashion
And place ADDED BURDENS on others.
Cold and stubborn silences are PUNITIVE BLACKMAIL, a THREAT of trouble to come."
P206 They F*** you up by Oliver James.

I kind of knew moods were a way of being angry, but I think he has captured this trait REALLY well in this passage.
Particularly the despair and the nurture part.
I tend to view despair as something that hurts the owner more than anything. And if I am experiencing despair, I am too self absorbed to see the impact it is having on others. Even if the mood is not 'acted out' as such.
I LOVE this passage. Good old Oliver. Perhaps men have a better view of the way us women are covertly angry. Who knows. But I LOVE this observation.
I just LOVE finding hidden anger and attack.
See I don't do the more obvious moods or sulks as such. Nothing that you would notice externally anyway. I'm from the more repressed end of the spectrum. But I hadn't seen the way the feeling of despair could have a sneaky more unconscious agenda to punish, that's all.
Yeah I know some women do very OVERT moods and sulks. Door slamming. Plate throwing. Obvious tantrums and what have you. Those are EASY to spot. It is the SUBTLE stuff that sneaks in under the radar that bugs me. So there you go.

So just for the sake of clarity. If we were all really good at EGO PUNCTURING HONESTY.
Instead of 'doing' despair in this way.
We could say:
"Yes right now, it WOULD be true to say I am feeling some despair.
But in addition to that, I can see there is (quite a strong) temptation to use that mood as a way of punishing you. Classic GUILT TRIP material really..
You see the truth is, that I AM angered by (what **I** see) as your FAILURE to NUTURE me.
But rather than say that OUT LOUD, (because lets face it, it sounds a bit naff and petulant.)
Its 'easier' (Ha!..NOT!) to flail about, feeling sorry for myself, and wallow in a sense of hopelessness, (because I KNOW that will make you feel BAD) rather than deal with this problem face on. Or GOD FORBID
ACTUALLY HAVE THE GUTS TO ASK FOR THE THING (whatever it is) THAT I THINK (?) I NEED RIGHT NOW, that you APPEAR to not be giving me.
You know WHY I don't ask?

Well firstly, because I probably don't even know MYSELF what it is!!.
Why? Because I am FAR better at thinking about what I DON'T want instead of what I DO want.
When I'm in one of these moods, I'm more interested in PUNISHING you, than ACTUALLY SORTING OUT MY PROBLEM.

And secondly, because I HATE thinking of myself as NEEDY. Which is what I essentially AM, when I'm in one of these moods. Its quite a VULNERABLE place, and I don't like being VULNERABLE and EXPOSED like this. Its too ego puncturing!

Thirdly. Actually SEEING what I DO require to feel 'nurtured' is VERY, VERY ego puncturing. It makes me see my own HUMANITY. And I don't want to be human.
I want to be INVULNERABLE!
To rise above everything!
To feel FINE all the time! (ie not FEEL vulnerable EVER again.)
And even WORSE. Let YOU see me being VULNERABLE. Ouch!
These messy, squishy emotions are EMBARRASING to my ego, and reduce me (in my UNFORGIVING eyes) to the level of a pathetic blob. Basically I HATE admitting my weaknesses and BASIC HUMANITY. Even to myself. Yeah the alcoholic ego does NOT like that ONE BIT!

So that's why I throw a mood. And do the 'despair' trip.
Keeps me in the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION.
Which I can see is not really ! helping. To say the least.
So yeah, there is some genuine despair going on, and I'm not ashamed of that.
But this time I am NOT going to use it as a CLUB to BEAT you over the head with. (Which you will be glad to hear!).
I will EVEN, go so far, as to actually sit down and think about EXACTLY what version of 'nurturing' I had the GALL to harbor an EXPECTATION of receiving.
I might very well POLITIELY ASK YOU for that thing.
ONLY THIS TIME, I will NOT harbor a GRUDGE or an EXPECTATION that you are BOUND to oblige me in this request.
Hey I am not running the show here.
I am not the 'manager'.
This is a two way street, and I can ask, but that DOESN'T guarantee that I will 'get'.
But at LEAST I will have the GUTS to ask.
Instead of simply ALLOWING the "All is lost' and 'What's the point?' THINKING, and the feelings of despair and overwhelm that INEVITABLY accompany that.
Even if ASPECTS of those despairing feelings are genuine.

Im not saying you SHOULD say this, but I just thought it would be fun to articulate a more ego puncturing admission of what is going on, behind the scenes, so to speak, that Oliver James describes in that passage.
I like YANKING the dodgy thought processes into the light, for scrutiny.
The 'cure' for everything is HONESTY. Well that's what I think, so a bit of brutal truth-telling seems to pave the way for change. Well that's what I find. The truth seems to make the disease shrink back into the cracks in the ether from whence it came. Seems to banish shadows. Honesty is like a flashlight. I call it 'cleaning under the cooker'. Bleh!! No one LIKES cleaning under the cooker! Have you SEEN what's under there? Its GROSS!
But if you do get stuck in and face the ! Yukky ! Stuff down there, a burden is lifted, and we feel better.

Phew! Why cant I write SHORTER posts??
See then I wouldn't have so many half finished ones!!
Hey have a FABULOUS Thursday y'all..


Syd said...

Excellent post. I do this and have had the sulking done to me. I reek of self-pity and the expectations make people run away. I've tried the honesty party in coming out and saying, "Hey, I'm feeling insecure and needy" today. That doesn't much work either. It probably feels too burdensome.

molly said...

Hi girl: I'm just now reading this post VERY closely and it really really hits close to home. I ordered the book - should be in any day now.

Hope you are having a great week!!

Wait. What? said...

Excellent post, even months/years later - I absolutely needed to find this today and I am grateful that you wrote it.