Ever read something written about yourself? Try an entire book written and cited by multiple doctors….
If asked, “If you could fight anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?” My first response would be Woody Allen. I’ve had fantasies of bludgeoning the neurosis out of that guy. Its not to say the movies he makes are bad. I happen to like a handful of them. Something about who he is as a person, his genuine character makes my skin crawl. If you’re wondering why I’ve started off on such a cynical note, it’s to show the tip of the metaphorical iceberg that is my inner issues.
I have concluded that the reason for this disgust for neurosis stems from a form of self-loathing. I could go on and on about my flaws and insecurities I have about what I consider to be unique and self-identifying aspects of life. I often have to hold myself back from hopping on my self-loathing soapbox in new relationships because I know no one (except myself) enjoys hearing that. Oh yes, my self-hatred runs very deep. That in no way, shape or form makes it an acceptable behavior.
Those of you that know me on a friendly and close basis know that I tend to keep to myself and reserve my emotions in most situations. It may appear as though I have things figured out and am on some kind of self-enlightened path, but I have been treading water for a long time. Most of my habits come from an effort to gain control and prevent a state of vulnerability to those around me. the ghosting out of parties, the withdrawal from physical human interaction, the difficulty to express affection, and the unusual pleasure that comes from being alone is all a part of a front for self control and self nourishment. Something inside is convinced that I don’t need these things from outside sources and that I do fine when I provide these things for myself. It’s all a front, a fantasy, a makeshift security blanket that I have clung to for years now.
Timing couldn’t have been better for this form of neurosis to grow and further develop. The few concepts I remember from developmental psychology remind me that the early twenties is a time for developing a personal identity. A time for figuring out who you really are. I foolishly took the character of neurotic and let that be my primary character trait. Oh boy did it feel good. To finally conclude that you got your identity figured out (no matter the realization) can be very empowering. Little did I know I was feeding a slowly destructive part of my personality. I’ve managed to convince past relationships that this was acceptable behavior because I was convinced that this is who I am as a person. While this may be a defining trait for some, I have realized the harm it can cause both directly and indirectly.
Most of the things I do stem from me creating a figurative and synthetic bubble of comfort to make of for the attention, affection, and interaction I am not currently receiving. Everything from my eating habits, personal and intimate relationships, to everyday behaviors and routines are a cry for stability and refrain from a once vulnerable state. Just what is it about being vulnerable that scares the shit out of everybody? Why do I threaten (and actively) to end relationships when others try and penetrate my comfort zone? There is an incredibly strong resistance to those who seek that vulnerable state. Is it because of an underlying fear of pain and death?
Perhaps the emotional psyche is more fragile than we all imagine it to be. Sure, we may seem tough and contained on the outside (myself especially) but deep down inside once someone finds a way to try and tear down that wall, we all do whatever it takes to preserve that sense of security that is deeply rooted to a fear of mortality. Just think of all the genuine experiences that come from accepting that that once familiar and peaceful state as a child we all once had (the feeling of immortality) is a lie and will never be experienced again. Think of all the possibilities we open ourselves up to once that sense of acceptance has been established. It may sound strange at first, but hear me out.
Think of those who are terminally ill. People who have been told they have a finite amount of time left on this planet that is approaching in a measurable amount of time. Sure there are the five stages of grief, but in the end we have to reach a state of acceptance (or die in a synthetic, denial filled bubble.) Those who have accepted their fate have successfully come full circle from the childlike state of bliss and open themselves up for so many experiences. While they may not have as much time to experience them, they have cracked the code and have a leg up on most of us.
That being said, realizing all of this (along with my neurotic baggage) has inspired a change within my being. I will admit that finding out the behaviors you have established as a young adult were all wrong in the first place were hard to swallow. Figuring out that they were a natural response to certain childhood experiences involving affection and preconceived notions towards the opposite sex, and one’s view of the world made it a little easier to get down. It’s like someone telling you, “Yeah you’ve got some problems. But they’re a perfectly normal response to some traumatic experiences as a child. The best part is there is still time for improvement.”
While the fact remains that these are some deep and personal problems that need correcting and will not be completely fixed overnight. Being mindful that they still exist and knowing where they come from is a helpful tool to getting things back in order. Until next time….