A few days ago, I was told, albeit in a jocular manner, that I must like loathing myself because I do it so much.
My immediate reaction was anger and irritation, but I’m HSP, and as I knew it came from a good person who was only trying to make me smile, I didn’t respond in a too negative way.
But it played on my mind all day, not because it was a stupid thing to say, but because I can’t really explain why we depressives/BPD types do the things we do to ourselves time and time again, so the reality is that I am more angry at myself than anyone else.
And there I go again, beating myself up, only proving her point.
Can I stress that this is in no way a dig at my friend or a ‘pity me’ article? I more than anyone want to understand why this keeps on happening and rectify it, but I do know that self destructive behaviour is a classic BDP trait.
So I tried to think a bit more about why I lapse back into self defeating behaviours when i know so much more than the average Joe about mental health and the techniques, habits and care taking that can prevent them taking hold.
‘Reinventing Your Life’ by Jeffrey E Young calls these behaviours ‘life traps’ or ‘schemas’ and I bought it about a month ago as I will (hopefully) be having 2 years of schema therapy come Autumn.
Have I read it yet?
No. That would be far, far too enabling and rational, innit? Well I got as far as the second chapter entitled ‘Which Lifetraps Do You Have?’ and stopped because didn’t want to ‘spoil’ my new book by writing on it.
Jaysus, I sound like an 8 year old schoolgirl not wanting to crease her new exercise book…lame excuse really…
But what I do understand is that schemas are cultivated during childhood and are down to flawed parenting, repeat and repeat throughout our lives, are comfortable and familiar and when challenged, will fight for survival.
And maybe that’s why we keep on repeating and repeating our self hating shit.
It’s easy. We know the routine. We know what to expect when we do it. We know what the outcome will be. We know that there are no surprises lurking around the corner. And we know that no matter how hard we fight, these fuckers tend to win and overcome our good intentions around 90-99.9% of the time.
So we trudge on down that same old path, stubbing our toes on the same old rocks, scratching our faces on the same thorny undergrowth, besieged by the savage mosquito like words of our traitorous subconscious that sting and sting again, and press on staggering and bleeding, rather than take the road lest travelled.
Because whilst that other route might look bright, lush and inviting after you get past the scary bit, and is probably safer that the lonely old wilderness that we choose time and time again, we ‘know’ from experience that whatever can go wrong, does go wrong, so we don’t trust that it leads to a pretty little copse full of colourful butterflies, fragrant flowers and chattering birds, as we ‘know’ that just around that corner that fricking scarecrow/bat thing from ‘Jeepers Creepers’ is lying in wait for us, just dying to swoop down and claw our peepers out, so fuck that for a game of soldiers.
Why everyone else however, manages to trot down it and come out the other end totally unscathed is a mystery.
So how to defeat these damned schema things? Dunno yet. And whilst I’m sure that actually reading the book in full and doing the exercises (instead of using it as a coaster) might help, I’ll only really know by doing the therapy with other BDP sufferers, which I’m actually looking forward to.
Because being on your own makes it even easier to lapse, because no one is there to chivvy you along when you mope, yank the duvet off your reluctant carcass of a morning and shove you towards the bathroom, drag you to the cinema, or circle jobs in the local paper in order to get you out into society again. Cats are all very well, but they can’t do that shit. And if they could I doubt they’d bother. They have too much on what with the eating, fighting, jumping on my belly, chewing my hair covering it with fishy spittle, and trashing my furniture, so having sessions with and support from people who not only get it, but live it will probably be revelation.
I do get it though. Some people must find out shit very frustrating, and even Aunty C chides me for ‘moping’ sometimes, but she’s my therapist/mum so she’s allowed.
What would be absolutely unbearable however would be to live with someone who didn’t understand, and was in my face, saying stupid shit and nagging me half to death. After all familiarity breeds contempt doncha know, and the thought of a malign being sharing my home when I’m at my worst is enough to make me booby trap all my doors with razor wire, so I am actually thankful that I live alone.
Well me and the cats.
AND the good parent, the bad parent, the child and all the gibbering mind monkeys.
Better the devils you know eh? 🙂
Hey ho, roll on September…