What are the stories you tell yourself over and over again when you feel like a failure?
Originally Written: 23-Oct-2018
Word Count: 3300 / 11 minutes
I didn't realize when starting to write this that it would it would unfold into such a story telling, but perhaps that's something I do well.
I am approaching a really good place for myself in life to finally feel like all the terrible experiences I endured with my uBPD mother had some meaning to it. I found out about this subreddit earlier this year as I'm approaching the tail end of what feels like way too much overprocessing on my experiences to the point it has been debilitating. It has been amazing reading through and watching so many posts and it has been really amazing seeing this community. You are all awesome people to others and while I'm not sure how this fits, you can take it for what it's worth because all we have to offer each other in this world are mere glimpses into each other's experiences and if we don't do something with the perspective of another person and applying it to your own life then you're missing out on incredible opportunities.
At this point, I feel like finally documenting this so I can move forward in life with a better understanding and continued promise to myself to be a good person to others in opposition to my greatest fears or projections. There's a line in the sand that I'm stepping over and it feels amazing, I feel like I can breathe in a way I haven't before.
A Story of Stories I Have Chewed on For Far Too Long
I'm the middle of three boys and my parents split when I was 4 and I had to live under 50/50 custody every week until mid-high school when my dad put a restraining order on her and we started to get a better semblance of what a normal life was like. I went through some pretty traumatic experiences shortly after where a man my mom was sharing an in-law with who was watching us for some time would repeatedly beat the shit out of me and molested my older brother and I. There are a lot of details between 5-7 I sort of can't remember but I see they are a huge player in the driver seat of my life.
Whenever I pass the house in my hometown it brings up so much because my mom refused to acknowledge this happened under her watch. For years she constantly accused my father of being this terrible person and 'brainwashing' his children while making a fucking art out of gas lighting to make whatever story she was making up work for her at the time. My older brother and I ended up being gay and growing up I hated seeing anything about how being gay was a choice. I feel I've gone through my path into sciences was really founded from a premise that wanted me to understand myself and it was impossible for me to start with understanding how a loving god could exist if anyone knew how terrible it was being around her. My gifts intellectually were constantly made out to be manipulative and it has resulted in me constantly questioning how I'm being to others, if I'm negatively impacting them in the present moment, the previous moment, the next moment, or last Tuesday. It was hard to have any kind of faith. I was taken to church by the very person I saw so much conflicting experiences with when I would get home, who I would fear every Monday when she'd pick me up at my dad's house. I am a man who loves data and statistics and I've had an interesting concept of duality in life. I recognize this incredible beauty that your experiences normalize over time in a way that creates healthy balance for yourself and pulls you out of a negative self perception. I have the most amazing network of friends and I try to commit to the promises I make to others but it's so hard at times.
It's taunted my ability to trust others, I still see difficulties and struggles with developing stronger bonds with people. I observe I'm always walking on eggshells, the only different is the sound. I went through counseling from 5 through high school and many family therapists because as soon as a therapist would realize what was going on she'd it could all be kept under the mat. To this day I still experience huge resistances to being able to go to therapy more when I know it is good for me because I have many memories of having to go into a counseling room after having the worst things said about me and then spend an hour having to disprove claims. It is maddening sometimes in how much consideration I have over what people think of me or are feeling in general and I know I'm an empath that can connect on a very foundational level of pain with anyone as a result. I have spent so much time in my head and relying on my ability to solve problems to get me through some of the darkest years of my life and I'm so proud of myself for moreso realizing it was my choice to take what I did from the experiences I had.
It's a fucking struggle to push yourself constantly and you want to be witnessed sometimes for all of the crap you had to deal with to get to your current situation. I know, it's exhausting! But holy shit is it worth the effort to focus on eliminating all of the sources of my anger and pain because I have developed a level of compassion for others that I will proudly boast. I would go to the end of the earth for the people I commit to and I have a level of dedication and determination to what I do because I recognized that there are such gifts at the end of processing your own pain that allows you to be a better person to others. I view my experiences now as objectively traumatic, though it has taken a lot of opening up to others and showing them all the disgusting parts. It has felt like a collaborative surgery over years of work and I have long-standing friendships with people who refused to let me debase myself or self-deprecate and I couldn't quantify or qualify how much I appreciate their help and continued support. I fully comprehend the sensation of not being good enough to a level that it drives your fucking every action and I can't fucking get a grip of the driver wheel at times. However, I've learned that's just a part of how it has impacted me and as I've developed a better sense of who I am and how I've unfolded into the human being I am, I appreciate the calling it has offered me in life.
I give a fuck about anyone, even people who hate me. To a level that maintains a level of respect and integrity for any human being because we all deserve increasing levels of respect. I will contribute to others because I recognize what it feels like to be your own worst enemy to a very dark way, but you need people to get through your hardest experiences and can only process so much in solitude. You need to lay out all your bullshit to people and just get to the point where personal weaknesses and shortcomings are while recognizing it's okay if it stinks, it should! I know many people have had some pretty unimaginable experiences and it is always hard to not make contrasts between someone's life and your own, but you need to sift through all of your hard moments to recognize what was value and what was waste, just process it because the only difference between reality and you accepting it is your emotions and the ego their built upon.
It's been a fucking struggle to be at this precipice where I am recognizing my greatest gifts come from an incredible over consideration to everything. I have over analyzed and dissected. This post is just one of many gratuitous drops into a bucket many people in my life create space for me to fill, but it's only because they give me that space have I been able to grow this way. It's been amazing learning to understand myself better and I always love connecting with others on a base level around their biggest hopes and dreams and wanting to posture on how to get them there. I carry a level of optimism that is met with disgust at times, and I couldn't be more proud to be in a state like this and have an army of individuals to thank over the years that deserve way more credit than what they got as I've been stepping into myself as individual. I have been able to process my pain enough to feel I'm coming out the other side.
A Breathtaking Ascent
If I could describe how my life has turned out for me, I would say it's disgusting. I have more than accomplished dreams upon dreams and see myself more than ever as a contributor to others and recognizing where moments of true leadership are needed and being that person instead of just thinking about being that person. Leadership is seen through action, not in what you wish someone would do. If you recognize there is something missing or wrong in a situation it means you are having a perspective others are not seeing and should focus more on the fact you can help in the first place, you have value. And don't worry about whether whatever you're doing is good enough because I've done a lot of sampling over the years and have spent my life observing others and how they became the people they are I can pretty confidently state that none of us know what they fuck we're doing half the time and when things are going right that is when we pretend we knew what we were doing the entire time.
I've created an incredible life for myself and the key word is created. I was given so many lessons from my father who has had one hell of a load to carry and is my constant inspiration to keep looking for when there will be a better day because things can always be worse. No matter where we all get in life we normalize our experience and then speak ill of things that once benefited us while aspiring to bigger hopes and dreams. If I can share a key learning I have discovered recently that I think separates a lot of people in the world is the difference between hoping and dreaming. A lot of Americans are used to dreaming and do not understand that hope is what you get when you don't 'win' in life. In order for you to benefit or have more it means someone has to suffer as a result or have less. You need to think outside of yourself and into increasing context in order to understand what privileges you really have if you are to complain about anything.
I like to visualize my life as starting off a little deep underwater. There was a whole hell of a lot going on and I didn't really know what was gonna happen, but I found my means for survival and played to those strengths to pull me up because I could see there was a light for myself and even more empowering to learn is that the person shining that light was me. Dreams are so powerful because they let you step into the next moment of life with this strange bolstering behind you that you know you've 'made it' and can start coasting. I watched a man do everything in his power to make sure his kids were safe, fed, clothed, and enabled to do anything they wanted but the key was that you have to want it (and honey it better be practical or you're gonna hear it). What I learned from him has been immeasurable in igniting this life because the value of discipline and persistence is like a fire that is always on in my heart through the hardest of times and moments of disbelief.
This is My 'Unique' Perspective
To deny you are a competitive individual is to deny your biology. Your brain is built upon layers of thinking that drives you in the ways it needs to take care of your survival but no matter what happens, there is going to be consequences. Having vision creates its blind spots but at least you have been given the gift of sight. So use your perspectives and share them with others for the gifts that they are in order to reconcile where you've benefited immensely in life. Hindsight is 20 20 and there's always going to be more out there that you don't know because you don't even know how much that is yet. If you see someone living a life that is not how you would live yours, stop wasting your time evaluating if your life is better or worse than and stand happily that you're fucking alive in the first place. Stop focusing on whether your efforts are meeting someone's needs and care more about the fact that you give a fuck in the first place and that's what matters because you're creating from a foundation of nothing. No one will give a fuck about what you care about like you do and that is both a reality you need to accept and a call to action. If you feel a way about something, then be it.
From a biological perspective, humans have progressed a lot as complicated species that can think half of the stupid shit we think of and (even worse) execute on. Life has a nice smell when you focus on the mistakes of others as your lighthouse for self-aggrandizing, but what is far more value-adding to your own experience of this place is to look for your own mistakes and shortcomings first before trying to point the blame. If you aren't self-revealing your own weaknesses, then you waste everyone's time who's trying to help you. In order for us to attain some new level as a species (or at least slow the impedance our own demise) we need to be harnessing each other's gifts a bit more while embracing the sense that you won't ever understand how some people think.
We need to stop being competitive, which creates a world of hope and need to focus more on leadership, which creates a world of dreams.
It means putting your head down and going through the hard work for yourself that demonstrates you have the capabilities of showing someone else to minimally do what you can to a proficient degree then (the big piece) taking an actual fucking interest in the person's struggles through it and not viewing them as stupid in the process but in fact tunneling their way to the same plane of understanding you are trying to get them to and got to at your own pace for your own reasons.
We all have such amazing gifts to offer each other and human beings are terrible to each other. I wish people understood better how much it wastes everyone's time when we present judgment before helping, complain about doing more than someone else, or having to carry some kind of burden. You need to recognize that it's a gift but also shut the hell up and not look for someone to thank you for all of your hard work. Life gives you a participation ribbon but it's your choice to participate and get what you get out of life. You're never going to know what is on the other side of any ambitions if you don't have them in the first place and then also put yourself at risk to see if you'll make it instead of constantly wondering 'what if'.
I fear death, there's still so much I have yet to learn. I have a lot of respect for people of faith who are good people to others and don't see the silly constructs any particular viewpoint would whether exclude you from. It means they recognize the value of what the bible holds, which I recognize as one of multiple attempts that humanity as been trying to apply knowledge management to a global scale to say this is a foundation through which you should treat people. But like any vision, mission, plan, goal, it expired and some aspects became conflicting and people question the legitimacy of religion when they don't see that the basic tenants of any religion - having respect for another individual - are not seen in plenty of examples of society. Just because a plan for how to be doesn't work out the gate doesn't mean you blow it up and start over. Just because elements of the bible are outdated doesn't mean that the basic premise of being a good person to others, the golden rule folks, is to be followed at all times.
Do unto others as you would want to be treated. If you can do that then you're definitely meeting expectations in my book.
But take some time and look at yourself and your own pain, look for your biases, talk to people and leverage the opinions of others so you can walk back from 100% of your pain and then show someone how to do it for themselves because of just how awesome it is to be able to help someone do something you know how to do. Be excited about each other's learning, don't belittle each other for misunderstandings or mistakes and recognize it's a collaborative and DAILY struggle to learn to use your pain as a gift each day. You can focus on the fact you had to struggle or you can put your energy towards making it so no one has to go through what you went through ever again because it is in that specific path in life that you had to navigate that you can shine the most light on. And more importantly, give others a voice. Recognize that the pain of others is unique to themselves and is their own set of challenges and hurdles to overcome and listen to the stories of others not for evaluating the badness of the situations but from what was learned. I always love finding out what someone learned most from an experience because I feel like they are reporting back an analysis of a lot of data collected and I want to integrate that lesson into my own understanding and if you take an interest into understand the pain of others you have a lot to benefit from on the mere premise that you are acting outside yourself and your own bullshit for once.
It's such a fucking struggle to still feel like I'm doing the right thing at times and I'm not always accountable to myself, but I hold myself to an increasing standard as I see new gaps arise and I think that's the most I can ask of myself and least anyone in my life should care about.
Life has a way of turning out and we write these stories ourselves and then live into them, including all of the self-sabotage we create along the way so we can still play the victim when we don't get what we want.