Addicted to Feeling Bad

[Please note: This is a repost of a post published in October 2013.

Often after having written a post, no matter how intensely I was feeling during the writing of it, or how important I felt it was to write it and then press ‘publish’, share my thoughts (and then worry about having done that)… I forget about it.

I’m one of those people who would forget their own head if it wasn’t attached to their body (or is it the head which forgets it has a body? Considering the number of times I hit my head…). While this forgetfulness can be a problem, it is also a solution – it makes it difficult to hold grudges (which is both sometimes a problem and sometimes a solution). If you catch me red-handed holding a grudge it’s usually because something painful has happened repeatedly and I’ve finally been unable to forget it (it’s time to pay it full attention and figure it out), or a single cut went deep enough to pierce my veil of forgetfulness and I’m still bleeding profusely from it (where is all this blood coming from!?!). Or someone keeps reminding me of something (perhaps by apologising for … why do they keep apologising!?!) and their nagging is driving me nuts – why do they keep going on about this thing and how do I shut them up… I must investigate!

Occasionally I surprise myself by not being forgetful.

I’ve never forgotten about this post. Every now and then I’ll remember it and smile. Something about it, about the act of writing it and what I said to myself while writing it (which is within the words and between the lines), struck a resonant chord for me.

I’m also one of those people who has a lot of voices talking inside their head – many of which are mine having a conversation, argument, debate, discussion with each other, some are nagging me (how do I shut them up!?)… some belong to others, people I know, have known, and those I’ve read in books, on blogs, listened to in films, TV shows, documentaries, songs,… their words sometimes pop up seemingly randomly (but is anything really random!?).

What I liked most about this post is the idea in the title – feeling bad about myself has probably been my worst addiction throughout my life (it’s an addiction which started early in my life and I thought it was normal to feel that way even though something bothered me about it, prompting a case of the why’s – which is also an addiction of mine). I can feel bad about myself so easily… although recently I’ve made some progress in making it harder for myself (I’m not using self-esteem raising techniques to do this – those are just more voices which aren’t mine, and which often end up making things worse – I’m simply asking myself if my feeling bad is useful or necessary in the scenario).

But it’s not all bad to have the feeling bad about self habit – since it’s something most people experience (I’d say all people experience it but maybe some people don’t), it can be used as part of intelligent empathy. You know when someone else is doing it to themselves (or about to do it due to something which has happened, or something which didn’t happen) and maybe you can help them to ease their feel bad due to your experience of it… but you do need to let your helping of others help you too or else you’re going down hypocrite road by not practicising what you’re preaching (why should they… if you don’t?). You can’t really tell others not to feel bad about themselves while you’re doing it yourself… well, you can, but shouldn’t you be taking some of your own advice (if only to see if the advice actually works).

We’re all a mess… maybe the mess is what tidy really looks like.]

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Sisyphus_by_von_StuckSisyphus by Franz von Stuck

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To me all addictions and habits are a mix of benefit and detriment, and sometimes telling the difference between which part is beneficial and which is detrimental is tricky, especially if you listen to other people’s opinions and judgments about something and their words become louder than your own.

Taking the word of others as being the final say could also fall under the category of addiction. They may be right, they may seem wise, authoritative, an expert, they’ve done the work of researching, studying and thinking, they’ve had the experience, been there done that, and are now sharing their opinion, loudly and proudly.

Maybe you agree with them based on your own experience and thought.

But if you agree with them because they share their words with forceful conviction, making you feel that they know more than you do, more than you will ever know on your own, thinking, feeling and experiencing for yourself, then in some ways you are giving your mind over to them and their words become an addiction. You have to keep filling your mind with their teachings. When you don’t listen to them, don’t hear their voice in your head, their knowledge starts to seep out of your mind, everything you’ve learned from them starts to fade, your own voice begins to get louder and perhaps you don’t like what it is saying so you have to drown it out again.

Most addictions start fairly innocuously. We try something, it makes us feel good, we enjoy it, and want some more of that feeling. The more we do it the better we feel. However at some point we find that the feel good factor changes in quality. We feel good but we also feel bad. We don’t like feeling bad, in fact the reason we liked the thing to which we are addicted was because it pushed away our bad feelings. But now they are back.

Why?

We try upping our dose of our addictive substance. Maybe the extra dose gives us a return to good feeling, but the levels are not high enough and the span of time it lasts is short. We begin to hate the addiction we love because it is letting us down. We consider abandoning it and finding something else. But we don’t find something else and return to our addiction, but now we begrudge it. It has a hold over us and we are no longer doing it for the same reasons we did it before. We’re doing it because we have to not because we want to.

At that point we may become aware that other people think the thing to which we are addicted is bad. This makes us feel bad, worse, about ourselves, thus craving our addiction’s feel good element even more. We are torn between our love and hate, our good feelings and bad feelings.

What are we really addicted to?

Are we after the high of feeling good? To escape feeling bad?

Or are we addicted to feeling bad? Because in spite of all the opportunities we have to feel good about ourselves, we return to the bad feeling time and again, even though we know how bad it is for us and how destructive it makes us, to ourselves and to others.

And what price are we willing to pay to feel good? What price are we willing to make others pay for us to feel good?

Have you ever stood between an addict and the substance to which they are addicted? Have you seen that burning flame in their eye? The stony expression of determination to pass through you to get to their goal? The snarl on their lips which tells you they are going to eat their way through you to get what they want and so desperately need?

Have you ever smoked a cigarette in front of an ex-smoker, drunk alcohol in the company of a recovering alcoholic, said something negative near the ears of a positive thinker?

There are quite a few similarities of behaviour and expression between those who are addicted to something and those on a mission to do something good such as fight addiction. The road to hell definitely seems paved with good intentions, sometimes it seems paved with the bodies of those who had the good intentions of others forced upon them, but are those intentions really good? What lies behind their veneer of good?

I had an interaction with someone who was brimming with good intentions. They turned up in my life, told me that they were going to heal me because this was their gift, then they got angry at me, told me that I was not as good as I thought I was, that I was a bad person and they had unmasked me, they knew this intuitively and so I could not argue with it because they were an intuitive genius. So, their version of healing me was wounding me.

Why were they angry with me? They took something I said about someone else personally. I didn’t say it to them. They were not in my conscious awareness when I said it. I was working through an old incident out loud in a public place. And it took me a while to figure out what exactly it was that I had said which they had decided was about them and aimed at them. It had to do with those who pretend to be interested in you so that you’ll be interested in them.

Then I asked myself why would they take this personally and why did it cut them to the quick.

Because they saw a truth about themselves in those words, an uncomfortable truth. They realised that they were not interested in me, but that they wanted me to be interested in them to the point where everything about me became about them.

They were on a mission to heal me, even though they knew nothing about me. They did not know if I had a wound, although most people do and I am not an exception. I am open about my wounds, but they were not open to my openness. They did not know what the nature of my wound was, nor did they care to know. I did not invite them to heal my wound, it did not even occur to me to do such a thing. But they were not interested in what I wanted or needed, or who I was. They were a healer and healing is what they did. More than that, they were projecting their own wound into me and that was the wound they intended to heal. What they actually did was stab me in my actual wound by doing what they did. Which ultimately has been a healing experience, but not in the way they intended.

If you’ve read some of my other posts, then you know what my wound is, well one of many, but the main one. I am a child of Narcissists. Being told that I am not as good as I think I am, that I am actually a bad person, and so much worse than that… is par for the course. That the person who usually says that sort of thing does not know who I am and what I think of myself, and does not care to know is also typical.

Was this person a Narcissist, had I attracted yet another one? No. They did mimic Narcissistic behaviour but they did not feel like a Narcissist feels. There was a sense of censorship, but it was not oppressive. We talked this incident through and sorted it out to some degree. You can’t do that with a Narcissist.

This person is a good person with good intentions, however those good intentions for me were a road to hell. One I’ve been to often enough to find my way out of it, each time a little quicker. The problem with their good intentions is that they were motivated by a need to escape feeling bad about themselves… and that’s exactly what happened when they took my words about someone else, about myself and my own experiences, and made them about them. They used me to make themselves feel bad, and once they felt bad about themselves they had to make me feel bad about myself. Their pain took over and did the talking for them.

I do actually think that they have the potential to be a gifted healer just not in the way they think they should do it. They are a talented wordsmith and if they shared their writing, their words would do the healing, as the words of others often speak to the unspoken parts of us and express what we have been unable to express. Their words become our words. Their gift of healing becomes our gift for healing ourselves.

Anything and everything can be an addiction. Anything and everything can be beneficial and detrimental. It is sometimes both at the same time. An addiction can open up a part of ourselves which is suppressed, release us, and that release makes us feel good. But then our inhibitions react to our release and upgrade their security system, which means we need higher doses of our addiction to free us from feeling bad. Our addiction to feeling bad spurs us to find ways to feel good, so it is beneficial, but it is also detrimental because feeling good becomes the addiction on top of an addiction rather than a cure for the original addiction.

How do we cure our addiction to feeling bad?

It’s different for each of us, but the formula is similar. Stay with the feeling, look at it straight on rather than trying to avert your eyes and escape it, and figure out what it really is.

What made you feel bad about yourself? And is that which you feel bad about, really bad? Or did someone else’s good intention lead you into your own private hell? Did someone else pass their wound into you? Did they make you feel bad about yourself because they felt bad about themselves? Did they take something good about you and convince you it was bad?

Maybe all the bad feeling really is, is the knowledge that you are wrong about it. It’s not bad, it’s sad. It’s your inner voice wishing to be heard over the loud voices of others inside your head which are drowning it out. It wants to tell you something but you’re not listening because you think it wants to say something awful to you about yourself, when perhaps all it wants to say is – I love you, please love yourself too.

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[ps. a ‘random’ article which goes with this post (maybe):

loveyourdesign: How To Grow A New Culture of Caring ]

2 comments

  1. Well said and true.
    Thank YOU for sharing.

    I would like to share some of my experiences.
    My Personal hell:
    A few years ago i wanted to give up smoking. I decided to do it through reiki.
    Asking myself the right questions: why did i started to smoke anyway?
    As a child i hated it that my parents smoke, they even puffed those sticks in car..
    unconsciously.. i developed “car sickness” you know what they did? Gave me a tablet and still smoked ⊙_ʘ until… they got a new car and wanted to keep it in that condition..
    My parents never wanted me to smoke and would even discipline me and threatened me if i ever did.
    Something snapped in me and i thought: you pair of hypocrites.. you smoke, why can’t i.. if i wanna…?? So i did.
    My dad caught me once while he was passing by in the car, i was with a group of friends huffing and puffing a cigarette.. he rolled down his car window and made me throw it on the floor and stamp it out.
    After he left.. i litt one up again.. (out of sight out of mind attitude).
    Realising years later that (rebel) attitude (thats how i got labelled by my parents) was actually a cry for love and attention. But most of the time i only got parental advice if i’ve done something bad or bad things happened to me.
    So.. that day in dec 2012 told myself to quit the sh*t dont need it anymore. It was a on and off struggle.. i meditated instead or singing.. you would say healthy ways.
    But.. everybody i knew (except my kids) SMOKED and it became a focus point of irritation.. seeing all kinda mantra’s around me of: energy flows where attention goes.. my ego battled after a year. Saying things like: see everybody smokes your the only one who dont belong now.. i started missing it..
    “Missing it???” Yep.. like i had a personal buddy /friend found in the ciggarete. So i smoke again.. oh dear than the guilt trip came.. and all the sudden other people wanted to stop smoking.. i thought it was a joke! I was happy when i didnt smoke.. my smell improved, i could smell my laundry better, the house was cleaner.. i was cleaner.. or did i created my romantic heaven? So i promoted it.. and then i felt like a failure. I know the judging plays a huge factor.
    I clean for years now in a few pharmacy’s so yes i see a variety of people getting their “fix/ drugs/ medication”.
    Do you know whats sad…??
    When i did reiki i learned the power of the mind is a very important part you need to heal yourself.
    Sometimes at work all sorts of things shoot through me.. 1) we accept it all and nothing changes 2) how can we heal all the hurt 3) why do we suppress our pain?
    When did we fool ourselves to like it..
    The hell beeing.. i can see addiction everywhere… the hell beeing.. the judging of others and self.
    When i felt good about myself (a spotlight turned itself on me) people idolized me, some were jealous of me, judged me..
    I felt i coulnt win either way and i didnt want all that.. so crawling back where i came from felt comfortable.
    People “seem” more at peace when you leave them be.. in a dreamstate.. but.. once the cage get shaken.. changing things in their routine (like the price tag or name of the medication) some accept it.. some make a fuss.. but sadly they loose because they think they need it.. or don’t they?
    What if the worst happen.. they might die?
    What if death doesnt exist?
    What if we are beeing fooled in this system?

    Are other people projections of what goes on deep inside us?
    What do you see around you?

    How do you heal yourself.. ?
    If you stand in your full power/ presence what would it preach?

    Like

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