Wednesday, November 05, 2003

I've taken alls I can take...

Guilt. Anger. Frustration. Depression.

All emotions, feelings that I have been battling lately. But why? What happened to me?

I was dealing with my past, with how the divorce of my parents at the age of 5 or 6 affected my life. And it DID affect my life. Dramatically.

At first I thought it was an abandonment issue. While I'm sure that is true to a certain level, I don't believe that is the major impact on my life. Guilt. Guilt has made me work hard to please everyone in my life all my life, especially loved ones and those I care about. My mother left me. As a child, regardless of why she chose to leave, left me feeling as if it was my fault. I was to blame in my mind. Because of that I did all I could to satisfy my father. I couldn't risk upsetting him, he might leave too.

When I was around women I had to be extra nice and sweet and do my best to be a good guy. When I had a crush on a girl I would do everything I thought she might like or want but then feel so disappointed when she was interested. I was sure it was something that I did. I was sure that I just wasn't good enough.

Eventually those feelings became so ingrained in my life that I can look back on my life and not see where it didn't have a very strong role in how I reacted to the various situations in my life. Like it or not guilt and blame, self imposed as well as imposed by others shaped my actions and opinions. I suspect most people were not intentionally trying to manipulate me or make me do things I didn't want to. That doesn't change the fact that it still affected me.

Have there been people who DID take advantage of me? You bet there were. I may not have been aware of them all, but there are a few that stand out loud and clear in my mind. I can forgive those who did so unintentionally, but not those who did so for their own gain with no regard for the cost to me. As far as I'm concerned they can go to hell.

I've grown to realize that I'm tired of feeling guilty. I'm tired of feeling as if I'm to blame for all the bad things that happen around me. I'm not perfect and I make mistakes, but so what? So does everyone else. I do my best to make up for the damage done, but sometimes I just don't want to face it. When all my life I've felt like I was to blame for everything I don't want to accept that I AM to blame. I have to take responsibility for my actions, that's the adult thing to do, but what I have to learn is how to see when is something really my responsibility and when is it not.

Now that I'm aware of these things, when I am forced to look at myself more critically I get angry. I get angry because I'm tried of feeling guilty. I'm tried of feeling taken for granted and taken advantage of. I'm tired of getting disappointed looks from people when I tell them I can't do something. Maybe I don't want to do it. Maybe I can't do it because I'm too busy. Maybe I can't handle the extra emotional burden it puts on me. I'm tried of having to explain why I said no. Those questions of 'why not?' suggest that I should do what they ask and I should feel shamed and guilty for not jumping at the chance to help them out. No dammit. If I feel like explaining it I will. Other wise just accept my answer and drop it.

I recognize that the limitations I've set on myself regarding how I respond to people are of my own making and I have no one to blame but myself. I also have no one but myself to fix them. Yes I can and do seek counseling of a trained professional. This person can help me focus my emotions and my thoughts into a coherent mass. But I still have to do the work.

Many people around me will be confused and some will not like what I have to do. But ultimately I will be a happier and more powerful person. I have to be ME. Not the me that everyone wants, but the me that is really who I am. Even if at the time I am a dumb ass or I'm angry or I'm selfish. We all have negative tendencies that we don't like. I've been trying to cover mine up for a long time now, usually pretty successfully, but when the negativity finally erupts to the surface it is highly destructive to myself and those closest to me.

I realize now why I have kept so many people at a distance from ME. If I am isolated from people then I don't have to worry about them making me feel guilty. Sometimes I don't want to do the right thing. Sometimes I want to be a selfish bastard who hordes all the cookies. Sure I know that if I shared with others they may give me some milk in return, but there are simply times when I don't want to. I have denied myself that. I have denied my 'dark side' from having any say, letting it grow and fester inside of me, ready to pop its ugly head out of my chest like some nasty little alien.

I do not want the negativity to take over either. By my nature, who I really think I am, I AM a nice guy. I don't like hurting people, I really don't. Perhaps some of that goes back to the guilt, but I'd like to think that I'm a peaceful man, not a mean bastard waiting to come out. Actually I know I'm not. Does the negativity scare me? Yes it does and it should! Anger can be used constructively or destructively. I need to channel that energy into writing or art or something that allows me to release it without hurting others. Anger is good and natural. I honestly believe that. Pretending your not angry when you are will only cause your blood to boil all the more rapidly.

I think it goes without saying that I'm growing and become a better and happier man. But right now my frame of mind is, "I've taken alls I can take, and I can't takes no more!" To those friends and loved ones that read this. Look at this as a positive thing, not a negative one. I hope you like the me that is being born, I can already tell I will.

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